MACC offers a mechatronics program and the interesting thing about our program is we were one of the first in the state, and one of the first in the Midwest to actually have a mechatronics program. And the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they hear that little “what is mechatronic”…. well mechatronics actually has been around for quite some time. The term is being used more and more frequently now. But it’s a combination of, if you look at it from an engineering perspective, a combination of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and then computer science or computer engineering. So anywhere where you have a system that combines those disciplines you have a mechatronic system. And we automatically think of manufacturing and mechatronic use throughout that industry, but it’s other places too. You’ll find mechatronics when you pull up to the bank… to your ATM machine. That’s a mechatronic system because has mechanical systems, has electronic systems. A robot of this typical mechatronic system because it combines programming and combines electrical systems or mechanical systems. Anybody that really likes to know how things work. Likes to take things apart to see what’s behind them. What makes them tick. Those are people that would really be interested in mechatronics. Our program is unique, I think, to a lot of schools in that we have an incredible lab. It’s a million-dollar lab. Growing every day. But all of our classes have a lab, a significant lab component. Almost fifty percent of every class we offer is labs. It’s hands-on. So students don’t only get to learn the theory behind the systems, but they also get to work with the systems. One of the things MACC has done that is really unique and we’re really ahead of the curve in this aspect, we’ve got a really wide service area and there’s need for automation all over the region, in Hannibal, Kirksville, Columbia and Mexico, so what we’ve decided to do is take our program on the road. We’ll put so many of our traditional lectures online so students can do those online and then we’ll take the labs to them. That’s a unique approach to what we’re doing here. We were started by industry, for industry. We’ve had a number of manufacturers in the columbia area that we’re having a very difficult time finding technicians. So they came together with a regional economic development board and essentially came to MACC to start the program. Some of our industry partners that are involved in our program, that are on our industrial advisory board, 3M here in Columbia Missouri, Quaker Foods, Spartan Light Metals…. these are all companies that helped sculpt our curriculum, develop our courses, and hire our graduates. Just overall the mechatronics program has really provided us with what I feel is a competitive advantage. All manufacturers are in the same place in terms of, there’s a high demand for technical candidates and I think that it’s allowed us to to train our own own folks and give us the competitive advantage that that we need to be successful. If you like the thought of working on machines or understanding how machine works or machine programming or anything like that or really don’t have a good concept of how machines work and want to know, the mechatronics is a really good program to get started on. It takes you from day one understanding how machines operate, to being able to fix and repair or even program new lines. And as you go through the program you might decide you want to carry on to a certain path. You can take over on programming or welding or programmable logic controls. It’s a really diverse program that will give you a good foundation to standing and working in this type of industry or manufacturing in general. When you think about employment opportunities, of course the first thing that pops to mind is manufacturing. We’ve placed graduates in a lot of local manufacturing industries. But also there’s other things you don’t readily think about. We’ve placed graduates with MU Hospital & Clinics, Boone Hospital. Any places where you have electromechanical systems you’re going to have a need for mechatronics technician and we’re training our students to meet those needs. So if you’re interested in industrial automation, if you’re interested in advanced technology and robotics then this is the program for you. Go online or call us today. We’d love to talk to you about the mechatronics program at MACC.