UofM awarded $1M grant to establish automation and robotics training center

Updated: Oct. 11, 2020 at 11:25 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The University of Memphis has been awarded a huge grant from the federal government to create a brand-new, state-of-the-art robotics center with a job training program to go along with it.

The U.S. Department of Labor is awarding a $1 million grant to the University of Memphis to establish an advanced automation and robotics training center within the Herff College of Engineering for students at UofM and Southwest Community College to get top quality job training.

UofM Professor Kevin Berisso is in charge of creating the program and designing the new robotics center.

“There is nothing else here in the region that offers anything else even remotely like this that I’m aware of. The nearest thing is Huntsville, Alabama,” said Kevin Berisso, Associate Professor for the University of Memphis.

The automation and robotics program will award students with a coveted, internationally-recognized certificate with classes starting next summer.

The program and the state-of-the-art center will help Memphians learn how to build, operate and fix complicated robots.

Graduates will be able to compete for high paying jobs not only locally with FedEx and other companies, but around the world.

“Employees can take that certificate and apply to FedEx, Nike, Amazon, whoever and say, ‘Listen, I have this extra set of credentials that all other things being equal between myself and someone else, this is why you should hire me,’” said Berisso.

“It’s going to also attract young people who will then migrate into Memphis,” said Beverly Robertson, President and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce.

Beverly Robertson, President of the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce says Memphians will benefit greatly from the job training and the center will create a skilled workforce, and hopefully attract more companies to the Mid-South.

“It will be a weapon in our arsenal to be able to attract other high-tech companies that have high quality, high paying jobs into the Memphis marketplace,” said Robertson.

“They will be able to come in on day one saying, ‘hey, I can pick you, I can pick you, I can pick you,’ and you’re already trained and be able to move forward. We see this as a huge boom for the area,” said Berisso.

Berisso says the Automation and Robotics Training Center is not expected to be completed until 2022 or 2023.

The university expects to do more fundraising since the final cost of the center is expected to be several million dollars.

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