ELYRIA, Ohio – Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC (BSFB) recently celebrated the conclusion of a LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robotics program at South Warren Middle School in Bowling Green, Ky. The pilot program, conducted as an extracurricular after-school activity, is the first of nine robotics courses Bendix will fund for Warren County Public Schools and the Bowling Green Independent School District in the next two years. Each program is specifically designed to provide students with hands-on experience in logical reasoning, construction, robotics and engineering.
A joint venture between Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC and Dana Commercial Vehicle Products LLC, BSFB has manufactured Bendix brand air disc and drum brakes in Bowling Green since 2007.
BSFB will contribute approximately $32,000 to the robotics programs in the next two years – providing more than 40 LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robots, course materials, programming software, and curriculum and course training, as well as four days of professional development for course instructors. By the end of 2016, an estimated 1,200 students will have participated in a BSFB-supported robotics course.
“Our employees are proud of what we do here in Bowling Green, and we are dedicated to supporting the communities where we do business. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to introduce the students to the world of robotics through such an outstanding program,” said Andy Dale, Bowling Green plant manager. “The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 curriculum is a great way to introduce students to the possibilities of a career in engineering and manufacturing, and to begin cultivating the necessary technical skills through hands-on learning activities.”
Throughout the program, students will gain exposure to construction techniques, programming skills, problem-solving and hands-on challenges, such as navigating robots through an obstacle course or programming a robot to complete five laps around a track and stop automatically.
“We are grateful to Bendix for offering this tremendous opportunity to our students,” said Jason Kupchella, chief academic officer and assistant superintendent for Warren County Public Schools. “There is great enthusiasm from students and parents alike, and we are thrilled to offer this type of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programming in our schools.”
Part of BSFB’s ongoing commitment to supporting education and its local community, the robotics program is designed to not only benefit students but also to strengthen the future workforce in Bowling Green.
In 2013, the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership funded the Urgent Call to Action study, which led to the finding that, in manufacturing alone, South Central Kentucky will have 4,500 open positions by 2016 and 9,000 by 2020. Since that report, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce has continued to foster partnerships like this one to ensure a robust talent pipeline that directly responds to the needs of the local economy.