More than a dozen area manufacturing leaders gathered at Western Nevada College on Friday to preview the latest technical training initiative in support of the Northern Nevada workforce. Siemens Technik Akademie Barlin, a worldwide leader in automation and mechatronics, is partnering with Western Nevada College to launch the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program.
The SMSCP is an internationally recognized credential for technical workers in the areas of manufacturing and distribution. WNC is the only college in the Western region of the United States preparing to offer this distinctive training program.
“We are excited about the mechatronics program being launched at WNC,” said Amy Martin-Charles, Panasonic’s Talent Acquisition Manager. “It is not only good for our company but also other local companies and the community.”
Larry Harvey, Director of Human Resources at Click Bond in Carson City, came away impressed with the skills that the Siemens certification could provide his current and future employees.
“There are at least 50 or 60 of my current employees, if not more, that could benefit,” said Harvey, whose company employs approximately 350 people in the Carson City area. “I’m encouraging all of them to go to a higher level.”
WNC hosted Lauren von Steuben from the Siemens Technical Academy in Berlin, Germany, who presented the details of what employers can expect from students who complete the training program and earn their Siemens certification. To prepare for the Level 1 certification exam, students need to take four, four-unit classes: Electrical Components, Mechanical Components and Electrical Drives, Pneumatic and Hydraulic Control Circuits, and Programmable Logic Controllers.
Emily Howarth, WNC’s Electronics and Industrial Technology Professor, is also recommending that students enroll in Fundaments of Applied Industrial Technology (AIT 101) this fall to be prepared to take the accelerated classes in the spring.
Once a student passes the internationally recognized industry certification exam, he or she is qualified to become a Siemens Certified Mechatronic Systems Assistant who can operate a well-grounded machine in a complex system. With this expertise, the newly certified person can operate equipment efficiently, and can solve problems as they arise.
“If you teach troubleshooting working with real-life systems, your students, when they learn it using their hands, they very easily adapt to other systems,” von Steuben said.
Von Steuben estimates that Siemens spends nearly 187 million Euro per year educating and training future workers. Sixteen countries, including the U.S., China, Canada and India, are participating in the certification program.
Mechatronics encompasses electrical, mechanical, fluid power and control systems. The series of college classes at WNC counts toward an Associate Degree in Technology, while also preparing students to earn the Siemens certification.
“This is a real exciting training program for what it is going to mean for manufacturing in this area,” said WNC President Chester Burton. “It’s a great example of us being nimble, agile and responsive.”
Siemens also offers Level 2 and Level 3 certifications. The Siemens Certified Mechatronic Systems Associate (Level 2) focuses on system management, investigation, repair and troubleshooting, while Siemens Certified Mechatronic Systems Designer (Level 3) emphasizes systems design and project management and corresponds to university-level engineering education.
WNC offers innovative solutions to meet regional workforce needs with programs that include Jump Start College and accelerated training in Industrial Technology. Fields of study include Construction Management and Machine Tool Technology.