Three Northland teams comprised of approximately 25 students joined the BotsKC competition April 22 and 23 at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City.
The Northland competitors faced more than 20 metro area schools in the exciting competition over two days. The event was the first in two years that was open to spectators.
Kim Palomarez, executive director for the Northland’s KC Tech Academy and BotsKC, said the competition was through the National Robotics League that included at total 33 middle school, high school and collegiate-level teams competing from six different states. Their work was the climax of eight months of effort that saw students work with industry mentors to build and battle lightweight robots for the gladiator-style competition.
The work also involved students in career exploration, which is especially important today. Students spent the previous year honing valuable STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills, as well as teamwork, competitive spirit and pride of ownership. “Now, they’ve put their bots to the test,” Palomarez said.
All of this is fun but also offers a real-world application as well. “There are more than 76,000 manufacturing jobs in the metro Kansas City area, and the industry is expected to grow by more than five percent in the next decade,” she added. “Area manufacturers say one of their biggest challenges is finding qualified employees to fill the void left by the retiring baby-boomer generation.”
Internships, scholarships and jobs are currently available for students in the Kansas City area. “BotsKC positions students to fill this gap, and they’ll be making an extremely competitive salary,” she said.
Workforce development like this is one of the EDC’s core strategies and growing the KC Tech Academy is an EDC strategic plan Big 4 goal.