Pima welcomes robotics with open ARMs


Pima intends to take some big steps into the future by working on the first Center of Excellence at the Downtown Campus.

Earlier this month, Pima was awarded the (Pathways for Success) Title III Grant l from the Department of Education.

There are plans to open centers, centered on IT, health care, art, culinary and hospitality, and public safety and security according to Ana Grief but she did not give a specific timeline as to when.

PCC recently bought and cleared what used to be part of the Fortuna Inn for 1.35 million dollars adjacent to the Downtown Campus. That marks the thred hotel that pima has bought for the expansion of the Center of excalines, the other two being the Tucson inn and the southend area of the Fortuna inn.  Ana Grief, PCC business development program, said there are plans to buy up more land in the future.

PCC is working with Swain Architects to build the center and intends to break ground in 2019.

The Center of Excellences in Applied Technology will focus on the three things:

  • Advanced manufacturing, which involves welding and machining.
  • Transportation technology, which involves the aviation program that trains people to fix and maintain airplanes.
  • Infrastructure program. which cover building, mining and and other construction jobs and improving already existing programs like automotive technology and welding.

Pima joined the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing also know as the ARM institute, the nation’s leading collaborative in robotics and an offshoot of the Carnegie Mellon University of robotics, the No. 1 robotics school in the nation.

This has ensured Pima a first-hand look at the changing landscape in manufacturing as manual labor jobs are giving way to robotic replacements. Pima wants to develop programs that are in line with the economic advancements happening in Tucson.

The Center of Excellences and Applied Technology hopes by updating and improving its facilities in the robotic area will entice more people to join that field. Employers need workers who possess these skills. With the future of manufacturing moving toward automated robotic workers, employers will need people to man the equipment. The demand in the robotics field is so high that some employers will offer tuition reimbursement, as a means to get employees up to date on the future of work.

“We’re training people to be able to work in advanced manufacturing environment, and that means different things to different manufacturers,” Grief said. “Manufacturers aren’t actually using a lot of these technologies yet. So our goal is to make sure students are on the cutting edge so when they get to an employer, they can actually help their employer. They are going to create better conditions for their workers.”

The current scientific technology classes all work together as the welding class has been working closely with the aviation program for the last few semesters.

“It’s kind of a collaboration of all three departments,” said Don Mount, Pima welding instructor. “That’s really what we do we all work within each other. That’s the way it really works in production.”


Money from the Great will also allow Pima to offer eight hybridized courses that don’t require students to have to be in class as much only for major things like project and such and providing online classes.


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