Leeward Community College is now accepting students in its newest academic program, Integrated Industrial Technology (IIT), with classes beginning in January. The program offers a two-year associate in science degree and related certificates and will prepare students for a wide range of careers such as manufacturing and electromechanical systems technicians in industrial automation.
The most prominent emerging career path that this degree addresses is the electromechanical systems technician positions that will operate and maintain the complex train control systems for the Honolulu rail transit system. According to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART), Ansaldo Honolulu intends to employ a substantial workforce of more than 120 employees, including electronic and electro-mechanical technicians and systems integrators.
“The day for rail operations is fast approaching,” said HART Executive Director and CEO Andrew Robbins. “HART appreciates the effort Leeward Community College is making to offer a degree that will aid in the development of a local rail workforce.”
Integrated Industrial Technology program development
The program was developed in consultation with representatives from industry and the community in order to meet the workforce needs of an emerging industrial technology industry.
Leeward CC formed a working group with HART and its train operations contractor Ansaldo Honolulu in 2013 to discuss the future skills needed for the operations and maintenance division of the Honolulu rail system. This degree program is a direct result of the working group. Additionally, the state of Hawaiʻi has a large “small manufacturing” industry that relies on highly trained technicians and systems integrators to ensure the plants run safely and efficiently. As more and more systems are automated, particularly in food manufacturing, the need for graduates with the IIT degree will grow.
According to William Labby, IIT program coordinator, “With the rapid and widespread use of industrial automation and control systems in a variety of industries, the need for highly skilled technicians demands that their educational foundations are based in engineering principals. It is incumbent that the engineers and technicians of the future speak the same language.”
This degree program bridges career technical education and the sciences; it is a STEM pathway degree offered through the math and science department.
The college offers a dedicated laboratory facility for the IIT program, including a fully functioning controls laboratory. This program will be offered in a blended on-campus and online format allowing flexibility for incumbent workers to enhance their skills, and earn a degree. The program will also provide a clear structured pathway for both full- and part-time students.
The campus will be holding an informational session on the degree program and career path options as well as a tour of the control systems laboratory on November 28 at 5 p.m. For details on the information session and more on the IIT program, visit the Leeward CC IIT website.
For more information about the Integrated Industrial Technology Program at Leeward CC contact: William Labby, program coordinator via email or call (808) 455-0688. Or Heather Takamatsu STEM counselor via email or call (808) 455-0443.