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SkillsUSA Nationals and the Growth of Interest in Manufacturing Careers

Published July 30, 2007


During a recent MEC Steering Committee meeting Tony Glenn, Educational Specialist for the Nebraska Department of Education, remarked that the MEC was having a favorable impact on the enrollment and interest in industrial technology programs in the Nebraska.  The quality of the MEC program and its relevance are gaining recognition in secondary education systems. 


Through their participation with MEC, eight high schools have either purchased or are in the process of purchasing additional lab equipment to enhance their instructional capabilities using Mechatronics curriculum.


MEC participant schools and students are growing in their ability to compete at a national level.  Not only did the SkillsUSA Mechatronics competition enrollment increase in participation by 50 percent, the level of skill required to win grew.  Aaron Kruse and Jeremy Henry, recent graduates of Columbus High School won the high school division of the Nebraska SkillsUSA Mechatronics competition in March.  They trained with MEC staff for two days in June prior to attending the national competition. 


Aaron and Jeremy were rewarded with a bronze medal in the national competition for their third place performance.  They enrolled at Central Community College for the fall to continue their degree in Mechatronics/Industrial Technology.  Because of Columbus High School’s partnership with the MEC program, both Aaron and Jeremy have completed nearly one semester of the degree program prior to their high school graduation.


In the collegiate division, CCC students and state Mechatronics champions Aaron Brant and Bryan Korus represented Nebraska in the SkillsUSA National Mechatronics competition.  Aaron and Bryan also prepared for the national competition with two days of training with MEC staff in June.  In the national competition, the team placed ninth.


As for the fall, early indications show an increase in students pursuing an AAS degree in Mechatronics/Industrial Technology.  Many of these students are recent high school graduates who will fill future technical openings with Nebraska manufacturers.



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