Automation

Students in a class within the brand new Automation Engineering Technology program on the Whitfield-Murray Campus of Georgia Northwestern Technical College watch closely as a robotics demonstration takes place.

As Northwest Georgia’s flooring industry and technology-focused businesses continue to grow, the demand for trained specialists is greater than ever. In an attempt to help give these companies what they need, Georgia Northwestern Technical College is launching three new industry-focused programs to help prepare the next phase of the region’s workforce.

Launching on the college’s Whitfield Murray Campus in Dalton are the Automation Engineering Technology, Diesel Mechanic, and Flooring Production programs. These latest additions are part of a major line-up of programs to be offered in a brand new 80,000-square foot facility which opened for business this summer.

The Automation Engineering Technology program will prepare students to design, implement, commission, and troubleshoot various automated industrial processes. With plenty of training involving everything from touch screen programming, circuit analysis to industrial robotics, Automation Engineering Technology offers students an opportunity to earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree.

Automation Engineering Technology, a program directed by GNTC’s Darrell Huggins, is a field that will be taught frequently at GNTC as a dual major alongside the Industrial Systems Technology program. “So much of what our industries expect from the workforce will be found within these programs,” said Scottie Spears, GNTC Industrial Systems Technology Director. “We are seeing students from the industry already, as well as students who have no background whatsoever in the field, enrolling in these programs. We are getting to play a big role in building this corner of the workforce.”

Also new to GNTC will be the Diesel Mechanic program. This path will train students to inspect, repair, or overhaul buses and trucks, or maintain and repair any type of diesel engine. Students can earn a diploma or certificate in the program offered at GNTC as they prepare for careers in the diesel equipment service and repair profession. The diploma can be earned in three semesters of study on the WMC.

“This program is going to help properly train many techs to fill positions in a region where trained diesel technicians are really hard to find,” said Sal Gonzalez, Director of the Diesel program at GNTC. “Many of our industries in Northwest Georgia have a demand for properly trained techs. We plan to help them fill that need.”

Another industrial need being filled by GNTC beginning this fall will come from the college’s brand new Flooring Production program. The Flooring Production Operator and Flooring Production Technician certificate programs have been designed in partnership with the industry. These certificate programs provide a foundation of skills that can prepare an individual to begin a successful career in the industry.

The Flooring Production Operator technical certificate of credit is available to students who successfully train in the operation of industrial equipment used in flooring manufacturing. This introductory program gives an overview of the flooring industry and prepares students for employment in a variety of positions within the flooring industry.

The Flooring Production Technician technical certificate of credit is available to students who successfully train in the basic maintenance and set-up of industrial production machinery used in flooring manufacturing. Basic skills provide for opportunities to upgrade or for entry-level employment in the industry.

The carpet industry is part of the global floor-covering industry that designs, manufacturers, and distributes products to customers all over the world. Through the years, the Northwest Georgia area has continued to be the center of the tufted carpet industry, and today, the area produces more than 80 percent of the total output of the world-wide carpet industry of over $9 billion. In addition to advanced manufacturing and logistics operations, many of the leading carpet and flooring manufacturers have also chosen to locate their global headquarters within the region.

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