PMMI has partnered with the Manufacturing Institute and the Industrial Maintenance Training Center of Pennsylvania (IMTC) to support training that can lead to jobs in high-performance production shops. The new partnership will bring 10 community colleges and technical schools in Pennsylvania into alignment with the requirements of the mechatronics certificates PMMI offers online, with the ultimate goal of replicating the partnership across the country.

“We’re proud to be involved in this partnership," says Maria Ferrante, PMMI's vice president of education and workforce development. "PMMI has made a long-term commitment to working with schools, industry, and allied associations and organizations to strengthen the manufacturing workforce.”

More than 500 students are projected to earn PMMI Mechatronics Certificates across the IMTC consortium over the next two years. Initially, Reading Area Community College (Reading) and the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center (Lancaster) will offer certification assessments. The Community College of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), North Montco Technical Career Center (Lansdale), Precision Manufacturing Institute (Meadville), the Central PA Institute of Science & Technology (State College), and the Lehigh Career and Technical Institute, which serves school districts in the Lehigh Valley, are also building capacity to offer the certification assessments.

PMMI’s Mechatronics Certificate program is part of the NAM-endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System, a series of stackable credentials to provide skills manufacturers need for high-demand occupations. The program is the result of a partnership between PMMI, the Mid-Atlantic Mechatronics Advisory Council, and several packaging and technical schools. The U.S. Department of Labor added the skills standards on which it is based to its Competency Model Clearinghouse in 2009.

“Unemployment figures are high, yet nationally there are as many as 600,000 manufacturing jobs that can’t be filled,” says Ferrante. “That disconnect is, in part, a result of gaps between mechanical knowledge and computer savvy. High paying, highly-skilled jobs in the advanced manufacturing space are critical to the success of manufacturers across the country. PMMI’s Mechatronics Certificates help fill the gap, and provide another screening tool for employers.”

Industrial maintenance jobs, which this program will support, combine continuous process manufacturing and discrete, short-production cycle manufacturing. Skills sets required include advanced understanding of mechatronics, pneumatics, and multi-axis motion control. In Pennsylvania, these jobs start at more than $33,000 annually and overall salaries average more than $47,000. For more information, visit pmmi.org.