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New Mechatronics Apprenticeship

March 5, 2018

In a joint effort between Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) and the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB), with support from sponsoring employers including Bell Laboratories, Miniature Precision Components, Pratt Industries, Scot Forge, Seneca Foods Corp. and Emmi Roth USA, Inc., a new Mechatronics Apprenticeship has been created as part of BTC’s academic offerings starting in January, 2018.

“Apprenticeships have applicability in every sector of the economy,” said Dr. Tracy Pierner, Blackhawk President.  “We are thrilled that our employer partners and the Southwest Wisconsin Development Board wanted to help create a great training opportunity for some of our region’s technicians.”

Designed to train electrical, mechanical and electronics systems technicians, the new Mechatronics Apprenticeship requires a five-year commitment where students complete 24 college credit hours and 872 hours of related instruction as part of a 10,000 hour training regimen. 

Building on national support to expand apprenticeships, the SWWDB helped secure a Wisconsin Apprenticeship Growth and Enhancement Strategies (WAGE$) grant to help get the new Mechatronics Apprenticeship started.

“Employers considering apprenticeships to right skill their teams are opening doors to the future of workforce training, said Rhonda Suda, Southwest Workforce Development Board Executive Director. “The work and learn model is an investment that produces a quick return. Apprenticeships cannot move forward without employer input and buy-in so this is a great start to establishing Mechatronics Apprenticeships all over the state.”

The United States Department of Labor awarded $5 million to the Department of Workforce Development as part of an American Apprenticeship Initiative that includes training for 1,000 new apprenticeships across 12 occupations in three sectors, including advanced manufacturing.

Known as an efficient training tool, apprenticeship programs integrate theoretical education at college sites with on-the-job-training at the companies.  Blackhawk Technical College currently offers five apprenticeships including: Construction Electrician, Mechatronics, Maintenance Technician, Industrial Electrician and Welding Fabricator Apprenticeships.

To help kick off the start of the Mechatronics Apprenticeship, BTC will host a signing event on January 11 from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. at the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Milton.  Twelve students will officially sign on to the apprenticeship at the event with employers, BTC leadership and representatives from the SWWDB and the Department of Workforce Development/Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards all in attendance.

For more information about the BTC Mechatronics Apprenticeship contact Colleen Koerth at (608) 743-4597.  For more information about creating an apprenticeship, contact Dana Melahn, Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, at or (608) 314-3300 ext. 307.

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