MARIETTA, OHIO—Washington State Community College (WSCC) will roll out an exciting initiative in January 2022 that will support adult learners majoring in Robotics and Mechatronics. Through the new ACE Scholars program, students will earn valuable credentials as they learn and benefit from an array of extra support services.
ACE, which stands for Accelerate, Complete, and Engage, is designed specifically for adult learners who want to earn a degree in Robotics and Mechantronics, but require flexibility because, in addition to school, many have work and family responsibilities, explained Dean of Student Success Kathy Temple-Miller.
“By providing holistic support for our students, we can help remove barriers that keep them from completing their degree. Our goal is to ensure students can attend class, receive their degree, and transition into in-demand careers,” confirmed Temple-Miller.
As ACE scholars, students will receive a variety of additional support services. To begin, all tuition, books, and fees will be covered by a grant for the first semester. Students in the program will also have access to weekly gas cards to support their transportation needs as well as free evening childcare through the Boys and Girls Club of Marietta.
Compounding the value of the education, ACE Scholars will earn stackable credentials throughout the program that will give them industry-recognized skills and make them more employable. These credentials are part of the vision of WSCC’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing, established in 2019 through funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission. Through its programs like Robotics and Mechatronics, Washington State is partnering with industry to produce a technically trained, highly skilled, and educated workforce for current and future automation, robotics, mechatronics, CNC (computer numerical control), and industrial maintenance to promote the growth and expansion of companies throughout the region.
“When we developed the ACE Scholars program, we were intentional in our efforts to ensure we created a degree pathway that met the needs of local industry as well as provided meaningful support for our students,” emphasized Temple-Miller.
Classes for the ACE Scholars program will begin on January 10 as part of spring semester and will be offered in the evening to accommodate work schedules—Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The college has also redesigned the schedule to offer these courses in shortened eight-week sessions which will enable students to take just two courses at a time. With fewer classes at once, students will be able to better maintain their focus and increase their ability to complete their coursework.
Applications for the ACE Scholars program are now being accepted and students can begin registering for classes immediately. Space in the ACE program is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis for both full and part-time students. Funding for the program is made possible from the Building Rural Innovation, Designing Educational Strategies (BRIDGES) grant. For additional information and to apply, visit wscc.edu/ace.