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      Young kids already learning to program a robot

      A four-week camp, hosted by Michigan Works and M-TEC, provided youth with fun and important tools to build and program robots.

      ??We get them involved and starting to think and see what some of these robots are capable of doing,?? said Steve Pontbriand. Steve coordinates with Michigan Works, but he also is the president of Systems Control in Iron Mountain, so his gears are turning, too. ??We??re always looking for more technical skills with people; if we don't start them at an early age, there's not going to be a supply of workers in the future that'll be able to support the industry in the area.??

      So what kinds of skills did the kids learn?

      ??Critical thinking skills. They have to evaluate what they need the robot to do, what sensors to use, and program it to accomplish those tasks,?? said robotics instructor, Randy Van Den Heuvel.

      Logan Adam has gone to the camp for a few years and explained it??s something he is definitely interested in. ??They can do a lot of cool stuff. When I get older, I might have a job where I need to program some stuff, so it might help me then.??

      And when it comes to future robot plans, Logan dreams big. ??Probably build one that can do your homework for you, clean up your room for you, and just do chores for you, and they'd do it in like five seconds. But I don't know how I??m going to pull that off,?? Adam said.

      Perhaps it??s a lofty goal, but Logan has the right mindset. By understanding the fundamentals of how a robot works, these kids could be the next generation of programmers.