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WKCTC Students First in the Nation to Earn Siemens Mechatronics Certification

First US Student CertificationTwo West Kentucky Community amp; Technical College students are the first students in the United States to earn the Level 1 Certification in the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program (SMSCP).

Michael C. Cooper of Barlow and Larry E. Wallace of Kevil received their certificates during a special ceremony at the College June 22, 2009.

WKCTC Assistant Professor David Franklin said the exam, administered online by Siemens Corporation in Berlin, Germany, signifies international recognition and is considered highly desirable in many industries in the United States.

Mechatronics refers to any system that employs mechanical and electronic sub-systems. Factories and industrial sites are literally full of mechatronic systems, Franklin said. Even outside of a factory environment, mechatronic systems are numerous. Modern automobiles, washing machines, computer printers are some of the many examples.

In todays global economy, industries are looking for workers who are multi-skilled, Franklin said. That is, workers who are knowledgeable about a variety of different types of machines and equipment. These industries want workers who can maintain equipment and, when necessary, troubleshoot and repair the equipment in order to minimize down time. They also need these workers to be able to easily adapt to new equipment and environments.

The Mechatronic Systems certificate at West Kentucky Community and Technical College consists of four separate courses: Electrical Components, Mechanical/Electrical Drives, Pneumatic/Hydraulic Systems, and Digital Electronics/Programmable Logic Controllers. At the end of the four courses, the successful student is qualified to sit for the Siemens exam. Taking the Siemens exam is completely optional, but successfully passing the exam adds Siemens certification to the WKCTC certificate.

We are proud of our students and our instructor, David Franklin, said WKCTC President Barbara Veazey. David spent several weeks in Germany working and training to develop the mechatronics program at the college. This is an example of the course offerings that will be available in the Emerging Technology Center to open in January 2010.

Siemens AG Representative David Webb, in a statement from Berlin, German, said the SMSCP is the international industry standard comprehensive skills certification in mechatronic systems, offered together with partner schools around the world. With this certification, (Cooper and Wallace) join the hundreds of SMSCP certificate recipients in China, Denmark, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore and Thailand who have found that a Siemens certification alongside a student's local degree, diploma or certificate can increase their competitiveness in today's global job market.

Webb added that Siemens was honored to have the support of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), who he called our biggest champion and advocate in the United States. Without their support, backed up by excellent SMSCP Certified Instructors such as Mr. David Franklin at West Kentucky Community amp; Technical College, we couldn't remain the industry standard, Webb said.

Wallace, 29, has worked three years as an operator at Kotter Ready Mix in Kevil. He attends WKCTC part-time, working on earning an associate degree in Industrial Maintenance. The father of three said he sought the Siemens certification with the hope of improving his chances of job advancement.

This is the first time Ive ever been first at something, Wallace said. It feels great.

Cooper, 37, a 1990 Ballard Memorial High School graduate, has worked at NewPage in Wickliffe since 1996, starting as an operator and later becoming an apprentice industrial mechanic. He enrolled in the Mechatronic Systems program at WKCTC in 2007 in order to enhance his apprenticeship.

This is a very high quality program, Cooper said. It has been a privilege to be in the first group in the U.S. to take the steps to achieve this certification.

Cooper, who already has an associate degree and a Bachelor of Science degree, said he enrolled at WKCTC to fill some of the gaps in his education. He said WKCTCs Mechatronic Systems program allowed him to become a better industrial mechanic and stronger at troubleshooting Mechatronic systems that I am involved with at the mill.

Having the Siemens certification was like adding icing to a cake, Cooper said. This certificate will provide worldwide proof through the Siemens name that I am qualified and capable of doing the work that is required of a multi-craft industrial mechanic.