Construction has begun on Baker College of Jackson’s new engineering building, which will support the projected increased demand for engineering talent by employers in the Jackson area. It will open for 2016 fall quarter.
The stand-alone, 14,266-square-foot building on the Baker College of Jackson campus will offer high-tech classrooms and approximately 8,000 square feet of shop floor for students pursing Baker College’s current manufacturing programs as well as programs added to meet local employers’ needs.
Baker College of Jackson currently offers a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, associate degrees in mechanical technology, advanced manufacturing technology and computer aided design, and a certificate in computer numerical control (CNC) machinist.
Steve Simpson, Ed.D., Baker College of Jackson president, noted that a Baker College System market analysis projected growth in the engineering and manufacturing sector in the Jackson area and identified local student interest in related careers.
“Manufacturing is strong in the Jackson area, and it is expected to grow in the near future,” Simpson said. “With this new engineering building, we will be able to help more students gain the educational qualifications and knowledge necessary to meet the demand of local employers. The additional space can accommodate projected enrollment increases.”
As part of a recent market scan conducted for Baker College by Gray Associates, Concord, Massachusetts, five of the top 20 careers noted for growth and stability were in the engineering and manufacturing sectors. Industrial and mechanical engineers were ranked third and fourth, respectively, as the most needed job groups in the state.
Specifically for the Jackson area, the research showed stability and growth in electrical and industrial engineering, which were supported by inquiry interest and job opportunities. Engineering and manufacturing-related trade programs were also identified as being in demand by students in the Jackson market. Nine of the top 20 employers in the region have a manufacturing and engineering focus.
The new engineering facilities will provide the space and equipment to add new programs related to industrial engineering and electrical engineering.
With the addition of the new building, students in the various programs will be able to collaborate in the design, building and testing of products. Hands-on training will be emphasized, facilitated by media- and technology-rich classrooms and state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment.
New or expanded labs will include material science, manufacturing, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, fluid dynamics, physics and computer-aided design.
“Some of the new machinery will be put to immediate use with our mechanical engineering students who will be among the first to complete the bachelor’s program, now in its third year,” said Simpson.
Lab equipment will include CNC and manual 2-D lathes and 3-D mills, Haas CNC control simulators, belt sanders, saws, MIG (metal inert gas) and TIG (tungsten inert gas) welders, and other equipment to test and prove the creation and design of products.
Many of the courses will be held in the evenings, which will be helpful to students who work during the day. The campus is pursing partnerships with high schools and technical centers for use of the facility during the weekdays.
Also important to the engineering programs is ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Inc.) accreditation, which is in process for the Jackson campus and the Baker College System.
The architect on the new engineering building project is AE Designs Solutions LLC, and the general contractor is Cunningham Construction Co. Both are headquartered in Jackson and are members of the Jackson Commercial Contractors Association. Many of the subcontractors are also expected to be association members.
For more information about engineering and manufacturing programs at Baker College of Jackson, contact Dan Smith in the admissions office at email@example.com or 517.788.7800, or visit www.baker.edu