Clover High school will offer new technical training programs in manufacturing beginning this fall, in response to a need among local employers for highly trained workers.
Clover High’s Career and Technical Center will launch “mechatronics,” which combines industrial and mechanical skills with computer programming and controls.
Clover Assistant Superintendent Sheila Huckabee said the program will prepare students for “the new face of manufacturing – a clean, high-tech environment. Skilled manufacturing is taking hold in South Carolina, and that is a new and growing field.”
Clover’s program, approved last month by the Clover school board, will be seeking at least 30 students to enroll in the curriculum sequence when it begins in fall, Huckabee said.
Huckabee said mechatronics focuses on the integration of mechanical, fluid, electrical and thermal systems; instrumentation; electronics; robotics; computer components; and control systems.
“It’s the intersection of a host of different technologies that students learn, and it makes them very adaptable, very flexible,” said Robert Johnson, director of Clover’s career center.
Huckabee said the program is ideal for students who have an interest in science and technology, have well-rounded skills and prefer to be on the production end of technology instead of design and planning.
The program is intended for those who don’t plan to pursue a four-year degree, she said.
The program, designed to be completed over four years with one course each year, will include four one-semester courses.
The course sequence begins with Introduction to Engineering and Industrial Technology and will be followed by three consecutive courses, called Mechatronics I, II and III.
Huckabee said Clover is looking to find or hire a teacher who has the necessary technical knowledge to lead the program. “I do think finding the right person is going to be a key,” she said.
The first-year startup cost includes $75,000 for a teacher and about $106,000 for equipment, plus consumables and repairs, she said. Equipment would run about $45,000 the second year, she said, and should be covered by a federal grant by the third year.