July 24, 2018 -- Every day people enjoy the work of an industrial or automation technician, but often don’t realize it. Industrial technicians, often called automation or industrial specialists or engineers, are responsible for the routine maintenance and troubleshooting of manufacturing equipment and electrical components that allow machines continue to produce with efficiency.
Moore Norman Technology Center’s Industrial Maintenance Technology Instructor Bill Byrd said his graduates are in high demand and are needed on-the-job now. One reason for this need is the growing national skills gap affecting many manufacturing industries.
PEW Research Center estimates the Baby Boomer generation comprises 26 percent of the U.S. population and CNBC estimated in 2017 that 10,000 Boomers retire everyday. In all areas of industry this means that when Baby Boomers retire they take with them decades of earned technical skills, knowledge and expertise leaving a large skills gap for employers to fill. With college often being promoted as the best pathway to a rewarding career, many companies are left wondering how to make up for these employee losses.
“The advantage of coming to Moore Norman and doing a year-long, six hour-a-day industrial maintenance technology program is that students can get in-and-get-out in a very short period of time. Most adults have families and other responsibilities, so they need to get out there and go to work.
“We prepare our students with the training and certifications to get them out in front of employers and into the real world of industrial maintenance,” Byrd said.
Byrd also mentioned that the timing is great for his graduates considering the recent expansion of Johnson Controls in Norman and Amazon signing a lease in June for a large distribution center that will be close to the Will Rogers World Airport. He said companies like these and others in Oklahoma need certified maintenance technicians to ensure proper function of production line machines so that business continues to move as fast as their products do.
“These are really good-paying jobs and can support you and your family throughout your career,” Byrd said.
According to onetonline.org, automation or industrial maintenance technicians in Oklahoma can earn $14.06 to $30.62 per hour. Byrd said he’s had some graduates start out at $21 to $22 per hour.
Students in MNTC’s Industrial Maintenance Technology program have the opportunity to train for certifications in:
Byrd said he’s also had students who choose to work in industry while finishing or pursuing a degree in electrical and mechanical engineering.
“College teaches theory and we teach the hands-on. For those who want to continue their education, and now couple the hands-on with the theory, they’re more than likely going to be very successful in industry,” said Byrd.
To learn more about MNTC’s Industrial Maintenance Technology program and get full details, visit here or call 801-5000 for information on how to apply.
by Anna Aguilar, APR
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