Staff Contact:

Andrea J. Burney, APR

Director of  Public Relations



Integrated Systems Technology

Todd Hobza, II, a student in Danville Community College’s Integrated Systems Technology program, works on an electronic motor drive system trainer with the assistance of Instructor Jeff Massey.

DANVILLE, VA, October 9, 2015 – Demand for industrial maintenance workers is on the rise, both in Danville and nationwide, and Danville Community College’s new Integrated Systems Technology program is meeting that need. The newly-named program, formerly known as Industrial Maintenance, has been expanded to include two tracks: the Mechanical Track and the Electrical/ Electronic Track.

“The program is very robust. It is relevant to industry needs,? says Jerry Franklin, Director of Manufacturing and Technical Services. “Students gain an understanding of mechatronics – the melding of mechanical, electrical, and information technologies to form a sophisticated system. It takes formal education to learn how to work on this sophisticated, computerized equipment. Industries are eager to hire our graduates who are trained in those technologies.?

Human resources managers at local industries agree that the DCC program is meeting their needs for qualified workers. Carl Shoemaker, Human Resources Manager at Intertape Polymer Group, says program graduates, depending on their skills and experience, are qualified for three levels of positions within the company – general mechanic, department mechanic, and electrical technician.

“The DCC program certainly fills our needs. The degree is a plus on somebody’s application,? Shoemaker says, noting that one of their recent hires was a DCC graduate.

Likewise, MaryJane Francisco, Human Resources Manager at Huber Engineered Woods in Halifax County, says her company seeks out workers with hands-on experience.

“We look for mechanics and electricians with at least two years of training,? Francisco explains. “The hardest positions for us to fill are electricians. They are in the most demand.?

Michael Russell, Regional Head, Human Capital, Americas at Essel Propack, also says his company has difficulty finding “technical talent? for jobs in the maintenance department and the operation of tubing lines. Russell adds the company has hired graduates of the DCC program, and based on the skills of the workers, he would like to hire more graduates.

Students in DCC’s Integrated Systems Technology training can earn an associate degree in one of two tracks: mechanical or electrical/ electronic. In the mechanical track, they develop skills to assemble, install, troubleshoot and service pneumatic, hydraulic and mechanical systems. In electrical/ electronic, they develop skills to install, test and troubleshoot, program, and calibrate electronic devices including robotics and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs).

“The program is a hybrid,? Franklin explains. “Some of the classes are taught on a traditional semester schedule. The technical classes operate on an “open-entry, open-exit format,? which means students enrolled in those classes study the course material at their own pace and come to campus for the hands-on portion of their training on a flexible schedule. The labs are available throughout the day and in the evening during weekdays.?

For example, Caren Garner, an electrician at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Danville, takes advantage of the program’s “open-entry, open-exit? format, by coming to DCC’s Regional Center for Advanced Technology and Training to hone her skills at times convenient for her. Garner, who is enrolled in the electrical/ electronic seeks to gain more experience with PLCs.

“The program’s self-paced classes give me flexibility, which is good because I work 12-hour, nighttime shifts. I can come in after I get off work or I can come in on my days off,? Garner says. “Because I work in the field, I am familiar with the equipment and don’t need a lot of instruction, but when I do, the instructors are there to help.?

Nationwide, the need for industrial maintenance workers is expected to grow faster than average between now and 2022, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). There will be a need for skilled workers capable of keeping increasingly sophisticated machinery working properly. According to the BLS, in 2012, the average national base salary for industrial maintenance workers was approximately $46,000 per year.

DCC student Todd Hobza, II, of Danville, soon can count himself as a highly-sought-after skilled worker in the manufacturing industry, and believes his training is preparing him.

“The program is really versatile and practical,? Hobza says. “You are learning skills that you are going to be able to use and that are in seriously high demand right now. With a lot of people in the field retiring: learning how to program using PLCs, work on electricity in motors, and work with gear systems and belt drives, and learning about hydraulics (the mechanical properties of fluids) and the devices that are used to measure how a motor operates. Our labs have several trainers that were donated by local companies, so you know you are training on actual equipment that is used in manufacturing facilities.?

For more information about the Integrated Systems Technology program, including enrolling in the program, call Jerry Franklin at 434.797.8573 or click here.. Spring classes start January 11.


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