PETOSKEY — Students planning to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology can now start their education closer to home — and at significant savings — thanks to a new degree program at North Central Michigan College.
Available this fall, the science degree with an engineering technology focus allows graduates to complete general education requirements with a foundation in math, science and engineering before moving on to an undergraduate program at a university. Credits earned will transfer to North Central partner institutions, including Central Michigan University, Ferris State University and Lake Superior State University.
“This pathway will allow for a seamless transition into a four-year program for any engineering major,” said Stephen Strom, vice president of academic affairs. “It’s also an opportunity for students to enter the workforce with industry-recognized certifications or gain skills to expand their careers as an advanced manufacturing technician.”
College officials said the new way of studying is the latest in North Central’s push to become a leader in Industry 4.0, so named because it represents the fourth industrial revolution: smart factories with autonomous machines, automated manufacturing and advanced robotics powered by data and machine learning. .
“Industry 4.0 has increased the automation and interconnectedness of the manufacturing process,” said Jim Cousino, dean of career and technical education at North Central. “This is the gold standard for companies looking to retrain their existing workforce or recruit new employees.”
The program’s curriculum includes standards set by the Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA), which is the world’s only credentialing entity that provides certificates and bridging micro-credentials related to Industry 4.0.
The program’s flexibility and customization are key to what sets North Central’s program apart, Cousino noted. He added that they are also very important for students.
“These micro-credentials are endorsements that recognize knowledge and skills in highly focused areas such as troubleshooting electrical systems or programmable logic controllers,” he said. “Students can stack them into specialist-level certificates to keep building their resume, or they can pursue an associate degree.”
Learning will take place in the college’s new Manufacturing and Engineering Technology Laboratory, which features hands-on training systems ranging from electromechanical systems to industrial robots, fluid power, actuators and motors. At the heart of the lab is the Amatrol 870 Mechatronics System, a replica of a state-of-the-art smart factory that integrates every individual lab component into one large, fully automated production line.
“The Amatrol Smart Factory is where each individual engineering discipline meets the skills and competencies we teach,” said instructor Jerry Brusher. “Here, our students move from knowing that to knowing how.
And officials said graduates who know how will be in high demand. Deloitte, a global accounting and consulting firm, said 2.1 million available skilled manufacturing jobs by 2030. In their report “2022 manufacturing industry outlook’, adding that half of executives expect to increase efficiency through the use of artificial intelligence and technologies such as robots and cobots, or through collaboration. robots. These companies will seek to hire skilled engineers and technicians to program, maintain and repair their robots and machines, Cousino said.
“The professional outlook is very positive,” he said. “We prepare our graduates not only for work, but also for a profitable career.