Applied Industrial Technology professor Emily Howarth, center, talks with Ricardo Fregoso and Ezequiel Varela in a class at Western Nevada College in Carson City.
Technicians from around Northern Nevada are demonstrating their skills, knowledge and value through the innovative Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program at Western Nevada College. Working in the field of industrial technology and returning to the lab and classroom to earn internationally recognized credentials and college credit requires determination, and a personal and professional investment.
Five recent grads of WNC’s Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program are proof of that commitment.
Two General Electric equipment technicians, a Click Bond engineering technician, an industrial maintenance technician at Reno Cerakote and Hydrographics, and an industrial maintenance technician at Basalite Concrete Products made the time to enhance their professional careers. They completed the WNC’s accelerated Mech Tech program for Siemens Mechatronic Level 1 training.
The five recipients of the Siemens credential are Ricardo Fregoso, Ezequiel Varela, Arturo Martell, Matthew Robison and James Butts.
"When employers send their technicians to this training program, they are investing in their own technical workforce and in the strength of Nevada by contributing to the development of skilled workers — these middle-skilled careers offer family-sustaining wages and opportunities for upward mobility," said Emily Howarth, an electronics and industrial technology professor at WNC and a certified Siemens mechatronic instructor.
These training program classes are small and intense, and focus on the methodology of thinking like a problem solver, not just a task worker. WNC is uniquely positioned to offer technicians the ability to upgrade their knowledge and skills so they can return to the workforce with new ideas and recognition of their value to the organization. Employees with Siemens mechatronic certifications contribute to organizations' productivity. These individuals bring adaptive expertise to the automation production systems of manufacturers and distribution centers.
The accelerated class covered 80 hours of training spread over a month, in addition to a large body of additional coursework outside of class meeting times.
Accelerated Level 1 training will be offered this spring. Level 2 Siemens certification begins Feb. 20.
Robison learned about WNC’s Mechatronic Program from his brother.
“When I looked into it, it looked like it would help me in my field. So, I took my vacation time and paid for it myself,” he said.
Robison will now be able to return to his employer, Reno Cerakote and Hydrographics, with a larger skill set and a desire to earn additional Siemens certifications at WNC.
“The tool that I enjoyed the most was ToolingU; it had a data base on several different classes, essentially, on different topics from basic to advanced in pneumatics, electronics, mechanical, PLCs, and to be able to fill in that back information was a very valuable tool. Being able to work with people in the classroom setting hands-on was very valuable as well,” Robison said.
The SMSCP is a comprehensive industry skills certification offered in partnership with professional education institutions worldwide. The technical program of study covers electrical, mechanical, fluid power, and PLC (programmable logic controller) control systems intertwined to form modern automation, as found in high-tech Northern Nevada manufacturing, logistics and distribution facilities.
“It is easy to get and keep an entry-level manufacturing job in Nevada but to move up the ladder requires hands-on skills and technical knowledge,” Howarth said. “WNC offers the programs to get started and move up in a high-paying career field.”
The best way for individuals to get started as a technician is to earn their Manufacturing Technician (MT1) certification in a series of three classes, then proceed into mechatronics.
“The Siemens Mechatronic Program is not an entry point; it builds upon work experience and college coursework to further develop the skills of industrial technicians,” Howarth said.