Thursday 15 November 2012

Automation in high schools in US

The Automation Federation (AF) reports that a growing number of high schools throughout the United States of America are introducing and expanding automation curricula, and exploring how the AF can assist these efforts.

Williamsport Area High School
Most recently, Williamsport Area High School in in (PA USA) requested that the AF provide technical guidance in enhancing its automation and controls course for students in grades 10-12. This news comes on the heels of an announcement in August of this year that the AF is alsop providing subject matter expertise in the teaching of new automation classes at Riverside High School in Durham (NC USA) close to AF's International Headquarters

“We recognize the importance and value to our students and our community of offering an automation and controls curriculum,” says Kevin Yokitis, department instructor at Williamsport Area High School (WAHS). “We also feel that for our automation program to reach its potential, we need to forge partnerships with industry leaders. We’re extremely excited that the Automation Federation has agreed to support us in an advisory capacity and provide subject matter expertise.”

Founded by the International Society of Automation, the AF works to advance the science and engineering of automation technologies, promote the automation profession, and develop the education and training programs that will prepare and inspire a new generation of automation professionals.

The AF is an active participant in a growing US movement - involving leaders in government, education and private industry - focused on increasing students’ interest and skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) within America’s educational system.

At WAHS, school administrators have been offering a course in automation and controls for the last two years in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Electromechanical Technology curriculum. The school has partnered with the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport to provide dual enrollment at the college so that WAHS students taking the classes can earn college credits.

For the 2013-14 academic year, WAHS’ automation and controls course will fall within the school’s Industrial and STEM Academy, which will teach a wide range of engineering topics: safety, basic electricity, basic electronics, AC/DC motors, motor control, transformers, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), human machine interfaces (HMIs), pneumatics, hydraulics, power transmission, robotics, industry ethics, networking, engineering principles, process control and system integration.

“We’re honored that the Williamsport Area High School has asked for our assistance in building on the strong automation coursework it currently offers,” says Mike Marlowe, CNM, managing director and director of government relations at the AF. “We’ve already connected the faculties of Williamsport and Riverside high schools so they can begin collaborative discussions and share program strengths. Partnerships like this directly benefit students seeking to enhance their knowledge of technology and improve their STEM skills.”

Most educators and economists believe that stimulating interest in engineering and technology careers is essential in order to build an American workforce capable of driving needed innovation and competing in a global economy.

Marketplace demand for qualified professionals in automation and technology is increasing at a time when many of the low-tech jobs traditionally available in older industries are dwindling. A recent U.S. Department of Commerce report shows that in the past decade STEM jobs grew at three times the rate of non-STEM jobs, and that STEM workers have greater job stability.

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