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News Stories

SUNY Erie to Participate in Makr Shakr Bartending Automation Pilot

Article by: Paula Sandy

Makr Shakr, the world's leading producer of robotic bartending systems, has launched the world’s first “Automation Stipend” pilot program in collaboration with SUNY Erie Community College (SUNY Erie) and the SUNY Erie Foundation. Through the program, which leverages automation to produce positive social impact, Makr Shakr sponsored a student enrolled in the College’s Brewery Science and Service Certificate program for the Fall 2019 semester.

The Automation Stipend is inspired by the idea that, as robotics enter into the workspace, every person might end up having a robotic counterpart that is working in her or his stead - producing an income that in turn allows that person to upskill and get ready for tomorrow's professions. For every bartending robot sold, the company assigns a $1,000 monthly stipend to a selected person whose profession might be impacted by automation. This stipend is meant to support the individual in a specific training program - with special attention to the relation between tech and the food and leisure industries. 

“If we are able to handle the issues of transition and redistribution, the future will be brimming with opportunities,” says Emanuele Rossetti, CEO of Makr Shakr: “Makr Shakr is a young and small company, but we believe that it is our responsibility since day one to invent new ways to manage the consequences of widespread automation in the food and leisure industry. The automation stipend is not intended to be a welfare solution. Rather, it is a way for companies to have a positive social impact, without stopping innovation, while preparing people for the professions of the future.”

SUNY Erie student Brian Townsell is the first recipient of the stipend. Mr. Townsell grew up working in restaurants and hotels but has been unable to pursue his dream to work in the brewery field while also struggling to support his family. SUNY Erie President Dr. Dan Hocoy believes students like Townsell are exactly who the stipend is designed to assist. 

“With constant changes in technology, workers are often concerned with losing stable employment to automation. Makr Shakr’s program is designed to allow workers the opportunity to upskill and prepare for the future of their chosen field. This kind of forethought is welcome for our students as they seek family sustaining employment,” President Hocoy said. “This stipend provides students like Brian with the assistance needed to follow their dreams, while also providing him with an opportunity for training in a growing field. This collaboration is a win-win for the student and the College.” 

Makr Shakr, which launched recently launched Toni, the first bartending unit addressed for the mass market, will commence the stipend pilot in Italy next year with further plans to expand to other companies or educational institutions in the coming months. 

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