HFC hosts Mexican delegation at M-TEC Center 

DEARBORN — Henry Ford College hosted nine delegates from Mexico at an “Educating the Global Workforce: Michigan and U.S. Perspectives” presentation Sept. 18 at the HFC M-TEC Center.   

The event provided the delegation with the critical success factors in education to establish such a program with manufacturers in Guanajuato, Mexico. The delegation was led by Guanajuato Gov. Miguel Marquez and Hector Lopez, secretary of Economic Development, and included business development officials and members of the Mexican media.

A major focus of the HFC presentation was a discussion on new partnerships required between educators and companies to create the successful Michigan Advanced Technician Training program. More than 20 MAT2 students were in attendance to learn more about the common issues facing global manufacturers with regard to workforce development.

Representatives from Ford Motor Co. and Thisse & Associates in Grand Blanc also attended the presentation.

MAT2, which is lead by the Michigan Economic Development Corp., combines paid-work experience with three years of classroom and structured work experience in the fields of mechatronics, information technology and technical product design.

Companies that hire MAT2 candidates pay wages, college costs and provide educational stipends for the students who participate in the program. The state-wide MAT2-Mechatronics initiative is a new effort — manufacturing employers across the state support employed students and colleges in an educational program that combines industrial electrical, mechanical, hydraulic/pneumatic, robotic and controls technology in a holistic, integrated systems approach. 

Mechatronics technicians have the skills to maintain complex manufacturing systems across many industries.   
 
The MAT2 program continues to generate national and international attention. Some of the states seeking more information include Illinois, Ohio and Tennessee. Germany and the Mexican state of Guanajuato have expressed interest in learning more as well.
 
During Gov. Marquez’s visit, the delegation toured HFC’s M-TEC Center, which is a 30,000-square-foot specialized facility, built for training, retraining and updating job skills of employees. While on tour, the group saw state-of-the-art, cutting edge Ford Motor Co. production technology for the F-150 Launch Team. The lab was developed by HFC and Ford Motor Co. as a future regional center for manufacturing skills education. 
 
“MAT2 is a unique pipeline for the new technological worker,” said Gary Saganski, HFC MAT2 program director and associate dean of the HFC Industrial Technology division. Saganski and Dr. Reginald Witherspoon of the MTEC served as the host and facilitator of the HFC contingent, which included Instructor Guy Pizzino of Machine Tool Technology and Mark Siedlik of Automation and Robotics Technology.
 
HFC is only one of a few community colleges in the state of Michigan equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities for mechatronics available through the MAT2 program. It combines state-of-the-art training facilities with actual work site experience to give students a solid skills-based education. Students alternate between the classroom and the workplace, gaining marketable skills and valuable knowledge.
 
To learn more about HFC, please visit www.hfcc.edu.