When Gov. Asa Hutchinson came to Charleston High School this week to speak to students about the career opportunities in computer science, he also got to see firsthand the strides the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith has made in preparing students for the high-demand career field.
Students in the robotics technology concurrent credit courses through UAFS demonstrated their knowledge to the governor by showcasing a robot programmed to operate a Keurig to brew coffee.
While some people may see computer science and robotics as two separate fields of study, the two are actually closely linked, according to Dr. Ken Warden, dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology.
“Coding happens across all industry sectors. Robotics is not unlike other high-tech fields. In order to program robots, students must by trained to write the code that instructs the motions and understand the logic process that creates the functionality,” Warden said. “Our robotics students are coding, and their expertise was showcased at the demonstration we saw in Charleston.”
“Through this program provided by the ADHE and our excellent faculty, these students have had an opportunity to engage in high-tech, high-demand and high-wage learning activities which few other student across the nation have,” Warden added.
The robotics courses are offered on-site at Charleston High School thanks to the Regional Workforce Grants provided to UAFS through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. Through the grant, UAFS offers courses at eight local high schools. Next year, the classes will be offered on-site at local businesses – ArcBest for information technology and ABB for robotics technology – to provide more hands-on opportunities for students.
For more information about the Regional Workforce Grants, contact Amanda Seidenzahl, director of the Regional Workforce Grants, at 479-788-7780 or Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org.