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Sixth-grade students discover the world of engineering at the fourth annual Fluid Power Challenge

– Tuesday, January 16, 2018 9:00AM

STEM careers promoted with fun, hands-on activity

Macomb Community College and Master Pneumatics Inc. will present the fourth annual Fluid Power Challenge, designed to introduce local sixth grade students to the world of engineering and increase awareness of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers.  More than 110 sixth-graders from the Warren Consolidated School District’s Middle School Mathematics Science Technology Center will first learn about using pressurized gases and liquids and then take that learning to solve specific engineering challenges.

“With the shortage of individuals pursuing STEM careers, it is important to engage kids and capture their imagination through fun, hands-on activities, and create excitement about careers in science, technology and engineering,” said Joe Petrosky, dean, Engineering and Advanced Technology at Macomb.  “Master Pneumatics, who originally brought the Fluid Power Challenge to us, understands the importance of investing in young people to create a robust talent pipeline for the future.”

This six-week program begins with a workshop Wednesday, Jan. 24, when students will learn the basics of both pneumatics and hydraulics, the two components of fluid power. They will learn to build small pneumatic lifters and develop the skills they will need to operate them. Following the initial session, students will break into teams of four and return to their schools to design, build and test their prototypes aimed at meeting an engineering challenge.

At the second session, to be held Tuesday, March 27, the teams will compete, using their machines to solve engineering problems including lifting, rotating and placing weighted cylinders on a platform. The students will be judged on how well their machines operate, how well they work together as a group, and through personal interviews. The students are also required to submit a written portfolio that documents the processes they used.

Both sessions will be held at the John Lewis Student Community Center (K Building) on Macomb’s South Campus in Warren.

Master Pneumatic Inc. originally advocated bringing the Fluid Power Challenge to Michigan and partnered with Macomb to make it a reality, with this being the fourth year of the partnership.

According to the National Fluid Power Association, (NFPA), fluid power is a growing and rapidly changing field that provides numerous opportunities that cut across many fields including manufacturing, transportation, entertainment and others. NFPA created the Fluid Power Challenge to help address a potential future shortage of skilled workers by introducing STEM to students in their early years.

About Macomb Community College
Macomb Community College ( is one of the nation’s leading community colleges, providing learning experiences to nearly 40,000 students annually. Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges and is the largest grantor of associate degrees in Michigan. The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.

Media contact:  Sean M. Patrick, 586.445.7271,