Dual Enrollment Mechatronics Program at Tidewater Community College

everything you have in your house some part of mechatronics has come in touch with mechatronics a lot of is like art work is so much fun everything from electrical to mechanical manufacturing uses it quite a bit you can definitely make a good living doing this line of work and there's demand for it everywhere I was a parent I would definitely have my job in this program it's top-notch it's industry validated and we know that it meets the employment needs in this region our primary industries are advanced manufacturing in America industries and the skills that are necessary to perform those functions in these jobs are in high demand in my dialogue with other manufacturers in the area we're all having the same need everybody is expanding their manufacturing everybody has a shortfall when it comes to the human resource our manufacturing has been grown about 20% per year rate so obviously we need people we are running a problem from getting qualified people we need people to steal or focus and manufacturing that can help us create and develop some products if you look at our plans it's not only mechanics anymore it's electronics then you need to marry both entities together so you have on one side the mechanical side the other side the electronics the passport mechatronic we were early on stage of involvement of students and academia if we look at the first gate here the NAND gate students who are academically qualified at the Chesapeake High School are afforded the opportunity to receive advanced college credit in mechatronics mechatronics is the study of electricity electronics robots industrial automation process control instrumentation relays transformers category one remember we're trying to do two different types of interlocks on these motor starters students in the dual enrollment program in mechatronics will have the opportunity to earn a career studies certificate which is the first full year of their college degree along with an industry credential and electronics at the same time that they graduate from high school once students complete the dual enrollment pathway and graduate from high school it only requires one additional year to complete the associate's degree in mechatronics from TCC they're going to be in high school to finish their high school diploma but they can get so much more out of it by the dual enrollment program it expedites their ability to obtain a college degree or a certificate it is in an affordable way so they do not have to pay the full tuition in the case that we've worked out with the public schools in our area the net cost to the students or the school district depending on the arrangement that we have is forty five dollars per credit hour and saves a lot in terms of when they go to college and what they had to pay for the course and a regular to a four-year institution with a reduced cost that these students will be pay is an opportunity to get a leg up on their competition or get a jumpstart with the Community College and either applied associate's degree or the certificate program related to mechatronics and what we've done is tried to connect the dots between the manufacturers and the industry and business needs and those students that are graduated from high school employers have been asking us for years how can we increase access of young people we provided feedback to the college to say we need these kind of skills they tailor the program to accommodate those needs they review our curriculum they talk to us about our programs they identify places that we need to either increase the instruction decrease instruction change our instructions so that we can meet their needs the equipment we have in many of the lab is the same kind of equipment that you will find on the factory floor when you go to work from the employer perspective it gives them ready access to a pipeline of students who are qualified to are ready and skilled we're working really hard to try to change perceptions about these jobs in business and industry those old rough manufacturing jobs we're done existing it's all computer-controlled we're looking for people who can use their minds because the mind is what you need to train back your back this equipment is highly sophisticated all computer-controlled it's all completely enclosed it's not the same kind of processes that were used 50 years ago in manufacturing that's a different speed now has changed from we used to be dirty we're more into the automation we try to automate a lot of process from the thrown end of the shop to the back end almost everything has a computer in it today even if it's a machine it still has an automated whirring to run it those skill sets are newer skill sets if somebody can use a cell phone they probably have a better chance of working on a mechatronics system then even our fathers and grandfathers you look at our lines they're basically run by about five operators we need good mechanical skills we need good math skills we need good communication skills the machinists are responsible for two or three pieces of equipment simultaneously they have to be able to use precision measuring instruments they have to be able to understand what it is that's going on in the machine both physically mathematically logically with that associates it puts you a leap ahead of anybody going out and not going to school there's a lot of jobs up there looking for people that you know not necessarily just have trades but have a degree behind the trade if a student is not planning on pursuing some kind of a skill set just to come out of high school for general diploma really you don't bring any value to an organization like ours someone who has gone through that program now comes to us with a very definite skill set and they have value there's a real shortage of technicians that have all these multiple skills we hope that they will come into the program and identify that this is a lifelong career that they can have with opportunities that will continue to grow if you want people that like to know how stuff works and why stuff where Metatron's is really a good study I'm not the kind of person to actually sit there and be at a desk day in and day out I'd like work from my hand get a nice mental workout from doing it and it's also very rewarding when you can make something perfectly the maximum psi we should see is 1.08 so we can program that for two psi and that will be fine I'm learning so much so a lot of stuff I learned in school I'm saying the word Stefan learning where your brain at school what I do here is work on all the relay schemes that help protect the system from faults and blackouts you know you could easily start 40,000 a year plus as soon as I got on I start looking to you know get a mortgage and buy home entry level machine this start anywhere between thirty and forty thousand a year and up it just depends on their skill levels on average a student in a mechatronics program working full-time in any of the marine terminals or advanced manufacturing could easily earn $50,000 to start with and the wonderful thing is that these companies also have very robust professional development programs everybody we have here we consider an employee for white so there's a steady progressive plan on a career path so that once people get in those jobs they can continue their education to the associate's degree bachelor's degree and beyond still pays for tuition for the apprentices directly as soon as we sign up for the classes or employees outside of the apprenticeship program still present tuition reimbursement based on the letter grade they get for that class and get further than summer education and into my career my salary increase I didn't do the grace I could have done in high school I wish I would have done better if I would have known if there was a degree that I could have worked in here before I definitely would take advantage of and use to have that chance to get a year advanced into a associate's degree is huge you

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