Making the list

PCC 1 of 3 schools in Arizona chosen


The Manufacturing Institute has recognized Pima Community College as its newest member of its M-list, because of what it calls PCC’s “outstanding” courses in building and construction, machine tool technology, mechatronics, and welding programs.

PCC is one of only three institutions in Arizona chosen for the M-List.

MI is an affiliate of the National Association of Manufactures and is the authority on the attraction, qualification and development of world-class manufacturing talent. MI says it is committed to delivering leading-edge information and services to the nation’s manufacturers.

The M-list recognizes 193 institutions across the country, including high schools, community colleges and universities that are educating students to industry specifications. The institutions they choose to add to the list offer students the chance to earn NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certifications as a standard part of their manufacturing education programs.

Mark Backes, instructor of the machine tool program, says he is proud to have these programs nationally recognized.

“I love this job, everyone can see my passion,” Backes said. “Everyone who knows me knows I want this program to be a premiere nationally recognized program and I won’t stop until I get there. We will keep pushing these programs and ourselves and making connections to be the best for our students.”

Backes said machine tool is an important trade that features a wide variety of jobs, and it accounts for about 20 percent of the entire U.S. economy.

“Machine tool is the king of trades,” Backes said. “Without it, no one else can do their jobs, until we’ve done ours.”

Patsy Ortega, a student in Backes’ program, credits courses like his and others in the four programs being honored for getting her employed and advancing her job.

“The job that I have now I got because of this class; it’s opened up a lot of doors for me,” Ortega said. “I’ve been given more responsibilities at work, and I am able to help other classmates due to my personal experiences.”

Mechatronics instructor Charlie Perkins also is proud to have these programs make the M-List.

“There are tremendous career opportunities for exciting, high-paying, high-demand manufacturing careers, but those careers require the right skills and training,” Perkins said. “The mechatronics program here at Pima is a great way to obtain those needed skills.”

Perkins also said a lot of people don’t really know what mechatronics has become.

“Mechatronics technicians work with both their hands and their head to build, troubleshoot and maintain automated systems that include electronic, hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical and control subsystems,” Perkins said.

William Ummel, a student in one of Perkin’s classes, said he thinks this program is run really well.

“Oh, I enjoy it, I work in the field,” Ummel said. “I’m here to advance in the field and get higher pay.”

These four programs MI honored are based at PCC’s Downtown campus. Spring registration will take place from Nov. 9   to Jan. 18, with traditional 16-week courses beginning Jan. 19.  

The other two Arizona schools that made the list are Desert Vista High School for its precision machining program with its advanced robotics course and Maricopa County Community College District for its welding, manufacturing technology, manufacturing engineering technology, precision machining and production technology programs.

Perkins said there is a huge shortage of properly trained workers in the midst of the manufacturing industry’s major developments and all of Pima’s trades programs are working together to train students properly and give them an edge in employment.

The following certifications at PCC have been endorsed with the following programs:

  • Building and construction: NCCER Core Curriculum, NCCER Electrical, NCCER HVAC, NCCER Carpentry Credit and NCCER Plumbing Credit.
  • Machine tool: NIMS MMS and Layout, NIMS CNC Operator and NIMS CNC Programmer
  • Welding: AWS D 1.1 Multiple Processes
  • Mechatronics: NIMS Industrial Maintenance

“We’re excited about our different departments working together,” Perkins said. “We feel there is huge potential for integrating our different fields of study to support the manufacturing training here at the college.”




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