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Ivy Tech-Anderson Expanding Advanced Automation and Robotics

Ivy Tech Community College’s Anderson campus recently certified its first cohort of students in smart manufacturing and digital integration, having updated its mechatronics lab and required faculty to learn new skills.

(TNS) — As with all the Ivy Tech Community College campuses throughout the state, Anderson’s also offers the Smart Manufacturing and Digital Integration coursework in an effort to support emerging needs of local manufacturers.

Christina Collins, executive director of Ivy Tech-Anderson’s Career Coaching Employer Connections, said the campus’s first cohort of students already completed the coursework and earned certification during the fall semester.

“We are building our course programming and updating our lab to be able to deliver the full SMDI pathway,” she said. “Based on industry demand, we are also growing our Advanced Automation and Robotics Technology program, which the SMDI certificate stacks to at the associate level.”

In an effort to prepare for the new skills and rigorous requirement, the Anderson campus’s mechatronics lab recently was updated to ensure compliance with standards set by the Smart Automation Certification Alliance, Collins said. In addition, faculty have been required to upgrade their skills through professional development and SACA certification.

Courses offered this spring include key principles of advanced manufacturing plus technology in advanced manufacturing, both of which are offered through traditional in-person classroom settings and online.

After decades of sending work overseas, Collins said, many companies now are “nearshoring” because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the well-documented supply chain and labor shortage issues it has caused.

“It’s really the answer, using smart technology within manufacturing,” she said. “They are able to make small quantities, so they can make things on demand without warehousing. It really meets what’s going on in manufacturing.”

Though some have expressed concerns about potential job availability shortages in manufacturing caused by automation, Collins said the situation often is the opposite. Smart manufacturing will allow for fewer employees who can maintain the supply chain.

“It’s actually growing at a higher rate than health care. It actually mans more opportunity.”

Additionally, the certifications offered through the smart manufacturing program are not industry-specific and can be used nationwide, Collins said.

“It allows our students to have a nationally recognized certification, regardless of which type of sector they are going into. Employers will know the level of competency our students have.”

©2022 The Herald Bulletin (Anderson, Ind.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.