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June 26, 2013
Piedmont Technical College has long prepared technicians to work in the continually advancing field of industrial technology. Now, the college is expanding its degree offerings in Newberry with the addition of the Mechatronics Technology associate degree.
The new degree program will begin in the fall of 2014 as part of the Phase II construction at the new Newberry County Campus. Also included will be the addition of an auditorium and a health science program.
“We have been working closely with Newberry County Council and they have graciously agreed to donate over $500,000 to purchase the equipment for the Mechatronics program,” said Jennifer Wilbanks, dean of county campuses.
Mechatronics is an interdisciplinary field involving control systems, electronic systems, computers and mechanical systems that integrates product design and automated manufacturing processes. Because industrial applications are becoming more and more complex, industries need technicians with skills that cross a variety of disciplines.
“Mechatronics is a relatively new approach in the United States,” said Kevin Moore, industrial technology instructor. “It’s a systems approach where you look at the whole system rather than the individual component.”
Moore said the degree program will tie into the Mechatronics program currently offered at the Newberry Career Center. Students who begin at the Career Center will be able to seamlessly enter the program at the Newberry County Campus to pursue the full associate degree.
“We want to let the students know they can go to the Career Center for a year, then come over to Piedmont Tech after you graduate for a year and earn an associate degree,” Moore said. “We are laying the groundwork in the high schools of Newberry for this degree.”
The program will be offered in its entirety in Newberry. To ensure the program will be training technicians to meet the needs of industry in Newberry, Piedmont Tech will host a business forum August 20 to gain input from the area businesses that will benefit from the program.
“We want to introduce them to what Mechatronics is and what technology we will be using there,” said Moore.
For more information on the Mechatronics Technology program, contact Moore at (864) 941-8480. For information on the business forum, contact Wilbanks at (864) 938-1501.