RoboBOTS 2016 Contest Day

It’s common knowledge that metalworking and manufacturing companies in the Northwest PA region face a shortage of skilled workers. We know that many local organizations, including the workforce investment boards, universities and tech schools work hard to help address this skills gap. In addition, many organizations have been providing curriculum support, serving as school advisors and providing tours to students expressing interest in manufacturing careers. While there are good programs at the secondary, post-secondary and apprenticeship level to enroll motivated youth, the Northwestern PA Chapter of the NTMA (National Tooling & Machining Association) has invested considerably in a program to interest and recruit bright young students to technology and manufacturing career paths. It’s called RoboBOTS!

During the 2016-2017 school year, NTMA is celebrating 11 years of bringing this combat robot building program to community schools! Over the past 10 years, we have seen 2,010 student participants and 13,500 event spectators. Ninety-five percent of participants agree that RoboBOTS raised their awareness of manufacturing and technical careers and 85% acknowledge their plan to further investigate education in a technical field.

The competition event for this season is planned for April 1, 2017 at Meadville High School, but the work begins now in area classrooms with students designing, testing, procuring materials and building their robots. Their hard work is showcased at the exciting, double elimination combat tournament held in the spring.

Schools planning to participate at the April 1, 2017 competition are from Erie, Crawford, Venango and Mercer counties. Each year, the bulk of the funds needed to operate this program are generated from sponsors and businesses. The NTMA is always working to obtain grant money from sources such as the Partners for Performance, and the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, however they don’t rely on those resources long term. Several NTMA member companies have already committed financial support for RoboBOTS this year, but would like other companies to join the effort. Companies interested in sponsorship or getting involved can contact Tami Adams, NWPA Chapter NTMA ( or call 814-720-0094). Any financial support will be acknowledged appropriately through printed programs, promotional media, team t-shirts, robot decals, banners, and other arena signage.

For more information about the RoboBOTS program, video of the event, and results from last year’s competition, click here.