QCC graduate Anna Israelian (left) shows Jessica Calle how to use a FANUC robot.

Quinsigamond Community College has created a new Automation Robotics Manufacturing Technology (ARMTech) certificate, thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation. The certificate program, which will start in the Fall 2024 semester, will prepare students for immediate entry into the workforce as technicians in mechatronics, a field that includes mechanical systems, electrical/electronics and software.

Mechatronics technicians are needed in industries that include electronics, pharmaceutical, medical, and food and beverage. According to James Heffernan, professor, and coordinator of the Electronics Engineering Technology Programs, the demand is high for mechatronics technician jobs and entry-level positions often have a starting pay of $20 an hour, which can quickly increase as employees upskill with further education or on the job training.

Students in QCC’s new ARMTech program will complete hands-on projects in a fully equipped lab using current technology such as Fanuc industrial robots. The certificate program will introduce students to programming, testing and troubleshooting automated systems such as robots to maximize efficiency and output.

Before creating the program, QCC gathered feedback from companies involved in mechatronics to determine the skills required for an entry-level mechatronics technician. Many of those skills were already incorporated into the college’s mechatronics curriculum, which helped integrate the certificate into QCC’s Electronics Engineering Technology – Mechatronics associate degree program. Currently, QCC’s mechatronic associate degree program has a 90% job placement rate. Employers that have hired QCC students include SMC Ltd., Amazon Robotics, and Valmet

QCC also offers an additional pathway into the field of robotics with its QCC’s Computer Science associate degree program. The college recently developed two new courses, Introduction to Robotics and Intermediate Robotics, specifically designed for the computer science program.

According to recruitment platform Zippia, less than 9% of robot technicians identify as female. At QCC, faculty and administration acknowledge the lack of women in the field and have been encouraging female-identifying students to join this growing industry, including at a Women in Robotics and Automation information session that was held on June 26.

For more information about QCC’s ARMTech program, visit QCC.edu/armtech

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