Community College and Tech Institute Collab to Deliver Skills-orientated Robotics Course

August 20, 2023 by Stephanie Leonida

Hudson Valley Community College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute join forces to deliver a hands-on Introduction to Robotics course for college students, the engineers of the future.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) in New York are banding together to bring students closer to leading robotics technologies that are changing the industrial landscape as we know it. The two institutions will offer students the opportunity to step into the world of robotics through its hands-on, four-credit course, Introduction to Robotics (CISS 180). In light of the ever-growing demand for robotics and automation technologies in industry and the evident skills gap in the present workforce, educational programs like this are the key to advancing human capital and creating an even and progressive playing field for the future human-machine workforce.


HVCC students programming robots

HVCC and RPI’s Introduction to Robotics course will prime college students with the fundamental skills they need to program, operate, and improve robotic technologies as part of the industrial workforce of the future. Image used courtesy of HVCC


Robot Installations Reach ‘All-time High’

Introducing students to the world of robotics is an industry imperative. The robotics technology market is seeing rapid, exponential growth as new, more advanced technologies broaden the possibilities of Industry 4.0 operations. According to Precedence Research, the global robotics market potential is set to exceed USD 225.6 billion by 2030, growing exponentially from USD 79.5 billion in 2021 with a compound annual growth rate of 12.3%.

In an insightful report from the International Federation of Robotics, we learn that 517,385 new industrial robots were installed in 2021 alone, representing a year-over-year growth of 31%. This growth rate rises well above the 22% observed for robot installations in 2018, before the global pandemic.


Addressing the Skills Gap

With more advanced technologies and automation infrastructure, there is a greater need for skilled technicians and engineers who can maintain and optimize workflows, fix hardware and software issues, and integrate new technologies into existing infrastructures.

As highlighted in a report from Deloitte, a large number of baby boomers working in manufacturing are expected to enter retirement. This, along with the influx of new job openings brought on by advancements in technologies and infrastructure is expected to generate a staggering 4.6 million manufacturing jobs to fill. Deloitte expects only 2.2 million of these jobs to be filled by individuals with the right skills to take them on. In the report, manufacturing executives pinpointed a number of general key skill sets required:

Institutions like HVCC and RPI, along with companies across the globe, are endeavoring to shore up the industrial robotics and automation workforce of the future through developmental training and educational programs.


RPI and HVCC’s Introduction to Robotics Course

Professors from HVCC and RPI will collaborate to teach the Introduction to Robotics course, which will give students a practical introduction to the multidisciplinary subject of robotics. Students will have access to industrial and collaborative robots from FANUC and Universal Robots.

Graduates of the course will come away with a working knowledge concerning the history and evolution of robots, in addition to practical skills gained through targeted training and activities such as programming industry-standard robotic arms for a variety of tasks. The course promotes teamwork and collaborative work, is open to all students, and has no prerequisites.


Learning with UR robots

Students will use robots from FANUC and Universal Robots to gain hands-on, practical experience in robotics. Image used courtesy of Universal Robots


In a recent joint event, college administrators from the two institutions discussed the advantages of the collaborative program in the robotics lab at Hudson Valley. Students can embrace cutting-edge technology in this course and gain practical skills before they even start college. As a result of the amended transfer articulation agreement struck between RPI and HVCC, graduates of the Hudson Valley Engineering Science A.S. can easily transfer to RPI to finish their B.S. degree in the engineering pathway of their choice.


Bridging the Gap: Colleges and Industry

Visit the Registering for a Course link or get in touch with Dr. Linda Lim, Chair of the Computer Science and Mathematics Department, at (518) 629-7358 (or [email protected]) for registration information.

As a media company focused on the education of automation engineers, we always encourage cooperation between industry and schools, so we recommend that professionals reach out to your local colleges and take steps to begin conversations to construct similar partnerships like the exciting developments between HVCC and RPI.


Featured image (modified) used courtesy of Universal Robots