Hennepin Tech’s Robotics Program Expanding to Brooklyn Park Campus
On the Eden Prairie campus of Hennepin Technical College, students in instructor Brad Thorpe’s automation robotics engineering technology classes get to learn a little bit about almost everything every day.
“As an instructor, I’m always changing what I’m teaching, what’s new in the market,” said Thorpe. “For the students, it’s job security.”
Automation — designing, programming and maintaining machines to perform specific tasks — is now a huge part of many industries. In the Twin Cities, it’s an integral part of manufacturing and distribution. Many of those companies pay their students to come and take classes at Hennepin Tech so they can diversity what they do as these companies chart a path into the future.
“We want to automate that so people don’t get worn out picking things up and moving them around,” said Thorpe. “The more we can do that with automation, the better off it is.”
Now, the program is expanding to Hennepin Tech’s Brooklyn Park campus with classes starting in August.
“We already partner with a lot of the companies on the north side of the cities, north of 694,” said Thorpe. “Their problem is they can’t take current workers or operators and send them into training because it takes too much out of their schedule.”
First-year student Abdullah Ali said he’s enjoying building on his childhood interest in robotics.
“When I started I did not know what I was going to do,” said Ali. “But now, I’m actually interested in the robots and electricity side of it.”
Thorpe said his students learn the skills they need to have–and keep–jobs for the foreseeable future.
“Machines go down, and companies can’t make anything,” said Thorpe. “Really, it’s the lifeblood of those manufacturing companies and those packaging companies if we can’t keep those machines running, literally we can’t make anything and so the employees have really high value.”
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