Lawson State Community College's STEM program proving to be essential in robotic age

(Source: Jamiese Price/WBRC)
(Source: Jamiese Price/WBRC)
Updated: Apr. 23, 2018 at 11:11 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - From the state's booming automotive industry to education – automation is taking over.

"Jobs are shifting," said Dr. Calvin Briggs, Lawson State Community College's STEM Director. "A lot of the labor jobs that a lot of people started their careers on and retired on no longer exist," he continued.

That's because those jobs are being taken over by robots. An Oxford Study predicts 47 percent of US jobs are at high risk of automation in the next few decades.

"The goal of a company is to make a profit," continued Briggs. "A warehouse with no people reduces the cost and increases efficiency," he continued.

Lawson State Community College is getting students  prepared for the changing economy through its STEM program.

The program includes a research-based curriculum. In addition to research, students are learning how to code in the college's SWIFT Lab.  The students would be the ones programming the robots and running them.

"The key is how do you prepare yourself with this new economy, where it's not going to be based on labor," asked Briggs. " It will be based on who's behind the technology. Coding will be very big," he continued.

Apple's CEO Tim Cook, toured the SWIFT Lab when he was in Birmingham recently. Lawson is offering this same training to high school students, along with working adults.

"We offer noncredit workforce development opportunities for anyone in the community who can come on campus and take free courses in order to enhance the skills they need."

Lawson State is hosting a summer STEM enrichment institute for free, where they are actually paying students to participate.

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