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As another academic year begins, we are likely to hear that students in America — the nation famous for innovations such as the light bulb, transistor radio, atomic energy, the internet and the moon rocket — are lagging behind the rest of the world in science, technology, engineering and math.

Many schools are trying to bridge this gap, including through extracurricular robotics programs usually powered by grants and donations. It’s a shame robotics can’t be a part of the regular curriculum at many campuses.

Local communities should do everything possible to support these programs, giving our children resources needed to prosper in tomorrow’s labor market.

Research shows standard manufacturing jobs are evaporating, while high-tech work is plentiful.

Supplying a future workforce well-versed in robotics and STEM-related fields prevents U.S. employers from outsourcing to foreign lands — and keeps America working.

Traditional manufacturing employment of yesterday is gone. The country needs engineers, programmers and technicians, even at the factory level.

Whether it’s assembling semiconductors in a static-free room or building solar panels to power up electronic components, today’s American schoolchildren must become tomorrow’s innovators.

Only with continued community support does this happen.

The Local Community News editorial board includes Harry Lees, Gregg Rosenfield and Thomas Edwards.

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