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State labor commish visits PCC robotics camp
Photos and Story by James Hill
High school students from throughout the metro area came to the Sylvania Campus of Portland Community College in early August to learn the skills necessary for building robots.
Later this year, they will enter a competition to build the best robots. High schools compete against each other.
Brad Avakian, Oregon commissioner for the Bureau of Labor and Industries, was on hand to see the program. A longtime advocate for returning “shop” classes to high schools, he praised PCC for making this annual summer program available.
“This is great. These students are learning skills that could lead directly to jobs,” Avakian said.
The skills include welding and machining.
“This program in particular is a blessing,” said Daniel Nyberg, a senior at Riverdale High School. “We get access to equipment we don’t have at our schools. It’s a really good experience.”
Hannah Parker, a sophomore from Cleveland High School, said she hasn’t picked a career for herself yet but the experience at PCC should be helpful. “It’s opened up a whole new world,” she said. “This is so great. I’m thinking maybe of going into engineering.”
Debra Mumm-Hill, regional director for FIRST, said 28 percent of the students participating in the PCC training are girls. FIRST is an organization that promotes science and technology in high schools.