After arriving on Monday, we had a Maryland statewide delegation meeting and dinner. There are lots of other competitors from Maryland, for many of the 98 different contests Skills USA is hosting this year.
Tuesday was orientation to the different contests that will be happening Wednesday and Thursday. Orientation for the Robotics and Automation Technology contest lasted 8am-4pm. When we arrived at the contest site, there were 12 robotic arm workstations, all lined up in two rows:
After the judges went over the rules, the work uniform requirements, and the schedule, the twenty teams were split into two groups. One group took the written exam, while the other got hands-on practice with the robots.
Abhishek & Bhola got to work at one of the robotic work cells, reading the documentation and wiring up the various devices that connect with the robot arm.
As devices were wired up, they checked each one to make sure it worked correctly and to see if they could use it in an automated program.
After three and a half hours of practice on the arm, there was a lunch break, and the groups switched. Bhola and Abhishek took the written exam on robotics & automation.
On Wednesday, half of the competitors will perform the contest tasks on the arms, while our students attend a career fair, tech expo, and conference sessions. Thursday is the big day for them – they will be competing for over eight hours, from 8am-5pm. Wish them luck!
After the orientation was over, we found a middle eastern restaurant, where the students got to try new foods. There were several small restaurants, cafes, and groceries from many different countries, all arranged in storefronts around what looked to be a former train station.
In the evening was “Champions Night” at Kansas City’s Power & Light District. There was live music.
Our hotel lights up at night.
This week it displays a message welcoming Skills USA:
All in all, an interesting & fun first day!