MAT2 Program at Baker College Now Offers Option for Non-Sponsored Students
August 18, 2020
MAT2 apprentice Trajan Reina at Swoboda Technologies in Grand Rapids.
Baker College is currently enrolling students for its sixth cohort of the Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2) Associate of Applied Science in Mechatronics apprenticeship program. The program is a hands-on educational and apprenticeship program that has students alternate between classroom instruction and on-the-job training to prepare them for careers across the manufacturing industry. Students gain experience across a range of skill sets such as welding, machining, programmable logic control, robotics and more.
The fall 2020 cohort will have 10 students, including six students who are sponsored by four different industries, and four non-sponsored students who will be paying tuition. These students may be sponsored at a later date after they complete work periods.
The new cohort joins two others that are still taking classes -- one with 14 students and one with 16 students -- for a total of 40 MAT2 students this fall. Although many Baker College classes are being delivered online this fall, MAT2 students will be in the lab working in small groups of eight or fewer students for several of their required classes.
Baker College’s revised MAT2 Mechatronics program remains a cohort model with work-school requirements but now will also be Financial Aid eligible because it meets all requirements of following a full-time schedule and includes more than 30 weeks of school each year. This enables Baker College to choose to offer the program to employer-sponsored students as well as open it to traditional tuition-paying students beginning in fall 2020-21.
The program has also been modeled after a more traditional associate degree program with 63 credits, reduced from 76. Competencies from classes that were removed have, in most cases, been added to remaining classes that are being rewritten to maintain the rigor of the program.
Having the tuition-paying model available this fall will provide Baker College a good alternative to sponsored positions as industries are currently more reluctant to sponsor students as they work through the difficulties of reopening after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Details of the new, revised program will include:
63 credits, including three 1-credit WRK work experience classes – one in the first year, one in the second year, and one in the third year.
Program for non-sponsored students to include:
One 16-week semester in fall 2020
Six 8-week school terms and six 8-week work periods (optional for non-sponsored students) (summer sessions will be 6 weeks beginning in 2021).
Sponsored students will still follow the original MAT2 model, being employed by industries that pay their tuition, wages, and stipends and require commitments from students to continue working for the company for two years after graduating from the program.
Non-sponsored students will be provided work opportunities and be encouraged to work during the work periods.
The program will remain an “apprenticeship.” It was recently approved in its new format by the MAT2 Strategic Steering Committee at the state level.