Fast Ramp-up of MechaWA Programs at Local Colleges
Hundreds of mechatronics jobs went unfilled last year and five colleges in the TechHire Grant aim to fill positions rapidly.
By Jennifer Ferrero, APR
The name MechaWa is going to become more prominent in early 2017 with the launch of community college programs to support the new industry. Mechatronics is the combination of mechanics, electronics and robotics in manufacturing. The idea of people becoming skilled in mechatronics is that they can fix the machines in modern manufacturing.
The Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing is the lead on a grant to five Washington colleges to support growth in mechatronics programs. The grant valued at close to $4 million includes the following colleges and businesses:
- Everett Community College
- Renton Technical College
- Shoreline Community College
- North Seattle College
- and South Seattle College
- The Boeing Company
- Royell Manufacturing
- Ellison Technologies
- Senior Aerospace Absolute Manufacturing
- and Aerospace Manufacturing Tech
The project, called, “MechaWA Partnership Project,” will offer, “MechaWA will adapt and implement a modularized, competency-based career pathway to award Mechatronics Associate degrees and related short-term certificates to jump-start Aerospace careers of currently unemployed youth with barriers to employment.” Currently unemployed youth aged 17-29 are the target population for entry into these programs.
Credentials to be awarded:
- Mecha Ready Boot Camp Certification
- Mechatronics Certificate
- Precision Machining and Maintenance Certificate
- Industrial Automation and Electronics Certificate
- Metrology and Fiber Optics Certificate
- Aerospace and Manufacturing Certificate
- Robotics Certificate
- Mechatronics Associates Degree
- Aerospace Production Technologies Associates Degree
- and/or, Industrial Power and Control Associates Degree.
The aerospace industry in Washington creates 7% of total employment and $5.45 billion in wages according to the grant application.
The need is great
Last year, Washington State had 12,632 job postings requiring comprehensive Mechatronics-skills, including 7,445 postings (59%) within King and Snohomish Counties where the growth rates for these jobs are 22% and 18%, respectively (compared to 13% nationwide). (per the TechHire Grant Application Package).