TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — It's only the first full week of class, but students at Pima JTED's Innovation Tech High School are already getting hands-on experience with new technology.
"I recently took a part one of those robotic cars. The controllers were backwards. We reprogrammed it. Took it apart. Put the tires on and realigned everything," said Innovation Tech High School Junior, Caleb Solis.
Innovation Tech High School is offering a new course this Fall, which focuses on automation and robotics. Enrollment is available to sophomores, juniors and seniors.
"This Fall is our first cohort of future roboticists," said Pima JTED Automation and Robotics Instructor, Reginald Brooks.
Brooks will teach his class the basics of operating and repairing robots. He said these skills are valuable because many companies are now using robots on a regular basis. He also added that demand for qualified workers is high.
"Students could pursue any type of job that involves automation and manufacturing. Amazon has robots that move around the floor. They move merchandise from one point to another. There's also the automotive industry and aerospace," said Brooks.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an entry-level electro-mechanical technician makes $28.75 an hour on average.
"It comes out to about $53,000 per year, which isn't bad for a kid right out of high school," said Brooks
Students will leave Pima JTED's automation and robotics class with an industry certificate. How they use it is up to them.
"My goal for this program is to have students graduate out of robotics and automation and go out in the industry or get an advanced degree. Who knows, maybe we'll have someone on Mars one day," said Brooks.