Ozarks Technical Community College received a $345,725 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for its new automation and robotics program, which will debut in August at the Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing (PMC). The grant is funded by the NSF’s Advanced Technological Education program, which focuses on training technicians in advanced technology fields. This is the first National Science Foundation grant awarded to OTC.
The grant will improve and expand automation and robotics instruction for manufacturing students at OTC and increase the awareness of automation and robotics career opportunities for middle and high school students.
“It’s not every day that an institution earns a prestigious National Science Foundation grant,” said Danelle Maxwell, OTC manufacturing dept. chair. “It is gratifying to know that the NSF finds the curriculum and rigor in this new degree pathway worthy of a significant investment.”
Students in the automation and robotics degree path will learn how to operate and maintain automated systems commonly used in manufacturing. Topics of study include industrial robotics, networking communications, programmable logic controllers, and electrical, mechanical, and fluid power systems.
“The college has consulted with our industry partners to equip the Plaster Manufacturing Center with the latest machinery and technology,” said Robert Randolph, executive director of the PMC. “When we send graduates into a career, they will be ready to work from day one because they’ve been trained on the most modern equipment. Plus, this grant will allow the college to engage with young students and encourage them to consider manufacturing as a career.”
In addition to automation and robotics, the 120,000 square foot, $40 million Plaster Manufacturing Center will provide training in the following disciplines when it opens in August of 2022:
- Precision Machining
- Drafting and Design
- Manufacturing Technology
- Information Technology Infrastructure
The three-year, $345,725 grant is 100% funded by the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. The ATE program focuses on educating technicians who work in high-tech fields that drive the nation’s economy. Because two-year community and technical colleges are the leading sources of technician education in the United States, faculty from these higher education institutions have had leadership roles in most ATE projects since the program began in 1993.