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VILLAGE OF PEWAUKEE -  Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) has added its 11th apprenticeship to its list of apprenticeship offerings, specifically in the area of mechatronics.

The college has added a Mechatronics Technician Registered Apprenticeship program for Wisconsin manufacturers, in partnership with the state Department of Workforce Development (DWD). 

The DWD's Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards wanted a way to address skills gaps and training in advanced manufacturing, according to a news release. Along with WCTC and the DWD, the program partners with Wisconsin Technical College System schools and large and small manufacturers, including GE Healthcare, John Deere, Waukesha Metal Products, Acieta, LLC, Eaton, KHS USA, Inc., Kondex, Midwest Engineering Systems, Quad/Graphics, Signicast and SMC Corp.

Mike Shiels, WCTC dean of the School of Applied Technologies, said the program will start in the fall. The five-year program includes three years of classroom instruction one day a week, for a total of 10,000 hours.

Those who complete the program earn technical college credits that can go toward an associate's degree.

Mechatronics technicians work on robotic and automation technology that manufacturers use to create electrical, mechanical and electronic systems, helping do things such as troubleshooting, operating and debugging industrial computer and communications systems, the release said. 

Creation of the program started about three years ago, Shiels said.

"I was very interested in moving that apprenticeship forward because many of our employers in Waukesha County have a lot of automation within their companies," Shiels said. "I really saw this as an important offering at WCTC for employers to be able to develop their employees in this area."

 

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