Written by: Paul Chrestman, Principal Career and Technology Center West Campus
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related jobs are among the fastest growing job sectors in the country. The Mississippi Department of Employment Security projects a 19.2% increase in Architecture and Engineering jobs alone over the next ten years. In addition, these careers are considered nontraditional in nature. Due to the current demand and lack of students entering Engineering courses, there is a significant projected shortage of workers entering this job sector. The Mississippi State Legislature, in the 2013 session, allocated funds for Robotics and Engineering courses at the Secondary level. The DeSoto County School System was awarded one of five $200,000 grants to implement a Robotics and Engineering course at the Career and Technology Center West Campus for the 2013-2014 school year. As a result, these funds will be used to respond to enhancing 21st Century skills, technology skills and math and science skills in this Robotics/Engineering course in an effort to attract more students to these jobs and to better prepare these students to enter higher education and ultimately the workforce.
Robotics and Engineering is a two-year program in pre-engineering for high school students. The purpose of the program is to provide students with expanded knowledge of the use of technological skills and to enable them to solve problems by applying knowledge in a technological context. The program is designed to provide students with hands-on experiences related to the application of engineering concepts in the workplace. Students will develop academic and technical skills, 21st century skills, and human relations competencies that accompany technical skills for job success and lifelong learning. Students who complete the program will be better prepared to enter and succeed in engineering programs offered by Mississippi community and junior colleges and institutions of higher education. Students can earn four Carnegie Units that can be applied as 1/2 Applied Mathematics credit and 1/2 Applied Physics credit for graduation requirements.
Engineering I teaches students the history of engineering and the careers associated with the field. The students will learn the foundations and fundamentals of engineering and materials. This course teaches technical writing, presenting, and project management. It also teaches students the engineering design process and the steps one follows for successful design planning. Students will be introduced to the advanced concepts of 3-D sketching and modeling with CAD software. This course focuses on quality control and the benefits of engineering failure.
Engineering II is a comprehensive course that focuses on the four systems: electrical, fluid, mechanical, and thermal. Students are introduced to Computer Integrated Manufacturing, or how robotics and drafting work together to create product and the concepts of digital electronic control system technology, focusing on electronics, gates, and truth tables. Students will also learn valuable workforce readiness skills and participate in advanced concepts of programming robotic equipment.