Want to learn about robotics and other cool stuff? In one year of full-time study, you can become a mechatronics technician, qualified to install, maintain, modify and repair automated, "intelligent" machinery used in manufacturing.
Starting with the fall semester on Aug. 26, the College of Lake County will offer courses in intro to high tech manufacturing, mechanical systems, electrical systems and manufacturing processes and STEM readiness, part of a new mechatronics certificate program. The full-time program continues into the spring and summer 2014 semesters, with students taking a total of 30 credit hours. Funding came from a U.S. Department of Labor grant, and CLC developed the mechatronics technician certificate and began offering classes in January 2013.
Free information sessions will be held to explain the mechatronics program on Aug. 5, 6 and 7 in Room T117 at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Faculty members will explain the mechatronics field, the job outlook and summarize CLC's certificate program.
Kimberly Cyphers, a 41-year-old mother of three from Zion, enrolled in the mechatronics program in January 2013 because she is fascinated with how things work and had previous experience as a U.S. Navy electronics technician and as a civilian maintenance mechanic. Mechatronics was a perfect fit for her skills and interests, and being able to complete the entire certificate in one year was also a plus.
"I like to fix things and do trouble shooting. And I want a job with financial stability in a field where I can be happy going to work every day," Cyphers said.
The fields of electricity, mechanics and technology all come together in mechatronics, she said. "I like knowing how things work―I get a kick out of that. Mechatronics is combination of cerebral stuff and hands-on work," she said. Cyphers' favorite subject so far has been programmable logic computers, but she's also looking forward to robotics classes this fall and completing the certificate in December.
CLC's new program was developed with funding from a grant awarded to the National STEM Consortium (NSC) and 10 leading community colleges in nine states under the U.S. Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Act (TAA) grant program. The goal of the grant was to develop certificate-level programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) that could be implemented nationwide to meet critical labor market needs.
As one of the colleges involved in the grant, CLC developed the mechatronics technician certificate. Initially, the program will be geared toward TAA-eligible students, but it is also open to others who want to upgrade their skills to work in high-tech automated industries. The certificate prepares people for positions such as mechatronics technician, electrical and electronics repairer; commercial and industrial equipment, maintenance and repair workers; machinery maintenance workers; electronics engineering technicians; electro-mechanical technicians; robotics technicians; mechanical engineering technicians; and electrical and electronic equipment assemblers.
According to the Illinois Manufacturers' Association, 30,000 production workers are needed per year in Illinois for the next ten years. CLC's mechatronics certificate will help Illinois residents train for these high-tech jobs.
At the end of the year-long certificate, students will be eligible to take exams for the Siemens Level 1 certification, the MSSC Certified Production Technician certification, Work Keys certification and the Solid Works Associate certification.
To view a video and learn more about the field, visit http://www.clcillinois.edu/programs/met/index.asp. For more information, contact Ted Stefaniak at firstname.lastname@example.org or Margie Porter at (847) 543-2904. Fall semester classes begin Aug. 26.