The Mechatronics Integrated Trades program that launched a new training curriculum for advanced manufacturing careers earned Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (GLCAP) and Terra State Community College a 2018 OACAA/John Glenn College of Public Affairs Exemplary Program award.
The award was presented in January at the Ohio Association of Community Action Agency’s 2019 Winter Legislative Conference in Columbus.
The Mechatronics Integrated Trades program involved a partnership among GLCAP (then WSOS Community Action Commission), Terra State Community College and local northwest Ohio manufacturers to link job seekers to training for in-demand careers in industrial plant maintenance. Terra State Community College worked with local industries to develop the Mechatronics course that combined instruction in hydraulics, robotics, electronics and other skills needed by advanced manufacturers. At the same time, GLCAP had already been assisting unemployed and underemployed workers, as well as veterans and their spouses through the Ready to Work program, which offered no-cost career training in advanced manufacturing, health care and other sectors.
GLCAP’s Ready to Work participants seemed like a natural fit for Mechatronics training, said GLCAP Planning & Development Coordinator Kerrie Carte.
“Our Ready to Work participants were not just looking for jobs—they were looking for careers that offered good wages and promising futures, and we knew we could offer them both through Mechatronics,” Carte said.
Along with classroom and hands-on learning, the Mechatronics Integrated Trades program incorporates on-the-job training and internship opportunities, which give students a chance to earn while they learn. Likewise, the GLCAP Ready to Work program offered additional help for students to ensure their success in the course.
“Not only could we assist students by covering training costs, GLCAP could also provide career coaching and supportive services that students may have needed to complete the course,” Carte said.
Since beginning in 2017, six Mechatronics Integrated Trades courses have taken place at Terra and at Northwest State Community College’s University of Toledo Scott Park Campus. These courses have collectively trained 58 workers for careers in local advanced manufacturing in the northwest Ohio area. Of the 58 students who completed the course, 47 have obtained employment to date in positions that average $15.52 an hour overall, and $18.74 an hour for careers specifically in plant maintenance.
“Mechatronics shows the value and importance that GLCAP places on partnerships, and how these partnerships make for better, more effective programs,” GLCAP President/CEO Ruthann House said. “Input from local manufacturers and support from Terra State Community College allowed us to maximize the impact we were able to make in the lives of people in our communities.”