1661879620098 Boschrexrothstemhero2

Bosch Rexroth continues STEM partnership with NC high school

Oct. 28, 2021

Figure 1: Far Left: Students show off their FIRST Robotics T-Rex 4935 team robot. Top Right: Students manufactured a weight belt and demonstrated its use for Greg as well as members of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance and Board of Education. Bottom Center: Student explains the objective of the T-Rex 4935 robot while Greg listens. Bottom Right: Student presents her CAD model of a key locker. Source: Bosch Rexroth

On October 8,  Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s Olympic High School (OHS) held an open house to mark the installation and the continuation of it's partnership with Bosch Rexroth. Presentations, robotics demonstrations and new online information tools were showcased at a special event on at the Bosch Rexroth Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center at the OHS.

The event was designed to highlight the efforts by the Olympic Community of Schools and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District to help students at every level appreciate how many fulfilling and satisfying opportunities exist for them to follow as engineers and technical associates working for today’s leading manufacturers, including many in the Greater Charlotte Region. 

The Center provides OHS students with hands-on experience using state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies, including the latest in metal-cutting and finishing technology, multiple lathes, milling machines, saws and grinders, along with metrology and quality-control stations.

Bosch Rexroth has been a strategic partner at (OHS) since 2015, providing financial support, physical equipment and mentorships for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-based initiatives. 

“Like many manufacturers in the Greater Charlotte region, as well as across the country, we face a constant challenge to fill key technical positions in our manufacturing operations,” said Greg Gumbs, president & CEO of Bosch Rexroth North America, who was the keynote speaker during the event.

“The strategic partnership between Bosch Rexroth and Olympic High School, represented by our ongoing support since the founding of the Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center in 2015, demonstrates the critical importance we place on investing in these kinds of initiatives. A partnership between business and schools fosters economic and social mobility for youth, while simultaneously helping expand the local talent pool.”

Several key executives from Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools joined Greg Gumbs, president & CEO of Bosch Rexroth North America, in addressing members of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, the media, other local manufacturing companies, as well as faculty and students about this ongoing partnership and its benefits. This was followed by a tour of current engineering projects presented by students. 

During his keynote speech, Gumbs addressed many topics that included his own journey in engineering and he had a specific message for the students who are the future of engineering. "My message for the students here today is to make learning a lifelong journey. Work with new people from diverse backgrounds and diverse perspectives...and embrace technology shifts," he said.

Rexroth Senior Design Engineer Matthew Brown and Project Manager Mark Rohlinger have been championing this relationship and are credited with its ongoing success and that of the students they mentor. 

Brown spends more than 1,000 hours annually managing a program of 14 volunteer professionals who mentor the 44 students that make up the FIRST Robotics team T-Rex 4935. T-Rex 4935 is structured as a company with the mentors as the heads of seven different departments giving the students access to a broad range of experiential learning.

While Brown said the robot is a great way to attract attention he says it is not the focus. "It is the primary goal of T-Rex 4935 that all graduates from the program are work- or college-ready, fully-equipped with the skills needed for success," he said.

Brown acts as the CEO and his role is to recruit and retain the industry professionals who will mentor the individual departments. He writes the grants and speaks with sponsors to secure funding and makes sure that everyone upholds the common goal of building better students.

Rohlinger ensures OHS has the support they need from the Bosch Community Fund, serves on their NAF Academy of Engineering board, and interfaces regularly with OHS administration on special events and projects.

Support from businesses and manufacturers from across the Greater Charlotte region have helped make the center a resource in helping the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools address skill gaps at a grassroots level. With 7,500 unfilled manufacturing jobs in the area, according to the regional workforce development board Charlotte Works, and about 85,000 STEM-related unfilled jobs in the region, the center is part of a timely effort to expand the STEM talent pool, while simultaneously fostering upward economic and social mobility.

To help students understand how their career journey could take them on a rewarding path into engineering and manufacturing professions, Bosch Rexroth recently launched an online resource that helps students to learn about possible roles, their functions, minimum education requirements and average earnings. 

The site also provides information on apprenticeships at Bosch Rexroth and links to the greater STEM and IoT communities in Charlotte.

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