Sierra College Mechatronics Program Featured at International Conference in China


In November 2018, Tony Osladil, Mechatronics Professor, Sierra College was chosen by the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE to represent the United States at the “International Conference on Science of Intelligence and Learning Revolution” held in Hangzhou, China.

The conference was hosted by Zhejiang University with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Entrepreneurship Education Network National Chapter in China and the internet company Netease. Osladil’s travel and participation were fully underwritten by sponsors so that he could present innovative education models from the United States at this multi-national conference.

He was joined by Dr. John Short from Southern Maryland College who was also chosen by NACCE, explained Osladil. “It was an honor to be selected by NAACE; we were two of only three people from the United States at the conference,” said Osladil. “There were representatives from multiple countries in Europe and Asia such as Croatia, Denmark, Vietnam, Korea and China.”

Professor Osladil described Sierra College’s two-year Mechatronics program that offers certificates as well as an associates degree. “Our program offers a project-based, systems-oriented education to produce world-class automation technicians and engineers,” said Osladil. “Embedded in the program are opportunities to apply entrepreneurial skills as they innovate, troubleshoot and seek ways to solve problems for consumers and businesses.”

The United States and the rest of the world face a severe shortage of skilled automation and robotics technicians, explained Osladil. “The demand for skilled Mechatronics technicians continues to grow as more automation is integrated into our infrastructure and business processes every year,” said Osladil.

Osladil indicated that not only was his presentation well-received, he gained valuable perspectives from the other presentations and international partipants. “There was a focus on applying entrepreneurial principles to students’ education in preparation for careers,” said Osladil. “Along with the traditional definition of entrepreneurship, we discussed extending entrepreneurial principles and mindsets to a broad range of careers and education. Preparing students for the future includes emphasizing 21st-century skills such as lifelong learning, innovative business practices and integration of technologies such as artificial intelligence.”

To meet the increasing need for skilled technicians, Sierra College’s Mechatronics program teaches automation skills using an experiential and systems-based learning model.  “With our advisory committee input, we emphasize industry-defined key skills,” said Osladil. “In the lab, students design and fabricate actual systems similar to those used in the workplace. Conference attendees were very interested in how Sierra College so effectively produces graduates with an innovation mindset, ready to work effectively with their co-workers in the rapidly growing and evolving field of automation and robotics.”

California manufacturers are snapping up Sierra College Mechatronics graduates, according to Mike Bell, Deputy Sector Navigator for Advanced Manufacturing for California Community Colleges in the Far North Region. “Employers are impressed by the students’ advanced skills in design and troubleshooting,” said Bell. “Sierra College’s Mechatronics program is known for producing high-quality, work-ready technicians with hands-on experience in robotics and automation as well as team, communication and documentation skills.”

For more information about the Mechatronics program go to the website

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