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BCC Now Offers Associate Degree in Mechatronics

Berkshire Community College (BCC) has been approved by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and the New England Commission of Higher Education to offer an associate of science degree in mechatronics, a field that combines industrial machinery operation and maintenance skills with 21st-century automation electronics and robotics. The new degree will be available in fall 2023.

Students enrolled in BCC's newly created Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) certificate program may "stack" credits towards a degree. Essentially, students can complete the AMT certificate in one year, followed by a second year in mechatronics, and graduate with an associate degree.

This is an exciting development, because a two-year mechatronics program can now be finished at BCC without the need to transfer to another institution. It will give our graduates marketable skills in high demand by a diverse range of industries, both locally and nationally. The mechatronics program fills a niche in the workforce, because as baby boomers retire, there are not enough skilled technologists to replace them.

José R. Colmenares, Assistant Professor of Engineering

Jose R. Colmenares

Colmenares added, "At BCC, we are committed to guiding our graduates to a rewarding, solid career without incurring significant debt and allowing them to finish their studies locally."

The AMT segment, which is supported by the Commonwealth's Workforce Skills Capital Grant Program, includes classes such as Computer Aided Drafting/Design and Engineering Computer Applications. Second-year classes include Elements of Machines and Hydraulics and Pneumatics, along with a capstone project completed in partnership with the Berkshire Innovation Center. Students gain hands-on experience in BCC's Science Commons, which includes a state-of-the-art pneumatics lab, electronics lab and technology space.

"A degree in mechatronics is perfect for people who like making things or playing with gadgets, electronics and interesting equipment, and are not necessarily attracted to the heavy calculus focus of traditional engineering programs," Colmenares said, noting that the mechatronics program is an ideal academic path for those seeking a stable career in industries such as automation and manufacturing.