ECTC boosting robotics programs in middle and high schools | ECTC

ECTC boosting robotics programs in middle and high schools

Published on Jun 28, 2024

Vex Robotics Program

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College’s Advanced Manufacturing Accelerator Project has launched a VEX Robotics program to increase awareness among middle and high school students of the skills needed in high-demand careers.

AMAP’s robotics initiative started June 24 with free professional development for middle and high school teachers who want to start a VEX Robotics program or strengthen an existing program. Nine participants from seven schools attended the professional development.

“We see a lot of interest in STEM activities, particularly robotics, and we want to not only nurture that interest but also help students see the connections to careers in advanced manufacturing,” said AMAP Director Eileen Worthington. “To start, we’re teaching teachers how to develop a successful robotics team.”

AMAP also will partner with schools in Breckinridge, Grayson, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, and Washington county to provide VEX Robotics materials and assistance with teachers’ stipends as well.

JT Burns, an IT professional and Student Technology Leadership Program coach with Grayson County Schools, said he’s looking forward to using what he learned in the training to expand activities to include VEX Robotics in the fall.

“I really like what I’ve seen with VEX. The competition is more hands-on,” Burns said, noting VEX can increase interest in broader areas. “Robotics links manufacturing and computer science and can bring more kids together in an environment they might not have been in otherwise.”

AMAP was established at ECTC this year thanks to a $1.9 million U.S. Department of Education Rural Postsecondary Economic Development grant. The project will promote advanced manufacturing career pathways and create new opportunities for career exploration and preparation in a seven-county area. The project’s primary objective is to develop a pipeline of talent from middle school, to high school, to ECTC, to internships and to employment in advanced manufacturing.

“Our goal is to narrow the advanced manufacturing skills gap by providing specific instruction to middle and high school students, as well as existing ECTC students and adult learners within those seven rural counties,” Worthington said. “The AMAP grant will create resources and opportunities they need to discover and excel in these high-demand careers.”

For more information, contact Eileen Worthington at or 270-706-8712.