WSCO Instructor John Burgardt demonstrating the Universal UR3e robot for Electrical Engineering Technology student Callie McMillin. This is just one example of the robots that will be used with the new Robotics & Mechatronics program.

MARIETTA, OHIO (May 9, 2019)— In response to growing industry need, Washington State College of Ohio (WSCO) is launching a new Robotics & Mechatronics associate degree program this fall. The new program blends mechanical and electrical engineering with robotics and control systems to form an interdisciplinary program that maximizes transferable skills. Through robotics courses, students will learn automation, coding, machining processes and computer programming used for programmable logic controllers (PLCs) which run manufacturing lines.

“These skills can prepare students for careers in engineering and beyond,” said Jesse Roush Executive Director of Workforce Development and Corporate Partnerships at WSCO. “With a heavy focus on mechanical engineering, students receive the unique opportunity to learn robotic diagnostics and servicing in addition to automation that is common to other robotics programs,” stated Roush.

Once reserved for manufacturing lines, robotic automation of manual efforts has moved beyond just production manufacturing into material handling systems, healthcare, and other markets as a means to handle high-volume, repetitive tasks while limiting human error.

According to Ohio Means Jobs’ list of in-demand occupations, 27% of associate degree level positions that are currently in high demand fit under electrical and mechanical engineering with favorable anticipated job growth over 10 years. These changes mean engineers must be able to not only design and create robots but also understand the programs used to automate tasks.

During the design of the new program, faculty and division leaders toured numerous facilities and spoke with industry-leading experts who helped identify the skills-gaps they often find. John Burgardt and Blake Downer, two faculty members leading the program, also attended training on the new robotics equipment at the Michigan Technological University.

“The Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) grant has enabled us to purchase two state-of-the-art robots for the program’s start this fall,” said Sarah Parker-Clever, Vice President of Academic Affairs. Earlier this year, a major employer in northeast Ohio donated a robot that will be used for hands-on training in equipment servicing. “This lets our students learn new skill sets that are growing in demand while getting transferable mechanical and electrical experience,” Parker-Clever explained.

The College is currently enrolling students in the new Robotics & Mechatronics program for the upcoming fall semester. For more information, contact the Admissions Office at 740.568.1900 or

For more than 45 years, Washington State College of Ohio has provided residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley the opportunity to realize dreams, to enhance skills, and to broaden understanding. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or an adult student looking to move your life in a new direction, Washington State has the classes to suit your needs. For more information about Washington State College of Ohio, visit or call 740.374.8716.