Their journey started three years ago and now the first cohort of Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2) students are college graduates with associate degrees in Technological Sciences. The MAT2 program combined college-level learning with real-world experiences at a company.
All 17 graduates are educationally debt-free, making $20-25 per hour, depending on their company, and are expected to stay with their sponsoring company for at least the next two years, filling needed jobs in a tight market. According to Oakland Community College (OCC) Director of Technical Programs and Apprenticeship, Janene Erne, “This group excelled exceptionally well with an average GPA of 3.41, many with perfect attendance for all three years.”
The July 13 celebration at the capitol was held for this first graduating class and included legislators, business executives and college administrators recognizing the time, effort and talent of all involved in the successful educational program.
“The schooling program taught me the theory but when we applied it on the job everything started to click and make sense,” said OCC MAT2 student Saskia Nicklish. Nicklish was placed with Kostal, an electronic and electro-mechanical product manufacturer. She started as an apprentice and was recently promoted to a test lab technician. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Wayne State University to become a test lab or mechanical design engineer.
Companies invested in the students’ training by paying tuition, a school stipend and wages during the work period and, in return, the companies have apprentices who perform like regular employees, spending less on recruitment, retention and re-training.
“MAT2 is a transformational program for community colleges as it provides competency-based education that is immediately reinforced on the job. They are all hardworking, bright students who were motivated to complete the program and graduate,” added Erne.
Oakland Community College offers MAT2 programs in mechatronics and information technology. If you are an employer, student or parent looking for more information on the MAT2 program, please visit http://www.mitalent.org/mat2 or call OCC at (248) 232-4050.