Program opens world of opportunity for county students

We were thrilled last week to hear about a new program soon coming to the Shelby County School System’s College and Career Center in Columbiana.

The school district is utilizing a $500,000 grant to implement a Robotics and Automated Manufacturing program, known as R.A.M., at the College and Career Center, which serves students from all Shelby County schools.

Rene’ Day, coordinator for career and technical education, college and career planning and community partnerships, said the money for the grant was made possible thanks to a state bond issue passed by the Alabama Legislature.

We feel this new program will help to prepare our local students for a rapidly growing sector of the business world. This is especially important, as it will give local students an advantage in the future job market while the nation climbs its way out of an economic recession.

“We wrote an Innovative Program Grant to fund this program. The grant will purchase all equipment needed, including an automated manufacturing line like students would encounter in industry,” Day wrote in a press release last week. Day said the program will prepare students to work in the field of industrial maintenance and automated manufacturing, which will prove useful for jobs available at some of Alabama’s top manufacturing employers like Mercedes, Honda and Hyundai.

Day said the students’ training will include the skills needed to keep the robotics used to operate manufacturing production lines operational.

Day told us programs such as these can be extremely expensive for school systems, particularly the equipment required to start the program. We applaud the Alabama Legislature for approving a $50 million bond issue last year to help fund programs such as these all over the state.

Through the program, high school students also will be able to earn industry credentials, giving them a further advantage when entering life after high school.

The College and Career Center is a fantastic resource for Shelby County’s students, and we applaud everyone involved in bringing these new programs to the center.

The editorial is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.