Salt shaker–sized boxes filled with colored plastic pellets glide down a track that bristles with motors, sensors and barcode readers until robotic arms lift and sort them in response to directions entered on a touch-screen keypad.
It’s the modern-day version of the noisy, hot and often backbreaking factory assembly line, but this facsimile is in a spotless industrial robotics lab at Quinsigamond Community College, in Worcester, Massachusetts.
And the college, as part of a collaboration with AARP that is also being piloted in Connecticut and Florida, hopes that it will soon be buzzing with people age 50 and older who want to change careers or return to the workforce.
The idea is to help older workers and retirees find new jobs at high wages while filling a huge labor shortage in advanced manufacturing. – AARP 19 July 2021