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Ohio University launches two new certificate programs in automation and mechatronics

As high-tech manufacturers, like Intel, continue to move into central Ohio, Ohio University has adapted to the growing demand for skilled manufacturing technicians by offering two new five-course certificates in automation and mechatronics.

“Each certificate is a five-class sequence with the goal for each one to be able to be completed within a year so the student can enter the advanced manufacturing workforce as quickly as possible. The courses in each certificate are also directly transferrable to our Engineering Technology associate degree at Ohio University Lancaster. These certificates were created in consultation with local industry to meet their advanced manufacturing needs,” Todd Myers, director of Workforce and Professional Development for the Russ College of Engineering and Technology and chair of the Department of Engineering Technology and Management, said.

OHIO’s Lancaster campus will host the Automation Technician and Mechatronics Technician certificates. OHIO Lancaster is also home the Associate of Applied Science in Engineering Technology, with labs in the Fairfield County Workforce Center. The Workforce Center is equipped with the latest advanced technology, including industrial robots, robotic vision systems, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), mechatronic trainers and other advanced manufacturing equipment. Students in the two new certificate programs will have access to develop their skills using the state-of-the-art, full scale manufacturing equipment at the Workforce Center.

As automation continues to expand and dominate the advanced manufacturing environment, skilled technicians are needed to work both directly for manufacturers and as field service providers to setup and troubleshoot sensors, automated equipment and robots to ensure productivity. In the Automation Technician certificate program, students will be trained to operate and maintain tools like PLCs, robotic cells, variable frequency AC drives and other computer-controlled automation systems.

Similarly, the Mechatronics Technician Certificate will support the growing need for employees skilled in the application of electronics and mechanics, also known as mechatronics. Students in this program will perform preventative and corrective maintenance on electro-mechanical systems that include fluid-power, mechanical drives, electric motor control and PLCs.

"Providing a skilled workforce for both Intel’s planned $20 billion semiconductor manufacturing complex in central Ohio and also the expanding high-tech manufacturing industry in the area is an important priority for Ohio University and its regional campus system," Lewatis McNeal, vice provost, Regional Higher Education and Partnerships, said. "These new certificates offer both a quick entry point to a new career and the beginning of a pathway for students interested in a two- or four-year degree.”

These new certificates support the goals of the Appalachian Semiconductor Education and Technical (ASCENT) Ecosystem, which is an initiative aimed to create an inclusive workforce development and training program to support Ohio’s growing advanced manufacturing and semiconductor industry.

In addition to launching the Automation Technician and Mechatronics Technician certificates, OHIO is also serving as the lead institution for ASCENT and developing scholarship opportunities for students enrolled in existing programs that support the growth of Ohio’s high-tech manufacturing workforce.

May 3, 2023
Staff reports