DOWNTOWN – The expansion of the Alson H. Smith Hall on the LFCC’s Middletown Campus will allow Workforce Solutions to expand its high-demand advanced manufacturing program.
The Mechatronics program teaches students – and those already in the workforce looking to upgrade their skills – how to use and maintain the smart technology used in the area’s manufacturing operations, according to a press release from the LFCC.
“Through hands-on learning, they will become qualified to work as electromechanical technicians, production technicians and industrial maintenance technicians,” the statement said.
Construction of a 3,500 square foot addition to Smith Hall began in late summer and is expected to be completed by May, with Level 2 mechatronics courses starting on-site in fall 2022.
“The Middletown campus is located in a huge manufacturing corridor and we cannot respond quickly enough to the industry’s need for skilled labor in advanced manufacturing,” said Jeanian Clark, vice president of Workforce Solutions and continuing education. “It’s an equipment-intensive program. To develop the full program up to the three levels of certified training that our employers deserve, we needed the extra space.
Because mechatronic equipment is very sensitive to dust, temperature, and vibration, Workforce Solutions moved it to the Emil & Grace Shihadeh Innovation Center in Winchester to protect it during construction and keep the equipment running smoothly. Classes. Winchester Public Schools use the center for academies of health sciences, vocational skills and advanced technology. Three laboratories at the center are dedicated to LFCC courses and have glass walls.
“When the students pass by, they see this very sophisticated cutting edge equipment that we hope will inspire them,” said Clark. “What’s great about the mechatronics class is that all of the robotics and controls are sleek. It is impressive equipment. We hope this will spark future interest in these students for these great careers with our local industries. “
Level 1 mechatronics will be taught at the Shihadeh Center until May, she said.
“We are the very first statewide workforce program to generate enough revenue to invest in a capital project,” said Clark. “All of the profits that we generated in addition to paying the costs of the program, we were able to save so that we could reinvest in the programs demanded by our regional workforce. “
The starting salary for someone who has completed Level 1 Mechatronics is approximately $ 40,000. After completing Level 2 mechatronics, a technician can expect to earn between $ 60,000 and $ 70,000, according to Clark. Those who earn a Level 3 can expect an annual salary of $ 70,000 to $ 90,000.
“There is also an opportunity for our mechatronics students to move closer to the credit side of college to put them on the path to an engineering degree,” Clark said.
Even with the work underway at Smith Hall, Workforce Solutions has been able to continue to offer other trades programs in the space, including a four-level electrical program, as well as comprehensive HVAC and heavy equipment operator. All of these trades programs, including mechatronics, are eligible for FastForward and G3 funding, making them very affordable for students and employers alike to register their workers.
Learn more about the Mechatronics program at lfccworkforce.com/mechatronics. For more information on the G3 program – which provides last dollar tuition for eligible students – visit lfcc.edu/g3.