The Department of Labor TAACCCT grant requires participants to earn a nationally-recognized credential. For participants trained at Purdue University Calumet, that means PMMI Mechatronics Certificates.
February 18, 2014
by Canadian Packaging Staff
Reston, Va.—In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama described how to ensure Americans have the skills they need to fill the country’s open manufacturing jobs.
“… We have to make sure every American has the skills to fill [available job openings]. That means more on-the-job training and more apprenticeships … It means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill their specific needs,” he told Congress.
In northwestern Indiana, educators at Purdue University Calumet are making the corporate-collegiate connection and implementing a $2.74 million U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant. The grant, which supports training for displaced workers, requires participants to earn a nationally-recognized credential, and Purdue University Calumet has chosen PMMI’s Mechatronics Certificates for similar credentials.
Niaz Latif, Ph.D., dean of the College of Technology, Purdue University Calumet, notes the college’s strong connections to leaders in packaging and processing — particularly the industries’ original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). As Principal Investigator for the TAACCCT grant, Latif sees PMMI’s Mechatronics Certificate program as the clear choice for a credential.
“PMMI’s certificates in the mechanical, electrical and controls areas are recognized by the DOL and are directly related to the occupations of industrial machinery mechanics and mechatronics technicians,” Latif says.
Maria Ferrante, vice president, Education & Workforce Development, PMMI, adds, “There is a significant need for this type of training in the light industrial, hybrid manufacturing space. Purdue University Calumet is taking a leadership role in ensuring the future of the packaging and processing workforce. PMMI’s third-party validated Mechatronics Certificates provide the training required to meet the industry-developed standards that are key to developing the workforce for machinery manufacturers and consumer packaged goods companies.”
Latif adds that training under the grant will also present new opportunities to the participants, with information about mechatronics education at other two- and four-year programs.
“With this grant, we will provide cutting-edge training to northwest Indiana residents who are eager to fill important jobs and make valuable contributions to our region. The support provided by this grant validates the important role Purdue University Calumet plays in enhancing northwest Indiana’s economic development,” he says.
The TAACCCT grant and the integration of PMMI’s Mechatronics Certificate program will support training for more than 300 individuals as mechatronics technicians and industrial machinery mechanics, according to co-PI Mohammad Zahraee, Ph.D., PE, assistant dean for Graduate Studies and a professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology. He notes that the grant and the Mechatronics Certificates position Purdue University Calumet to achieve regional goals as well as its particular institutional goals.
“One of the four Purdue University Calumet strategic goals in the next five years is ‘Community and Business Partnerships’, which is driven by our dedication to the role of economic development of the region. This timely grant is testimony to our commitment to this strategic goal,” Zahraee says.
Mechatronics is the synergistic application of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, control engineering, and computer science in the manufacturing environment. It is a skill and knowledge set used to assure the automation that drives modern manufacturing delivers its potential for higher productivity and output.
PMMI’s Mechatronics Certificate program resulted from a partnership between PMMI, the Mid-Atlantic Mechatronics Advisory Council, and several packaging and technical schools. PMMI’s Mechatronics Competencies were added to DOL’s Competency Model Clearinghouse in 2009. Based on the Mechatronics Competencies, PMMI’s Certificate tests demonstrate education, training and knowledge in key skill areas. They’re used as hiring, on-boarding and advancement tools.
In 2011, PMMI’s Mechatronics Certificate program was added to the Manufacturing Institute’s Manufacturing Skills Certification Systems (SCS) offerings. (The Manufacturing Institute is a 501(c)(3) affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).)
“Working with PMMI’s Mechatronics Certificates is an important way to make sure the industry, economy and workers are prepared to move forward with a growing 21st Century skills set. We hope other TAACCCT schools will follow Purdue’s lead,” Ferrante says.
Learn more about PMMI’s Mechatronics Certificates at PMMI.org.
PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, is a trade association representing over 600 packaging and processing supply chain companies that provide a full range of packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers. PMMI actively brings buyers and sellers together through programs and events such as The PACK EXPO family of trade shows, packexpo.com, PMT Magazine, PACK EXPO Show Daily, networking events and educational programs.
PMMI organizes the PACK EXPO trade shows: PACK EXPO International, Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO International and presented jointly with the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE); PACK EXPO Las Vegas, PACK EXPO East, EXPO PACK México and EXPO PACK Guadalajara, connecting participants in the packaging and processing supply chain with their customers around the world. Coming Up: EXPO PACK México 2014, June 17-20 (Mexico City, Mexico); PACK EXPO International 2014, Nov. 2-5 (McCormick Place, Chicago); Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO International 2014; PACK EXPO East, debuting Feb. 2–4, 2015 (Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia); EXPO PACK Guadalajara 2015, March 18-20, 2015 (Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico).
Learn more about PMMI and the PACK EXPO trade shows at PMMI.org and Packexpo.com.
About Purdue University Calumet
Purdue University Calumet is a 9,000+ student regional institution within the Purdue University system. Located, in Hammond, Ind., Purdue Calumet offers baccalaureate and master’s degree programs in some 50 areas of study, including traditional Purdue strengths of engineering, technologies, sciences, liberal arts; and professional programs of nursing, business and education. The College of Technology has three academic departments that offer seven bachelor of science degree programs and three master’s degree programs.