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Marion Technical College is being recognized on a national level after receiving a nearly $500,000 award to create a new manufacturing program. 

According to a news release, the National Science Foundation awarded MTC a $477,868 grant to create a new Smart Manufacturing program. Smart Manufacturing is a growing field that uses networks of advanced sensors, data analysis, information technology and communications technology to increase manufacturing automation and improve performance. The program is aimed to help graduates gain new skills for in-demand jobs. 

“We are excited to have our first grant from the National Science Foundation,” said MTC President Ryan McCall in the release. “This will help our students and our community stay competitive.” 

The new grant will fund $170,870 in new equipment, new classes, as well as a new associate degree and two new certificates in Smart Manufacturing. The grant will also provide professional development opportunities for college instructors and local high school teachers interested in teaching engineering.

Students who decide to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Smart Manufacturing will have to complete a capstone project that allows them to use their knowledge in real-world situations. MTC will offer the first pilot courses in the Smart Manufacturing degree in January, while the degree will be available as a major in fall 2021.

Local industry partners supporting the grant include Festo, POET Bio-refining, OhioHealth, RobotWorx, Custom Glass, Liqui-Box, Wilson Bohannon Lock Company and Whirlpool. Educational and community partners include Marion City Schools, Marion CANDO!, Mt. Gilead High School, North Union High School and Riverdale Local Schools.

“It is exciting to help our students position themselves at the forefront of this new field,” said Elizabeth Azhikannickal, Interim Director of Engineering Technologies at Marion Tech. “Industry is constantly changing and our students will have the advanced manufacturing automation experience that employers need.”

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