Clark College targets manufacturing, region’s needs

"At 22, Jordan Mazi is still studying for his mechatronics degree at Clark College. But he’s already got a job.

Mazi, who was drawn to the “hands-on work” the program offers, is doing maintenance and repair work on wafer manufacturing machines for Linear Technology in Camas. It’s the kind of success story that highlights the growing demand for skilled workers in 21st century manufacturing sectors.

Clark College has singled out these types of programs in its Academic Plan, a five-year look at how the campus plans to grow programs and improve its curriculum. The Academic Plan, which was adopted in April, points to six goals for the college through 2020.

It’s not exactly an easy read, filled with academic jargon that may mean little to an average student or stakeholder at the college. But one of the plan’s chief goals — a desire to “align program offerings with regional workforce and community needs” — lays the foundation for the college to work with industry leaders and economic development groups to develop programs with jobs in mind. Many of these jobs are in manufacturing sectors, such as Clark College’s welding program, which recently began offering certification testing at a cheaper price than private test administrators.

Tim Cook, vice president for instruction at Clark College, said those relationships are an “informal process,” but are allowing the college to make an investment of time and energy into improving programs with companies in mind..."