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PPL provides funding for mechatronics trainer components

PPL has provided $13,000 toward the purchase of trainers to enhance the knowledge and skills of mechatronics students, whether they are enrolled in academic majors or are completing apprenticeship programs offered by Workforce Development at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The grant funding enabled the college to purchase mechanical and hydraulic components to increase training-unit capacity, as well as a flammable-liquid cabinet to satisfy safety requirements.

In a mechatronics lab at Pennsylvania College of Technology, student Andrew C. Caffrey gains industrial electricity skills at a portable, modular trainer featuring components purchased with PPL grant funds. Caffrey, of Denver, Pennsylvania, is enrolled in automation engineering technology: mechatronics.
In a mechatronics lab at Pennsylvania College of Technology, student Andrew C. Caffrey gains industrial electricity skills at a portable, modular trainer featuring components purchased with PPL grant funds. Caffrey, of Denver, Pennsylvania, is enrolled in automation engineering technology: mechatronics.

The skill set required to keep machines, mechanical equipment and facilities in repair has become much more complex. Mechatronics – the combination of two or more maintenance occupations such as industrial electricity, hydraulics and pneumatics, motor controls, and programmable logic controllers – is a highly desirable career field addressing industry needs.

Penn College uses LabVolt-brand portable, modular trainers designed to be expandable and adaptable in the college’s mechatronics lab. With industry demand rising, mechatronics enrollment has increased steadily, generating the need for additional mobile trainers and components to maintain an optimal ratio of students per trainer.

“PPL continues to invest not only in education, but in the industries and companies that employ our highly skilled graduates,” said Elizabeth A. Biddle, director of corporate relations at the college. “This grant has enabled Penn College to expand offerings in mechatronics, which features a skill set highly prized by so many employers. We thank PPL for its continued commitment to hands-on technology education and to our ‘tomorrow maker’ students.”

“PPL is pleased to be part of the solution for a growing industry need,” said Tracie L. Witter, regional affairs director for the Allentown-based energy company, which has been a Penn College corporate partner for more than three decades. “By helping to purchase these trainers and components, PPL is further serving our customers (residential and commercial) by enabling more students to learn the vital skills necessary for a meaningful career and to help fill the skills gap.”

Selecting from a range of training accessories in a mechatronics lab at Penn College is Thomas J. McClung, an automation engineering technology: mechatronics student from Orefield.
Selecting from a range of training accessories in a mechatronics lab at Penn College is Thomas J. McClung, an automation engineering technology: mechatronics student from Orefield.

Penn College has developed programs to address the skills gap in mechatronics, including two- and four-year degrees, as well as pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs offered by its Workforce Development department. For more, visit the websites for the School of Engineering Technologies and Workforce Development at Penn College.

The median salary for mechatronics engineers (with four-year degrees) in Pennsylvania is $92,050, with a top salary of $145,550. For mechatronics technicians in Pennsylvania (those with Level 2-4 mechatronics apprenticeships or two-year degrees), salaries range from a median of $49,620 to a high $70,300. For Pennsylvania mechatronics workers with a Level 1 mechatronics apprenticeship, salaries range from a median of $37,670 to a high of $69,360.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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