Widener University rewarded the academic achievement of Dimple Gandevia and Louie Orth with scholarships worth $196K over four years. Both students study mechatronics at North Montco Technical Career Center in Lansdale under the direction of Rich Matthias who developed the program in 2002. Gandevia received Widener’s Presidential Scholarship valued at $108,000, and Orth was awarded $88,000. Both plan to continue their education in robotics engineering this fall at the University.
Mechatronics engineering, a cornerstone of Industry 4.0, is a program that combines mechanical, computer and electrical engineering, along with systems integration and project management. It is increasingly applied to just about every economic sector, including Aerospace and Defense, Telecommunications, Transportation, Agriculture, and Biotechnology, just to name a few. Matthias’ program has graduated about 145 students since its inception, and students have the ability to earn up to 18 college credits. Current enrollment is 45 students, and Matthias anticipates a full class for 2019 -2020. To learn more about NMTCC’s Mechatronics Program visit the website at www.nmtcc.org
According to North Penn High School alumni Dr. Jonathan Weaver, now a professor of Mechanical Engineering at University of Detroit Mercy and visiting professor at Villanova University, there has not been a more crucial time in history for students to explore this kind of technology. “It is predicted that we will see more technological change in the next twenty years than we have in the preceding 300 years. Will the next generation be prepared for that? He explains further, “I regularly deal with many high tech companies both in the Detroit area and elsewhere. It is clear that what keeps the management of most of those companies up at night is a shortage of talent in the key technical areas comprising Industry 4.0. Many companies are scrambling to be the disruptor before someone else makes them irrelevant.”
It is no surprise that the need for mechatronics is growing and is considered a high priority occupation in Pennsylvania. Students completing Matthias’ program at NMTCC can explore one of several career pathways with this training. They have the skills to enter the workforce directly out of high school as a technician, or they can to go to college well prepared to earn an engineering degree. According to www.sokanu.com, the average salary for these engineers is about $99,250.00.
What draws a student to robotics? Both Gandevia and Orth describe themselves as liking math and science classes, solving problems, and understanding the way things work. More importantly, each feels that their parents and teachers have been great mentors to them. Both students took advantage of a tour of NMTCC Mechatronics Lab and knew it would be good place to explore their interests. While taking mechatronics was not an option when Dr. Weaver was in high school, he believes this type of program would have been right for him and would have put him on a faster track to what he enjoys doing. He adds, “like so many my age, I wish I knew then what I know now.”
Many NMTCC programs, including Mechatronics, are open to adults and businesses seeking customized training. With multiple additional programs offered in six high-demand occupation sectors, you can increase workplace skills and earn the certifications employers want most: Construction Trades, Culinary Arts, Engineering, Manufacturing, Health Careers, and Driver Ed and Commercial Driver Education (CDL).