Spartanburg Community College’s (SCC) Cherokee County Campus (CCC) today announced receipt of a $100,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation in support of SCC’s LEGO Robotics Program – a national discovery science program for middle and high school students that uses robots to foster young students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“Duke Energy believes programs like SCC’s LEGO Robotics help to spark an interest in STEM education in young people. STEM skills are essential to building the workforce that will help our region compete in an increasingly global economy,” said Catherine Heigel, president of Duke Energy South Carolina. “Duke Energy is excited to support SCC’s development of this program in Cherokee County.”
Cherokee County students in SCC’s LEGO Robotics Program use state-of-the-art materials and equipment provided by The LEGO Group to build robots that can perform various functions and meet specific challenges so they can compete in local, state and national competitions. While these students are using STEM to develop robotic solutions, the process of planning and building robots as a team also allows students to improve their analytical, problem solving and observation skills, while learning to work as a team member.
“These are important skills for young people to develop that can be used in any career field, but are particularly necessary for those in science and technology related careers,” said Daryl Smith, director of SCC’s Cherokee County Campus. “There is a large demand in our state for industrial maintenance professionals and a shortage of skilled workers for these high paying jobs. We also know young students shy away from STEM classes and very few high school graduates are interested in pursuing studies or careers in engineering-related fields, which is why the LEGO Robotics Program is so important,” explains Smith.
“Duke Energy and SCC share this goal of creating a future technology-proficient workforce that meets the growing demand for advanced manufacturing employees in the Upstate,” continues Smith. “The LEGO Robotics Program has proven to be very successful in exponentially increasing students interests in advanced technology, and we expect this interest will lead them to seek higher educational opportunities in industrial programs, like Mechatronics, to prepare them for careers in this field.”
To support the future expected growth of SCC’s Mechatronics Program at the Cherokee County Campus, SCC is building a new mechatronics electrical laboratory that will open for fall 2012 semester classes. The lab will include equipment that simulates assembly-line mechanics to train students to understand how an assembly line works so they can troubleshoot and fix problems that hold up production and cost companies lost revenue. Middle and high school students in the LEGO Robotics Program will also get to use the lab’s workstations to develop and test their robots.
In the meantime, Cherokee County middle and high school student teams are gearing up for a countywide LEGO Robotics Competition on April 28, 2012, at the Cherokee Technology Center in Gaffney. Students will compete in the Green City Challenge, where they will put their robots to the test by completing challenges centered on renewable energy. SCC, Duke Energy and The Timken Foundation are sponsoring this free event.
Duke Energy has a strong history with SCC, including the Radiation Protection Technology Program partnership started in 2007. This program offers students valuable training for careers in the nuclear power industry. Visit the SCC website at www.sccsc.edu/academics/programs/rpt for more information on this program and related career opportunities.
For more information on the SCC LEGO Robotics Program or the Cherokee County LEGO Robotics Competition, contact Daryl Smith, executive director of the SCC Cherokee County Campus at (864) 206-2702, toll-free 800-922-3679 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration for summer 2012 classes is going on now. For a complete listing of all class schedule offerings, visit www.sccsc.edu/academics/search.aspx. Individuals interested in applying to the College can contact the SCC Admissions Center at (864) 592-4800 or toll free (866) 591-3700 or apply online at www.sccsc.edu.
About Spartanburg Community College.
Named one of the fastest-growing colleges in the nation according to Community College Week, SCC offers more than 100 academic programs of study including associate degrees, diplomas and certificates, plus University Transfer opportunities to four-year colleges and universities. SCC provides flexible class scheduling including day, evening, weekend classes with multiple start dates and more than 100 online classes through SCCOnline. Offering the lowest tuition in the region, convenient locations, and regional/national accreditations, SCC offers educational opportunities leading to high-growth, high-demand jobs. The SCC Corporate & Community Education Division provides job and career enhancement, workforce development and personal enrichment courses and training programs. For more information, visit www.sccsc.edu.
About Duke Energy Carolinas.
Duke Energy Carolinas owns nuclear, coal-fired, natural gas and hydroelectric generation. That diverse fuel mix provides approximately 19,500 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 2.4 million customers in a 24,000-square-mile service area of North Carolina and South Carolina.
Duke Energy is one of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., its regulated utility operations serve 4 million electric customers in the Carolinas, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and a half-million natural gas customers in Ohio and Kentucky. Its Commercial Power and International Energy business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States. A Fortune 500 company, Duke Energy is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information is available at: www.duke-energy.com.
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