PARMA, Ohio — America’s skilled labor shortage continues to haunt employers who have the jobs, but lack the trained workforce.
In an effort to bridge the gap, Bryant & Stratton College recently announced the introduction of an electronic technology associate degree to be offered at its Parma campus. The new program prepares students for a variety of cutting-edge STEM-related careers.
Bryant & Stratton College Market Director Paul Wehrum said the curriculum addition has been on the radar for two years.
“The most important factor was the need by different employers in this area for individuals who would develop skills in this program,” Wehrum said. “Manufacturing is very strong, and in this program the skills the graduates have will translate very nicely into the many different fields.
“We also wanted to make sure that the potential jobs have salaries that will be a good investment for these individuals into their education. That’s a very important factor.”
The electronic technology program, which in two years will also offer a bachelor’s degree course of study, trains students in manufacturing, installation, operation, service and maintenance of electromechanical systems and hardware, as well as advanced training that emphasizes computer solutions in electronics application.
Beginning this fall, the Parma campus’ newly constructed electronics lab will accommodate 24 students.
Bill Wright, Bryant & Stratton College system director of academic operations and student affairs, said the curriculum was designed after interviewing local employers about their needs.
“Lincoln Electric was a partner with us to review the curriculum and give us feedback,” Wright said. “Our goal was to design a program that would help prepare our students to be career ready.
“We thought the best way to do that was to have employers help us understand what it is they’re looking for in graduates.”
Out of that interaction, three major areas of focus were identified for students. This included possessing a foundational knowledge of electronics and receiving a hands-on education with laboratory facilities and equipment, as well as enhancing critical-thinking skills.
“Every employer told us over and over again how important it was for students to have the ability to think on their feet, reason through problems and troubleshoot,” Wright said. “We want our students to have the skills they need to be able to start day one. Those types of jobs as those are becoming and more needed for skilled graduates.”
Added Wehrum, “There’s a lot of opportunity — not just for Parma — in all of the communities throughout Northeast Ohio for individuals who attend this program.”
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