About Mechatronics in High School
The CCAC Mechatronics program is poised to jump-start your future education and career with MEC 100 & MEC 102 by offering courses in high school. MEC 100 and 102 are geared for students entering their junior or senior year at school. Sophomores with a strong math aptitude may consider enrolling in the courses as well. As with any course of study, students should discuss this course of study with their counselors prior to enrolling.
Why Take This Approach?
- You automatically earn six (6) credits from CCAC!
- If you attend CCAC after completing the MEC courses taught in high school, you can shorten the completion time of your certificate or associates degree.
- Grades earned in the high school program will become part of your CCAC's transcript.
- Upon successful completion of the MEC 100 & MEC 102 classes you will earn the CPT (Certified Production Technician) certification from MSSC (Manufacturing Skills Standard Council). This is an industry recognized certification that is portable (follows you wherever you move/work nationally).
- If you must work while attending college, the CPT certification will provide you entrée to higher paying jobs versus minimum wage jobs.
- Studies have shown that colleges courses taken in high school increase your chance for success in your first year of college
- If you continue with the Mechatronics program at CCAC, upon completion of your associate's degree you can transfer into a bachelor's degree program with advance standing, thus lowering your overall college/university expenses.
- Taking college courses in high school provides the opportunity to enhance your academic portfolio as you apply to college.
- This opportunity provides you, the student, a chance to dabble in mechatronics with a low or no cost introduction into the field to see if your skill set is aligned with future aspirations in mechatronics, mechatronics engineering, robotics engineering and mechanical engineering.
- CCAC can also provide this offering in a non-credit format at your school. With this format, if the student does not succeed in passing the exam, there is no impact to the student's CCAC transcript. The primary drawback to this approach would be the ability to obtain outside funding as many of the "aid programs" require that the coursework be credit.
You take the MEC 100 & MEC 102 courses at your school. CCAC and your school will work in tandem to set up the program. The course offering can be accomplished in a variety of formats. Your school selects the format. Example formats include:
- In person instruction conducted by either a CCAC instructor or an instructor from your school who has trained with CCAC and possesses the MSSC credentials to teach.
- Hybrid instruction taught by a CCAC instructor by utilizing in-person and online instructional techniques.
- On-line instruction from a CCAC instructor. This approach can be asynchronous (pre-recorded instruction) or live via Zoom and is conducted by a CCAC instructor.
If your school selects one of your school's faculty members to conduct the classes, CCAC works with the faculty member so that they receive the proper training and certification through MSSC.
CCAC and your schools faculty also structure the course's pace to flow properly with school breaks, semesters and the learning structure for high school students.
An added bonus: CCAC will also work with your school district and its instructors to provide opportunities to visit our state-of-the-art mechatronics lab as a part of a field trip. We have found that this component really make the program seem more "real" to you. We can also provide in-class seminars regarding the program, where it fits in today's job market and apprenticeship opportunities.
CCAC and your school may have partnerships with a variety of entities that could result in reduced tuition or no tuition on your part. Each school is different. Your school and CCAC will work together on the financial particulars prior to offering the courses. Potential financial obligation will be clearly outlined when the courses are offered.
Student Success Stories
Let us review the program through the eyes of a student with "Jacob's Story". Jacob entered the CCAC Mechatronics program via an apprenticeship right out of high school. Through the apprenticeship he has a job as well as tuition-free education. The skills he has learned at CCAC are applicable to his position. He now possesses the building blocks allowing for a successful career and future advancement in his industry.
Jacob Graleski is being paid to turn his love of working with his hands into a rewarding career. As a CCAC Mechatronics Technology student through the German American Chamber of Commerce (GACC) apprenticeship program, he works four days a week as a maintenance technician and attends classes on Fridays at CCAC's WestJacob is training at the Pneumatic Troubleshooting Station. This station provides Jacob hands on training with loads and pressure mimicking "real-world" problems that may occur in the workplace. Hills Center. He has completed his second year at CCAC's West Hills Center and earned his Mechatronics certificate.
Graleski gladly accepted this opportunity to go to school tuition-free while working and earning a decent wage. He has found the Mechatronics program to be extremely helpful in his job of repairing broken machines at Impact Guard, which makes impact resistant products used on tractor-trailers. The curriculum covers everything that powers machines, including fluid power, digital electronics, fundamentals of electricity, industrial power systems, and robotics. He likes the fact that the instructors have worked in the industry and are able to share their first-hand knowledge and expertise, which he regularly draws upon during his 12-hour plant shifts.
In 2020, Graleski was named "Apprentice of the Year" by the GACC, Pittsburgh Chapter. The award is given to the apprentice who demonstrates extraordinary skills and abilities inside and outside the classroom. He shared the award with CCAC student, Andrew Knez, who tied for first place. The students were presented with the 2020 award at the chamber's annual Ice Gala held at the Energy Innovation Center. Graleski was surprised to receive the award when he was still a first-year apprentice. The award did not come as a surprise to others, however.
"Jacob is a fantastic student, and I'm not surprised that his employer values him so much. He is always asking questions and course material and trying to relate it to his job duties," said Justin Starr, Endowed Professor of Advance Technologies. "I am thrilled that he elected to continue his studies to earn his Associate of Science in Mechatronics."
Graleski's goals include eventually moving into management, or possibly pursuing a bachelor's degree in engineering. Either way, he credits CCAC with providing a strong foundation for future success. "I would recommend the CCAC Mechatronics program to anyone. I think it is one of the better programs out there, and it gives you so much useful knowledge."
You can be the next Jacob if you enroll in the Mechatronics program!