Lorain County Community College rolls out special degree to fill in-demand jobs

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Posted at 11:49 AM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 17:35:39-04

LORAIN, Ohio — As of last week, more than 18,000 initial jobless claims were filed, and more than 235,000 Ohioans are still getting jobless benefits from the state.

To combat the job gap, one school in Northeast Ohio is rolling out a new degree that’s the first of its kind in our state.

Microelectronic Manufacturing, or MEMS for short, is a degree that doesn’t involve a lot of complicated math or science. Right now, companies in Northeast Ohio are asking for more graduates because they are desperate to fill jobs that can pay up to six figures.

Lorain County Community College is the first community college to offer an applied Bachelor’s degree in microelectronic manufacturing.

"It's hands-on that's a big seller with this program. And there's no calculus in this program. There's no advanced quantum level physics to it,” said LCCC MEMS program coordinator Johnny Vanderford. “Day one, we put a soldering iron in your hand, and we say, ‘here is how you build a circuit board.’”

LCCC’s first three graduated this spring are all from Northeast Ohio and they have jobs locally with opportunities for growth.

“I do work for a company out of Valley View called PCBX. It's a small company, but it basically does the same thing that we learned how to do in this degree,” said Jared Dumont. “Disney, for one, is one of our customers.

Students have the opportunity to work jobs that are part of the degree’s internship requirement and earn an income while getting on-the-job training.

"Essentially, I was working at Lowe's about six or seven years ago,” said MEMS graduate Brandon Filker. “I currently work at Kulab Corporation in Westlake. I'm an electrical assembly technician there.”

The MEMS associate degree program in addition to the bachelor’s degree program has seen 100% job placement for its graduates. Part of that success rate is because local companies helped designed it, but also because they need workers to meet production needs.

“There's a huge job market available for doing electronic manufacturing, design and development. And we're listening to what the employers' needs are,” said Vanderford.

LCCC is currently registering students for summer classes in the MEMS program. Click here to learn more.

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