Supported by a $325,000 Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership (MJSP) grant, Minnesota State College Southeast will collaborate with six Winona-based companies — Acuity Brands Lighting, Bay State Milling, Behrens Manufacturing, Miller Ingenuity, RiverSide Electronics, and Thern Inc. — to develop a new advanced mechatronics certificate over the next three years.
The new and innovative 22-credit advanced mechatronics certificate will provide employees advanced mechatronics training that is currently unavailable in Southeast Minnesota. The businesses involved in the grant are committed to participating in the design and development of the curriculum as well as enrolling their employees in the training.
“The strong relationship between Minnesota State College Southeast and our business partners will help provide the skilled workers they need, plus help the college add a much-needed advanced technology certificate program that will continue to serve the region after the grant is complete,” said Larry Lundblad, MSC Southeast interim president.
Training in mechatronics spans electronics, mechanics, hydraulics, and motors. Mechatronics technicians work with industrial electricians, engineers, and technical support staff to ensure that production processes and equipment can be expanded and sustained in a wide range of industries.
The advanced mechatronics certificate will include coursework focused on advanced PLC (programmable logic controller) programming, integrated industrial systems, motors and drives, and process control systems.
“Manufacturing technology continues to change and evolve,” according to Chad Dull, MSC Southeast vice president of academics. “As the relevance and rigor of the courses are shared with area companies, the sustained utilization of this program for employee training is assured.”
Minnesota State College Southeast has successfully worked with Minnesota Job Skills Partnership over the past 30 years and has administered training grants in partnership with over 60 companies. Through a prior MJSP grant, the college developed a 19-credit introductory mechatronics certificate and discovered the need for more advanced coursework.
“The advanced mechatronic certificate will include competencies needed in today’s environment and into the future. This training will give employees additional skills and the opportunity to access a higher pay scale within their organizations,” said Lundblad. “As area manufacturers purchase and install upgraded equipment, they will need well-trained technicians to maintain that equipment.”