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Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Rachel Weaver's news story “Pittsburgh region educators rely more on technology, less on lectures” (Feb. 25 and TribLIVE.com) was on target, based on Hamill Manufacturing's eight years of experience with the BotsIQ program each spring.

A shrinking trained workforce prompted the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Tooling & Machining Association and a group of manufacturers and educators to bring BotsIQ to the region. Competition culminates in a two-day, gladiator-style battle of student-made robots. Fifty-two companies support 42 schools.

BotsIQ offers students hands-on application of principles critical to engineering, college and job skills (scheduling, project management, budgeting and production control) and influences career choices.

A STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) high school program, BotsIQ was in action long before this focus on science and math.

BotsIQ promotes job readiness, too. Students are hired by BotsIQ business partners, including an apprentice we hired at Hamill. Another is a production technician at Advanced Acoustic Concepts. At Composidie, a student is completing worksite training. Another was just hired by Rock-Built in West Deer.

Students who enjoy how things are made are the future of the high-tech manufacturing workforce — BotsIQ's strategy for nearly a decade. Come see why. The April 19 and 20 competition at California University of Pennsylvania is free and open to the public. Visit botsiqpa.org .

Phyllis E. Miller

The writer is human resources manager for Hamill Manufacturing Co. in Penn Township, Westmoreland County.

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