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Northland Community & Technical College to host robotics competiton in Thief River Falls

About 200 middle and high school students, making up 50 teams from across Minnesota and North Dakota, are set to compete at the event. Northland is hosting the event to raise awareness of its technical program, which includes courses such as electronics, welding and a new competency-based mechatronics program.

Northland Community NCTC sign logo.jpg
A sign welcomes visitors to Northland Community and Technical College in East Grand Forks, Minn. (Grand Forks Herald photo)

Northland Community & Technical College will host the Pioneer VEX Robotics Tournament in the gymnasium at its Thief River Falls campus, on Saturday, Dec. 4.

About 200 middle and high school students, making up 50 teams from across Minnesota and North Dakota, are set to compete at the event. Northland is hosting the event to raise awareness of its technical program, which includes courses such as electronics, welding and a new competency-based mechatronics program.

“Each robotics team is similar to a small manufacturing company,” said Andrew Dahlen, Northland’s mechatronics instructor. “Students are faced with competition, strict deadlines, numerous technical challenges, and finite resources. Successful teams push through these constraints with innovative solutions, teamwork, and perseverance. The experience of being part of a robotics team is excellent preparation for students to enter the workforce.

According to a release from Northland, VEX is the largest and fastest-growing elementary, middle, and high school robotics program in the world, with more than 24,000 teams from 60 countries playing in over 1000 tournaments worldwide.

The tournament will kick off at 9:45 a.m. with an opening ceremony. Qualifying rounds will follow at 10 a.m., followed by elimination rounds. Final rounds will begin at 3 p.m., with an awards ceremony after that. This event is free and open to the public.

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According to the release, Northland has been working to meet the workforce needs of manufacturers in northwest Minnesota and northeast North Dakota. This fall, Northland partnered with Marvin in Warroad, Minnesota, to help provide career development and training, and support the growing need for professionals with advanced manufacturing automation skill sets in the region. A new educational site will open in Warroad in 2022, as Northland will bring its mechatronics program directly to that area.

More information about the tournament can be found by contacting Andrew Dahlen at andrew.dahlen@northlandcollege.edu or by calling 218-683-8673. People can also find information at www.northlandcollege.edu/vex .

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