Sierra College & businesses collaborate to prepare students for new jobs
ROCKLIN - In a world filled with electronic cash registers, health monitors, ATM's, manufacturing machinery and gas pumps, few technicians are equipped with both the mechanical and electronic know-how to fix them. And, when these systems go down, business comes to a stand still, cutting profits. Employers are frustrated by the shortage of recruits who understand how to design, operate, maintain and repair Mechatronics equipment that integrates electronics, mechanics, pneumatics, hydraulics and programming.
In the Sacramento region, companies such as Affymetrix, Diebold Inc., Cache Creek Casino Resort, EBARA Technologies, Inc., Intel Corporation, Jackson Rancheria Casino, Michrom Bio Resources, Inc., Thunder Valley Casino and other employers have joined with Sierra College to create the only Community College integrated Mechatronics curriculum in Northern California to train prospective employees.
The $1.2 million project will prepare students for careers in a growing, well-paid field that can't be outsourced overseas and support growing local businesses' need for qualified employees. The California Community College Chancellors Office provided a $600K grant matched by $600K in industry donations.
The Mechatronics grant will positively impact the local economy explained Sandra Scott, Sierra College Economic Development Director. "By identifying businesses' training needs, and then partnering with them to develop relevant hands-on integrated curriculum and transferable experience through internships, graduates of the Sierra certificate and degree programs will have excellent employment opportunities," said Scott. "As a proactive business partner, Sierra College can educate employees to give local employers a competitive advantage."
Stephanie Guevara, Dean, Business and Technology Division for Sierra College is working with instructors to develop the curriculum for the certificate, degree and transfer programs, train faculty, create an applied learning lab and develop an internship program. "It is exciting to be at the front-end of the growing Mechatronics industry," said Guevara. "Automated measurement and control systems are now used in everything from air conditioning systems and automobiles to equipment used in manufacturing."
Over 20 months, the project will conduct research to identify the best programs in the country, adopt these "best practices" and create original curriculum to fill out the program. In addition, they are seeking other interested businesses to participate in the development of curriculum for the certificate, degree programs, and short-term on-site employee training. Interested businesses and prospect students can learn more by contacting Sandra Scott, Sierra College , 916-781-6244.
Contact: Sue Michaels
Sierra College Marketing/Public Relations
(916) 781-0411, (916) 789-2878(fax)