WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – The Beaufort County School district is hosting a robotics and coding lab Thursday for students and staff.

The course is funded by the state’s Coding and Mobile Apps Development Grant. The district received $79 thousand to support the course.

Nearly 15 elementary and middle school-aged students, along with their teachers, will assemble robots and apply code to make them work.

This is the second year the district has received the grant.

Organizers are hoping the event will help spark students’ interest in the coding and robotics industry.

“We really like to give our kids the skill sets to work in local industry and local industry has indicated that they need kids who can code and write apps,” said Amy Bennett, Instructional Design Specialist, BCS. “It is intimidating at first, but not that difficult – it is pretty intuitive and they will catch on quick.”

County officials tell 9OYS they start teaching students the basic principles of coding when they first enter elementary school.

“We begin coding and robotics in elementary age and try to provide activities all the way through high school and the community college level so that our businesses have the employees they need when they are ready to hire,” said Wendy Petteway, Career and Technical Director, BCS.

Beaufort County is one of 15 school districts in the state who received this grant. Lenoir, Jones and Carteret County school districts also received funding this year as well.