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Where rubber meets the road

WCCC’s new Mobile Learning Lab provides training and high-tech learning opportunities in rural, western Colorado

When people think of higher education, they often imagine a lecture hall, a large campus and hundreds if not thousands of students flowing from one class to another. What typically doesn’t come to mind is a semi-truck and trailer moving from one town to the next.

Thanks to generous gifts by the Sturm Family and ANB Bank, Western Colorado Community College will implement mobile mechatronics training and high-tech learning in rural, western Colorado. The gifts, which totaled $458,144, funded a state-of-the-art Mobile Learning Lab that will offer training and courses in the emerging field of mechatronics. The new lab will rotate between regional high schools, will serve adult students in rural areas and offer hands-on training for company employees learning to gain additional skills.

“This has been a dream for quite some time,” said Vice President of Community College Affairs Brigitte Sündermann.

The idea to build a rotating high-tech classroom came after a number of local business started knocking on Sündermann’s door asking for automation training in their respective areas.

The Mobile Learning Lab is a solution to help meet industry demand by giving people living in rural communities the chance to learn necessary skills, which in turn will help bolster local economies. 

“Mechatronics is the future of machining,” said Sündermann. It’s a hybrid between electrical, mechanical and computer engineering. Through the Mobile Learning Lab, students will learn how to build, fix, run and gain an understanding of how separate systems integrate together to make complex devices work in the modern world.

Construction of the Mobile Learning Lab was completed in early October, and a regional roadshow will follow. The Mobile Learning Lab will tour western Colorado one community at a time and introduce rural areas to the future of higher education.


Written by Kelsey Coleman