ALBANY, GA – Albany Technical College will host a gathering to recognize an in-demand field here in the Southwest Georgia area called Mechatronics. The Mechatronics program will be discussed on Thursday, January 30, 2020, at 10 a.m., in the Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC), Room 115. Dr. Emmett Griswold, Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Adrian Walters, Mechatronics Technology Program Chair and Instructor, and employers from the community will be on hand to discuss the need for these skilled workers and the future of the industry.
This “refreshed” program at Albany Tech includes initiatives that will encourage easy access for new students by providing low-cost tuition and books (Hope Grant Eligible and part of the Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative); a high placement rate; new industry-driven equipment; timely completion of the program (12-18 months); high career demand; and flexible scheduling (day and evening classes).
Local industries such as Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Miller Brewing, Coats & Clark, Pfizer, and Wes Electrical are in dire need of mechatronic technicians. They have sought out Albany Tech to help fill positions. These industries have hired several Albany Technical College students who are currently in the program and pursuing an associate degree.
Mechatronics Technology encompasses several areas of industrial maintenance, such as mechanical, electrical, and computer technologies involving robotics, automated manufacturing, and packaging. It is the responsibility of the mechatronic technician to ensure all machinery is in good working order either by preventive maintenance, repair, or replacement. Wiring plays an integral part in Mechatronics Technology. Each wire color denotes its use and function.
According to Walters, “Replacement is the last option. I am not training ‘part replacers,’ but training technicians to use diagnostic tools to determine the cause of an issue.” Walters makes sure his students understand not only principles and theory of mechatronics but challenges them to apply their knowledge with practical application by purposely “bugging” a system forcing them to troubleshoot. Students, using such tools as a meter, may have to decipher “why 120 volts were lost,” “what happened in between these two parts,” and “what caused this part not to operate?” This type of hands-on experience, coupled with book knowledge, better prepares students for real-world experiences.
Dr. Emmett Griswold, Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs, stated, “Albany Technical College is committed to the process of training and placing employees in careers with salaries and benefits at or above a living wage. Our relationship with manufacturing and industry employers is a vital part of the process.”
Walters stated that the Mechatronic Technology program at Albany Technical College offers certificate, diploma, or an associate degree in this field. Receiving a diploma or degree in mechatronics is valuable in securing a job in the industry; however, a student who obtains an associate degree can further their education by pursuing a bachelor’s degree through the Albany Technical College Pathway program. Through this program, Albany Tech holds articulation agreements with several colleges allowing a smooth transition from an associate degree to a bachelor’s degree.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report states the employment outlook in this field is very positive, with an average projected growth of 17 percent through 2024, an increase higher than average for all occupations. Technicians work in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and aerospace, with an average starting pay of $22.00 per hour or $45,760 annually after earning a diploma or associate degree.
About Albany Technical College
A public postsecondary institution of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), Albany Technical College provides technical education and training support for the evolving workforce needs of Southwest Georgia through traditional and online classroom settings. Albany Tech is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS/COC). For more information about Albany Tech, go to www.albanytech.edu or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AlbanyTech or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AlbanyTech. You can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel by visiting www.youtube.com/albanytech1 .