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Motlow State Community College
P.O. Box 8500
Lynchburg, TN 37352-8500
(931) 393-1500

Mechatronics Enhances Student and Industry Success

September 27, 2011

The Mechatronics Program at Motlow College is opening new doors of opportunity for students and businesses in the Middle Tennessee area. The classroom/lab at the McMinnville Center is equipped with machinery and equipment for students to experience hands-on learning and training in areas including: electrical components, pneumatic and hydraulic control circuits, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). These skills are relevant in today's industries such as automotive, defense systems, manufacturing of consumer products and renewable energy systems.

Motlow strives to help local industries train and educate their employees to create a technologically-skilled workforce. Motlow has partnered with Siemens AG, a global leader in automation technology, and is one of 14 schools in the nation that offers the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program (SMSCP). The Level I Siemens Certificate program and the Level II Associates of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Mechatronics Technology are currently available through Motlow at the McMinnville Center.

According to Katharina Steier of Siemens, "SMSCP certifications are internationally recognized as world-class technical qualifications. As students graduate and move on to compete in the job market, their Siemens certification signifies that they have successfully gained and demonstrated the technical skills and knowledge needed to work with the complex, mechatronic systems found in today's factories and plants. This is a powerful competitive advantage over their peers in the local and global job market."

Motlow saves local industries time and money by training their workforce. Six employees from Jarden Consumer Solutions (JCS) recently completed the Level I Siemens Certification. Sheri Denning, JCS human resources manager, stated, "We are very pleased to give our employees continuing education in newer technologies that are relevant in today's industrial environment. We saw the Mechatronics program at Motlow College as an excellent avenue to support our goals of continuous training for employees."

Kenneth Wolf of McMinnville is one of the Jarden employees who recently received a Level I Certification. He said, "Without a doubt, completing the Level I training has made a huge difference in my job. I've gotten a promotion and have gone from running the same machine everyday to helping troubleshoot and fix many different pieces of machinery in the maintenance department. I now have the confidence to advance and excel at my job. I am continuing my education at Motlow to receive an associate of applied science degree in Mechatronics Technology."

Motlow College has long recognized the need for high-tech job training but lack of funding for new programs has largely prevented additional initiatives. College officials have just announced Motlow will receive over $3.2 million in grant money from the U.S. Department of Labor, Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program to develop a Workforce Development Pilot Program (WDPP). Plans will include expanding the Mechatronics Program in the Rutherford county area. The WDPP Mechatronics program will train workers who will easily transition into the local and regional industrial and manufacturing workforce.