Industry demanding increased technical competence
To support its mission to ensure its students have the training and certifications needed to thrive in an ever-competitive market, Schoolcraft College is now a member of the Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA).
SACA aligns education and training to meet the realities of the fourth industrial revolution, known as Industry 4.0. Students who attend classes in the Manufacturing & Engineering Center (MEC) will be among the first to take advantage. Opened in the fall of 2020, the MEC is the home of Schoolcraft College’s engineering and technology programs. This 48,000-square-foot facility more than doubled the space for occupational programs, including:
- Biomedical Engineering Technology
- Computer Aided Design (CAD)
- Engineering Technology
- Manufacturing Technology/CNC (Computer Numerical Control)
- Metallurgy and Materials Science
- Plastic Technology
The MEC also houses a 3D printing lab and robotics lab.
Amy Jones, Associate Dean of Occupational Programs, Engineering & Technology, believes joining SACA will be a great benefit for Schoolcraft College students.
“Today’s manufacturing environment is increasingly complex and computer-connected, and employers are seeking higher levels of technical competency from their employees,” she said. “The SACA certification gives students the technical information to understand and troubleshoot the complex systems found in industry. The certification will attest that the student has learned concepts and can perform various processes learned.”
Further, as a member of SACA, Schoolcraft College can administer the testing without additional fees to students and staff.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
Industry 4.0 is resulting in reduced downtime and increased quality, productivity, and overall efficiency in industries of all kinds thanks to advanced technologies that make up what is known as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
IIoT technologies include advanced robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and machines, cloud-based data analysis, and cybersecurity. As companies increase their use of networks and Internet technologies, they are connecting more devices, from smart sensors to smartphones.
While there are many certifications available today that address isolated competencies, SACA certifications are different. SACA’s Industry 4.0 certifications certify “connected systems” skills that address the integration of the many types of advanced manufacturing technologies with Industry 4.0 technology.
Students will be able to earn SACA certifications at the Associate, Specialist, and Professional level in areas such as basic and advanced operations; robot systems; IIoT, networking, and data analytics; automation systems; production systems; and information technology (IT) operations.
“The certification is important to give students the right skills to gain employment in middle-to-high skill level position,” Jones said. “The various levels of the certification allows students to continue to master higher level skills which can lead to more advanced job opportunities. The certification shows employers what competencies the student can perform on the job.”
SACA will be part of Mechatronics program
The College plans on implementing the SACA certification in a number of ways. This includes structuring it into the credit programs for Mechatronics Technology, which is being revised for the Spring 2022 semester, so that students earn the credentials as they progress through the curriculum.
“We also have grant programs that will follow a ‘boot camp’ model for short-term training leading to a credential and employment or the student may articulate into our credit program,” said Sandra Miller, Project Coordinator, Business Development Center.
“Finally, SACA offers micro-credentials in a particular subject such as hydraulics. These micro-credentials can be offered by Schoolcraft’s Workforce Training Solutions as customized training for employers to upskill their current workforce.”