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New GA College Building Houses Industrial Labs for Workforce Training

A technical college in Georgia recently opened a new technology building on campus. The 35,000-square-foot facility at Ogeechee Technical College houses four industrial labs, including a mechatronics lab, along with classrooms and the campus's plant operations. The building cost $9.1 million to build and another $1.6 million to equip and furnish.

Three labs in the new facility house programs dedicated to industrial systems and mechatronics. The fourth is an electrical lab. Several regional companies and two development authorities donated money to buy the equipment.

Among the offerings is a FANUC factory automation training system that enables students to develop their industrial maintenance skills on an industry-caliber robotics control system. Over 12 weeks in an Industrial Maintenance Fast Track course, they learn how to work with the machines and be prepared to tackle the certified robot operator exam issued by NOCTI, a national provider of industrial workforce certifications.

The construction of the building began several years ago when managers of local companies came to the school with a concern: Their maintenance technicians were beginning to age out and retire, and the managers didn't see younger workers coming along with the skills to take their places.

"So we went to work to solve that problem with them," said college President Lori Durden, in a statement.

After going through units on electronics, industrial wiring, motor controls, fluid power, mechanical systems, instrumentation, programmable logic controllers and troubleshooting, students who graduate from the program are guaranteed interviews with local manufacturers with a potential starting pay of $15 per hour.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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