HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Wallace State Community College’s popular Mechatronics/Electronics/Robotics program will start the new year with a number of enhancements. It recently benefited from new NC3 (National Coalition of Certification Centers) certifications and a grant for new equipment.
The Mechatronics Department acquired significant new equipment this semester as a result of an ALAMAP (Alabama Advanced manufacturing Apprenticeship Program) grant, developed by the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) office.
As a subrecipient of the grant, Wallace State currently has or will receive the following equipment: Fluid Power Hydraulics/Pneumatics, PLC Trainers Siemens and Allen Bradley, AC/DC Training Systems, Industrial Motor Controls Training Systems, Electromechanical Trainers, Pump, and Mechanical Drive Training System.
Program head Jerry Murcks and instructors Dean Autry and James McKenzie also boast multiple NC3 certifications in Electricity, Fluid Power, Sensor Technology and PLCs (both Siemens and Allen Bradley). They teach these certifications to students, who graduate with extremely competitive qualifications that make them increasingly attractive to employers.
NC3 certified courses at Wallace State now include Concepts of Direct Current (ILT 160), Concepts of Alternating Current (ILT 161), Hydraulics/Pneumatics (ILT 168), Sensors Technologies and Applications (ILT 240), Intro to PLCs (ILT 194) and Advance PLCs (ILT 196).
“Once our students complete these specific courses, they’ll carry the certifications to any job they choose across the U.S. This is an important step for our instructors, students and program,” Murcks said. “The NC3 certification curriculum is detailed and great education for our instructors.”
In addition to Mechatronics, Wallace State offers NC3 training in the following programs: Automotive Service Technology, Building Construction, Collision Repair, Diesel Technology, Engineering Technology, HVAC, Machine Tool Technology and Welding.
NC3 is a network of education providers and corporations that, together, embody passion and the highest standards for innovative CTE models and produce a sustainable, highly-skilled workforce. It was established to help build a workforce prepared to meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s industries by connecting employers and educational institutions in partnerships that foster effective training, elevation of skilled careers and employment opportunities.
The ALAMAPS grant is also designed to narrow the skills gap in advanced manufacturing by expanding industry-recognized apprenticeships. It includes pre-apprenticeships, short-term apprenticeships and the college’s FAME apprenticeships.
Wallace State’s Mechatronics program offers the North Central Alabama Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (F.A.M.E.) apprenticeship program, among others, allowing students the opportunity to earn wages while completing an associate degree in Industrial Maintenance. Over a two-year span, students in F.A.M.E. can earn as much as $33,500, spending two days per week in the classroom and three days per week in the industry.
The latest F.A.M.E. cohort was recognized on campus earlier this semester.
Autry and McKenzie joined Wallace State’s Mechatronics program as instructors this year. McKenzie is the lead instructor at the Wallace State-Oneonta site, and Autry was among the key individuals in establishing the inaugural GOFAME chapter in Owensboro, Kentucky, before it expanded into different states, including Alabama.
“I’m impressed with the great support the Applied Technologies Division has at Wallace State and the overall positive culture of the campus. One of the great things about F.A.M.E. is a student earns an education, while also getting experience at a particular job. Students have little to no debt when the program is complete, and they have a great chance to continue to work for that company and better things for their lives and families. That’s what it’s all about,” Autry said. “I’m impressed with the F.A.M.E. chapter here and what has been accomplished in a short time. There’s a great need for multi-craft maintenance technicians all over the United States. It’s not limited to Kentucky or Alabama.”
Registration is underway at Wallace State for the spring 2021 semester. Spring classes begin Tuesday, Jan. 19. Register now at www.wallacestate.edu/register.