MASON CITY, Iowa – North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) is getting $300,000 to bring new robotic technology into its manufacturing programs.
The money is an Advanced Technological Education grant from the National Science foundation. It will allow NIACC to double the number of graduates in Industrial Mechanics and Maintenance and Industrial Systems Technology programs and introduce new robotics training to all students. NIACC says it will also add state-of-the-art robotics equipment and train faculty in the new technology.
NIACC says a 2018 survey of regional manufacturers found a need for more industrial technicians.
“The survey also highlighted the combined issues of too few workers and the need for robotics education for new technicians that is leaving employers struggling to meet the demands of production,” says NIACC President Steve Schulz. “An important goal of this project is to provide regional employers with the well-trained industrial technician graduates they require. The work involved in applying for this grant has been an 18-month endeavor for members of our faculty and staff. I’m grateful for their dedication to the process and for the opportunities it will provide for our students and regional employers.”
NIACC says further goals are to create and implement demonstration projects for both educational and recruiting purposes to expand the pathway into industrial programs and train and credential incumbent workers using the NIACC Introduction to Robotics course.