DACC trustees to consider adding mechatronics program

DACC trustees to consider adding mechatronics program

DANVILLE — Danville Area Community College soon could offer a new program that would prepare area residents to step into some high-skill, high-paying jobs.

Trustees on Tuesday will discuss and then vote on whether to approve a 24-credit-hour certificate program in mechatronics.

If it's approved, the program proposal will go before the Illinois Community College Board for final approval. Officials hope to have it available for the fall 2012 semester.

The Danville Area Community College Board of Trustees will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday (May 22). The meeting is in Vermilion Hall, Room 302, at the campus, 2000 E. Main St. A copy of the agenda and board packet is available online at http://bit.ly/JrG04q.

Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field combining mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, electronics, information technology and systems thinking to design and manufacture products.

"It's a blending of skills," said Dave Kietzmann, DACC's vice president of instruction and student services. "It's basic industrial maintenance, basic electronics and basic advanced manufacturing. It will give students a broad skills set that employers will find attractive."

Kietzmann said the program is for all types of students from those who recently have graduated from high school to adults who want to retrain for a new career. Math skills are a plus.

The program, which can be completed in about two semesters, will prepare students to analyze functional relationships in mechatronic systems, follow information and energy flow in electrical, pneumatic and hydraulic sub systems, plan and organize work flow, commission, trouble shoot and repair mechantronic systems.

It will draw on coursework from electronics and advanced manufacturing. Coursework will include advanced manufacturing concepts, industrial maintenance, electronics, programmable controllers, pneumatics and hydraulics.

Currently, existing instructors will be used to teach the classes, so there is no need to add staff. But "depending on the demand, we may have to look at that in the future," Kietzmann said.

He added the college may need to buy some new equipment for the program.

Kietzmann said the program was developed in response to local employers' need.

"We always try to respond to their needs and put forward programs that will help local residents find high-wage, high-skill employment," he said.

Also at the meeting, trustees will vote on whether to approve a $5 per week across-the-board fee increase at the Child Development Center. If approved, the new rates would take effect on July 1.

"This will help us offset increases in wages and benefits, food and instructional supplies," Director Ana Nasser said, adding the fees have not increased in two years.

Under the proposal, the regular weekly rate would be $135 for 2- to 3-year-olds; $125 for 3- to 5-year-olds, and $115 for 6-12 year olds. Nasser said the regular weekly rate for 15-month-olds to 23-month-olds currently is listed at $150, however that could change.

Student rates, which also are available, would increase $5 a week, too.

The yearly registration/art fee would be $50.

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