IRONWOOD, Mich. (WLUC) – Businesses in Gogebic County, and across Upper Michigan are working to build back their workforces.
Gogebic Community College (GCC) in Ironwood is looking to help out with the lack of employees. GCC is rolling out a new mechatronics training program this summer.
The program includes a Certified Industry 4.0 Associate – Basic Operations course and a Certified Industry 4.0 Associate – Robot System Operations course. Each course is set to begin in Aug., at the start of the Spring 2022 semester. The program is funded by a $225,000 regional talent innovation grant that InvestUP helped GCC secure.
“This grant will be for training that lasts from eight to 12 weeks,” Glen Ackerman-Behr, director of workforce development at Gogebic Community College, said. “We are targeting individuals that are already working in manufacturing that are interested in upscaling or that are interested in going into the manufacturing field.”
Mechatronics is a type of engineering that merges mechanical, electronic and electrical engineering.
GCC’s mechatronics program requires a high school diploma or GED. It costs $134 per credit hour for Gogebic County residents. Residents of other Michigan counties and Wisconsin reciprocity areas will have to pay $191 per credit hour. International students will have to pay $260 per credit hour.
Ackerman-Behr said this program is a faster and more affordable alternative to a traditional technical college or university. He added that it could also be a way to bolster Upper Michigan’s dwindling manufacturing workforce.
“Most of our manufacturers in the region are struggling to find enough employees right now,” Ackerman-Behr said.
Ackerman-Behr noted that those who complete the program will qualify for entry-level manufacturing jobs at most UP employers. He emphasized that most manufacturing jobs pay well and are very stable career paths.
“We are looking to help people transition from wherever they are at today into a potential manufacturing career,” Ackerman-Behr said. “These jobs are usually a little bit more stable and better paying.”
The Skilled Trades Center at Gogebic Community College also offers welding programs for those interested in a different technical career path. Whether it be a welding program or a mechatronics program, Ackerman-Behr added there are virtual learning options for those looking for more flexibility.
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