Lorain County Community College collaborates with Panasonic for next-gen manufacturing professionals
About Lorain County Community College
Founded in 1963, Lorain County Community College has been offering local students the training and education needed – from workforce training, short-term certificates, and degrees– to successfully enter the professional world, post-graduation. Through LCCC’s University Partnership, students can earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree from 14 Ohio universities and colleges or take part in the college’s own Bachelor of Applied Science in Microelectronic Manufacturing – the first program of its kind offered at a community college in Ohio.
The college’s bachelor’s program offers students an industry-tailored curriculum with hands-on training around printed circuit board design, assembly and prototyping. Building off the college’s associate degree program in the same field, the bachelor’s degree program also helps students develop their knowledge in electronics, soldering, PCB drafting, GD&T, six sigma quality, lean manufacturing, and chemical processes in PCB fabrication.
In an effort to educate students on how to run a full, evolving manufacturing line, LCCC educators and industry partners provide hands-on applications, from soldering, to use of surface mount technology, to guidance on operations and programming. Real-time work being done in the school’s lab with Panasonic’s equipment matched with internships and apprenticeships, the college’s program equips students with the right skills to enter the booming electronics manufacturing industry in Ohio – and across the nation.
LCCC doesn’t only train undergraduate students in preparation to enter the workforce for the first time, however. Through the school’s training institute MERIT (Manufacturing Electronics and Rework Institute for Training), its educators are able to work with companies to help retrain and reskill their current employee base, giving employees the unique opportunity to learn new skills, up-level their current skillset, and move into higher mix roles across the manufacturing line. MERIT offers non-credit training programs to award certificates of completion to those looking to continue or refresh their skills.
Finding skilled workers in the manufacturing industry is an ongoing challenge, making education, training and reskilling programs critical to ensuring the successful future of this great industry. Lorain County Community College (LCCC), a public community college in Elyria, Ohio with a student population of 13,000, is working with Panasonic and other manufacturers across the country to make sure the industry has a strong, sustainable pipeline of skilled workers for years to come.
In 2013, LCCC created a new associate degree program of Applied Science in Mechatronics covering topics around printed circuit boards, and the design and development of manufacturing technology and processes. With the backing of eight companies who understood the importance of ushering in a new generation of the microelectronics workforce (with college degrees) to replace outgoing or retiring trained experts, the program successfully started. In 2018, after five successful years, LCCC became the first community college in Ohio to offer a bachelor’s degree of Applied Science in Microelectronic Manufacturing, an expansion of the associate degree focused on high-volume printed circuit board manufacturing.
After a robust search of current technology options, LCCC chose Panasonic’s SPG screen printer and NPM-W2 placement platform to utilize in their lab. In 2019, the equipment was installed, and the college was able to offer hands-on training using modern equipment in advanced manufacturing. The program continues to produce outstanding results, with 80% of current students gaining real-world, hands on experience through co-ops with over 70 local employers, while 100% of graduates have been hired into the industry.