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Del Mar College offering two new associate degree programs addressing automated robotic manufacturing and electrical power distribution

Article by: Rosa Linda Reynoso

Automation and the use of robots for manufacturing are growing. Even the oil and gas industry uses the technology, and a skilled workforce in the Coastal Bend to develop and maintain these systems is needed.

In the electric power and utility sector, entry-level workers are also in-demand. American Electrical Providers (AEP) of Texas has partnered with Del Mar College (DMC) to address their own workforce needs.

Beginning this fall, the College’s Department of Computer Science, Engineering and Advanced Technology will offer two new degree programs to train individuals for these industry sectors: Advanced Technology and Robotics/Mechatronics (ATRM) and Electrical Transmission and Distribution Systems Technology (ETDST). Both programs will begin with a class of 15 students per year and deliver a face-to-face classroom environment with web-enhanced materials.

The ATRM program will focus on students’ skills in computer control systems, robotics, electronics and instrumentation to meet local employers’ needs. As additional refinery plants are established, a highly-skilled workforce is essential to fulfill the job openings in automation, robotics technology and machine calibration in industrial maintenance and manufacturing environments.

“Students enrolled in this program will become highly-skilled Electro-Mechanical Technicians prepared to work on complex industrial problems related to programming, installation, repair and development of robotic manufacturing systems,” says Korinne Caruso, DMC Computer Science Instructor. “Del Mar College is ready to prepare Coastal Bend residents for a very promising future in this field.”

Only two other Texas community colleges offer a similar program—Houston Community College and South Texas College.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018) indicate that persons can expect an hourly wage of $29.71 or $61,800 per year. Labor market information regarding workforce development indicates that the demand for professionals in this field is expected to increase by about 13% over the next two years in Texas.

As one of only three community colleges in the nation and the only one in Texas, Del Mar College has partnered with AEP and developed the ETDST program to build a well-qualified entry-level workforce in the power and utility sector. ETDST professionals work in power plants as operators, distributors and dispatchers to control the systems that generate and distribute electric power.

“Our partnership with AEP is an incredible opportunity for our students. ETDST majors have the potential to be highly skilled employees for companies such as AEP upon graduation. Qualified students may have access to paid apprenticeships while they complete their studies,” notes Caruso.

The College’s ETDST students can apply for the High Voltage Power Apprenticeship, a paid apprenticeship working 15 to 20 hours a week at AEP Energy. The apprenticeship program provides tuition reimbursement opportunities, job training and $13 to $15 an hour while students complete the College’s two-year program.

Additionally, ETDST program graduates who are selected by AEP Energy for employment will enter a merit-based program with the potential to earn $60,000 after one year as a dispatcher associate, $100,000 after four to five years as a dispatcher or dispatcher journeyman and $200,000 after 25 years as a dispatcher principal.

General employment trends using Emsi Labor Market Analytics data indicate a 13.4% increase in local jobs in this field over the next two years with starting pay ranging from $26 to $38 per hour.

For more information about these two new degree programs, click on the appropriate link under Computer Science, Engineering and Advanced Technology: www.delmar.edu/degrees/occupational-programs.html.

Students can also contact the department at 361-698-1299.

Final registration for the fall 2019 semester is Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 20-21. For details, visit www.delmar.edu/registration or contact the DMC Student Enrollment Center at 361-698-1290 or enroll@delmar.edu.

Fall credit classes begin Monday, Aug. 26.


About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.