ECPI University Press Releases: ECPI University

ECPI University Looks to Bridge Manufacturing Skills Gap

Charleston’s First Mechatronics Program Will Help Develop Skill Sets Unique to Advanced Manufacturing Environment

Charleston, SCMechatronics. It’s a name that many find unfamiliar but it encompasses a specific set of skills that many Charleston manufacturers say they urgently need. Simply put, mechatronics is a blend of all the professional disciplines used in today’s advanced manufacturing environment – computer information systems, electronic and mechanical engineering technology, and control systems.

The good news is that Charleston’s manufacturing sector is growing. The challenge for employers, however, is finding enough employees with the skills required to do the jobs. According to the SC Department of Commerce, South Carolina has recruited more than $19 billion in capital investment resulting in more than 64,000 new jobs in the manufacturing sector between 2008 and 2013.

In addition to these new jobs, other vacancies are occurring because many existing employees in this sector are expected to retire soon. According to census data, approximately 20% of South Carolina manufacturing employees are eligible for retirement in 5-10 years.

“The employers spoke and we listened,” says ECPI University Charleston Campus President James Weaver. “We engaged all the region’s major manufacturers in a discussion. They all agree that Charleston needs a mechatronics program. A student with this kind of degree can be ideally suited to work in today’s highly-technical manufacturing environment.  Gone are the days of hot, dirty factories filled with unskilled manual laborers. They’ve been replaced with robots, computers, and programmable logic controllers. Skilled professionals are needed to manage all that.”

ECPI University’s Bachelor of Science Degree in Electronics Engineering Technology with a concentration in Mechatronics will focus on core areas such as:

  • Applied Mechanics
  • Programmable Controllers
  • Hydraulics and Pneumatics
  • Testing and Measuring Instruments
  • Computer Hardware and Software
  • Materials Science
  • Analog/Digital Electronics and Communications
  • Automation and Control Systems
  • Computer Programming Networks
  • Microcontrollers

For more information or to schedule a campus visit, contact Charleston Campus President James Weaver at 843.414.0350 or jweaver@ecpi.edu. To learn more about ECPI University, please visit www.ecpi.edu.

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Chesterfield Resident Finishes College in 2 Years

Dual-Enrollment/Accelerated Program Helps Criminal Justice Grad Start Her Career in Half the Time

Richmond, VA – First she wants to be a police officer, then it’s off to the FBI. At least that’s the plan for Courtney Strain. The young Chesterfield resident is certainly ambitious. She began her college career when she was still in high school through Chesterfield County Public Schools’ Dual Enrollment Program with ECPI University.

Between her early credits and attending ECPI University year-round, she was able to graduate in just two years with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. Attending school for two straight years with no breaks was certainly demanding but it has paid off. “My parents are very proud of me for all of my hard work and diligence to get through this program,” says Courtney. “They are very much my support group. They can't believe how fast the time went by and honestly I can't believe it either.

“My experience with ECPI would not have been the same if it wasn't for the faculty and the amazing students I got to know. We all lean on each other and push each other through when we get burnt out. This program can be challenging but when you have professors giving you positive feedback and friends sharing the same experiences, it refuels my fire and drive to keep going.”

Graduation will be held on Friday, June 13 at the Siegel Center, located at 1200 W. Broad Street in Richmond, Virginia beginning at 1:00 pm. For more information, please contact ECPI University Director of Communications David Brandt at dbrandt@ecpi.edu or 757.404.2032.

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Thomas Cevora: A Portrait in Perseverance

2014 Graduate with MS Serves as an Example to All

Virginia Beach, VA – Thomas Cevora has always been a man of action. An Army veteran, he went to work on tug boats after leaving the service. From there, he moved to rail cars. Fourteen years ago, a clock started ticking and he knew at some point that a physically active life would no longer be his to enjoy. Thomas has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). That fateful day he long feared arrived three years ago. “When I resigned from the railroad, I just didn’t know what to do with myself,” says Thomas. “Everybody said I should go on disability but that just wasn’t for me. I have to be doing something.”

Using Vocational Rehabilitation through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Thomas decided to go back to school. Despite being hospitalized on a couple of occasions, he persevered. Now, he’s preparing to graduate this Saturday, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer and Information Science with a concentration in Web Development. “I discovered a great deal about myself these past three years,” says Thomas. “First, I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. Sure, I need a cane and, sometimes, a wheelchair, but I have developed mental strength. Second, I have an even stronger wife! She would never let me give up. We came close to losing everything. We barely held onto our house, but we always held on to each other.”

While Thomas is excited to move on, he admits he’s a bit nervous. In addition to graduating, he and his wife are planning to move to a cooler climate up north because heat aggravates his MS. “ECPI University has been like a second home to me. The faculty has been so great, especially Ms. Lanae Harris. She has been an inspiration. Whenever I needed a boost, she was always there with a ‘you can do it!’ And the best thing is: I did do it. I’ve applied for a graduate program with Microsoft. I’ve got my own web design business up and running which is a great source of pride. Each time I finish a website, I know that anyone in the world can type in that web address and see what I built.”

Graduation will be held on Saturday, May 31 at Chrysler Hall, located at 215 St. Pauls Boulevard in Norfolk, Virginia beginning at 5:00 pm. More than 400 graduates are expected to participate in the ceremony. For more information, please contact ECPI University Director of Communications David Brandt at dbrandt@ecpi.edu or 757.404.2032.

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