Posted by John Ester on May 07, 2019
Mark Lagerwey, Associate Director of Business Development at Baker College (and President-Elect of the Rotary Club of Cadillac), described the programs developed by Baker in response to changes in the world of employment.
Baker is a private institution and a university--a rarity in northern Michigan--with nine campuses throughout the state. While its student body has declined in the last ten years, baby boomers are retiring at a record pace, resulting in a huge skills gap in northern Michigan.

Some 17% of jobs in Michigan are in manufacturing. But these are no longer assembly line jobs;  they are jobs requiring a skill set. To address the skills gap the state, in partnership with higher education and employers, developed Michigan Advanced Technician Training.  MAT-squared involves a three-year apprenticeship in which students alternate between classroom instruction and paid on-the-job training. Employers pay the tuition, while students commit to two years of employment after they receive their associate's degree.
Mechatronics is the most successful of Baker's MAT-squared programs. It involves a combination of electrical, mechanical and electronic skills used to identify, analyze and solve systems-based problems. Mechatronic technicians should have no difficulty finding suitable employment.