Knox Technical Center will introduce a maintenance technician program this September after a long-time need for maintenance technicians in the Mount Vernon area.
The new program lasts 640 hours (about 10 months) and goes from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. It is designed to prepare learners for entry-level industrial and facility maintenance positions.
“There's a large push in the local manufacturing sector here in Mount Vernon,” said Terry Windsor, instructor for the maintenance technician program. “They're having trouble finding people that are maintenance trained and know how to get into and work on their machines or electrical systems and maintain the facility.”
The advisory committee of maintenance leaders has shared that there’s been a struggle to find people to work on and maintain their various manufacturing industrial equipment. For the past year and a half, Windsor has seen that struggle up close.
“One of the things we're targeting is entry-level maintenance technician people that will be able to apply for and get into some of the local businesses here that are hurting,” Windsor said. “Businesses are looking for people that understand and know the maintenance aspect. Then they'll teach up their specifics for whatever that job function is in the industry the student gets into.”
Practical hands-on training in a skills lab will allow students to gain experience in basic mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical and process control systems, as well as maintenance welding and piping.
Stephanie Burson, strategic industrial manager for Vermac Industries, looks forward to seeing how the new program helps speed up the onboarding process. Currently, there are five maintenance technicians at Vermac and it takes up to two years to become fully trained.
“Our maintenance technicians are the backbone of our facility,” Burson said. “They're the ones who repair equipment when it goes down, they jump in and help employees troubleshoot their equipment when they're struggling... They keep the ship running.”
Burson and her team at Vermac Industries view the new program as a good opportunity to upskill the current workforce that could potentially be interested in maintenance positions in the future. For Vermac Industries, it will significantly shorten the training stage’s length if they hired a maintenance technician with foundational knowledge.
Upon leaving the program, students will have all the tools and knowledge they need to become certified. They will receive their National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) Certification(s) in both basic maintenance operations and basic mechanical systems.
“The program has been approved by the Knox County Career Center board of education, Ohio Department of Higher Education, US Department of Education-Title IV and by our accreditor, Council on Occupational Education. September just has to get here,” Windsor said.
The maintenance technician program will run from September 1 to June 9, 2022. Those interested must be over 18 years old, have a high school transcript or GED transcript and complete the WorkKeys skills assessment. To register, go online.