Robotics Awake: Promoting the Diffusion of Innovation through Curriculum Development and a Technician Training Community College Extension Model
Wake Technical Community College (Wake Tech) will collaborate with industry partners to develop curricula for training technicians in the operation, utilization, and programming of light industrial robots in advanced manufacturing applications. This model enables the use of technician training as a basis for community college extension work to promote the diffusion of innovations likely to contribute to regional economic development. The project will impact the region through modernization and improved competitiveness of local manufacturers as well as by recruiting diverse students to learn advanced manufacturing skills. The overarching goals of this ATE project will be achieved by: (a) building collaborations with industry partners, (b) developing and disseminating robotics education in advanced manufacturing curricula, (c) improving student learning, performance and industrial skill acquisition, and (d) developing a model for industrial extension through technician education. To achieve the goals of this project, Wake Tech will leverage relationships with over 70 local manufacturing companies, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Works, and employment agencies. This program is designed to recruit and serve 120 students over the three year duration of the project.
Project activities include (a) the creation of an industry partnership group focused on integration of co-robots in local manufacturing plants, (b) professional development for faculty from Wake Tech and three neighboring community colleges, (c) developing industrial extension partnerships, (d) development and implementation of two courses and certificates, (d) establishing equipment to support hands-on curricula, (e) recruiting diverse students though outreach efforts, and (f) developing and evaluating a model for future community college extension work. The project team and independent evaluator will conduct a case study of Wake Tech's role as a knowledge hub in the diffusion of the innovation of technician education in light industrial robots. This project will produce broader impacts through new curricula for students and collaboration with regional industry. The project will provide local and regional benefits by assisting local small to mid-size manufacturing businesses in increasing productivity and competitiveness with multiplier effects in the surrounding communities and nearby community colleges.