A team of students from Glynn Middle School participated this past weekend at a regional competition many of us probably would have been interested in had it been available when we were in school.

Glynn Middle School has a robotics team, something that has emerged as one of the more interesting and potentially important programs for young people in our schools.

For the competition, students had to develop, design and build their own remotely operated vehicle that performed a duty underwater. It is a robot like the one used by BP to ultimately cap the oil spewing from the Deep Water Horizon off the coast of Louisiana in 2010.

The robots used this past weekend were certainly smaller and less complex, but the idea is the same. These, however, were built by middle schoolers who may be the next generation of robotic engineers.

A study compiled by the McKinsey Global Institute suggested as many as 39 to 73 million jobs in the U.S. could be automated with the use of robotics by the year 2030. That is roughly a third of the U.S. workforce. While that prediction is startling, it also suggests that because of the emerging robotic automation, new jobs will be created and existing roles will be redefined. Essentially, the robots will need well-trained humans to operate them, build them and maintain them.

A future in which robots are performing more and more tasks at work and in our daily lives appears to be a reality to which we will have to adapt, whether everyone wants to or not. In Glynn County, students can start as young as middle school working with the new technology and learning about how it can be used. They then can move on to the Golden Isles College and Career Academy and learn more before moving on to a university or a technical college where they can become a viable part of the next generation of our ever-evolving workforce.

Kudos to Glynn Middle School and advisor Mary Bryson for seeing that our local students have access to a club that has the potential to light a spark of curiosity and passion in young students and pave the way to a high-tech future career.

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