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Creating Career Pathways for Manufacturing Systems Techs

A study and response to the food and beverage industry needs

Community colleges are challenged with designing technician education programs for occupations that are not clearly defined by a single title. To address this important national issue, Chemeketa Community College in Oregon will collaborate with food and beverage processors and processing equipment manufacturers on the development of a new manufacturing systems technician education program. The goal is to develop an industry-driven program with stackable certificates embedded in a two-year associate degree with clear pathways to employment in high wage fields and/or a baccalaureate degree. As courses are developed, the project will use a work-based learning model that allows employees to engage both in the classroom and on the job, assuring that students and employers can immediately utilize new skills and knowledge. This industry-driven project is designed to develop a prototype that will be useful regionally and nationally for addressing technician education in other areas such aerospace and technology manufacturing, both growing manufacturing sectors with large existing companies.


Current programs and courses in associate degree technician programs at the institution will be reorganized and modified to fit the needs of this cross-sector of industry partners and new courses will be created as needed based on industry-specific skill and knowledge requirements. Project activities will include conducting a DACUM (Developing a Curriculum), using the occupational analysis process developed by Ohio State University and utilized extensively in developing two-year college workforce programs. The institution and its industry partners will then design a program based on DACUM results, provide professional development for manufacturing employers and educators, and develop a clear pathway to manufacturing careers. The professional development for college educators and industry will be based on the DACUM activities and research of successful college and industry collaboration models. Because industry partners have indicated that they are increasingly incorporating automated processes and robots into production to improve quality of products and reduce costs, this project will research, develop, and disseminate curriculum to prepare workers with the skills and knowledge to set up, operate, test, and maintain these machines. The manufacturing systems technician program will have a significant impact on the students, employers, and workforce within the industry.


Charles Sekafetz, PI

Chemeketa Community College





Stephen Greco, Co-PI

Chemeketa Community College



NSF DUE 1801181