Lorain County Community College (LCCC) is the first community college in Ohio to deliver a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in microelectronic manufacturing (MEMS), as well as an Associate of Applied Science degree in microelectromechanical systems. The applied bachelor’s degree received approval from the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission and classes began in October 2018.
These degrees are industry tailored, hands-on college degrees focused on training students for careers in printed circuit board manufacturing, microelectronic hardware, and biomedical industries. Graduates of the associate program find employment as engineering technicians, manufacturers, and lab techs, and bachelor’s degree graduates will gain employment as process engineers, manufacturing engineers, and team lead/supervisors. Microelectronic manufacturing is an interdisciplinary field that combines mechanical and electrical engineering technology with science, mathematics, and communications. This emerging advanced manufacturing field helps companies make products and processes “smart” by embedding sensors and micro electromechanical systems.
The LCCC MEMS associate degree program started in 2013 with three students. Six years later, more than 40 students are currently enrolled in the associate and bachelor’s degree programs. More than 45 companies in Ohio support the program.
The associate degree and bachelor’s degree curricula are designed with an Earn & Learn model that allows students to gain work experience while completing paid internships with industry partners. Students are often offered full-time employment at their internship site upon completion of their degree. By utilizing the Earn & Learn model, the MEMS program boasts a 100 percent job placement rate.
Johnny Vanderford, asstistant professor of MEMS and director of the Microelectronics Institute, said “Earn & Learn is the key here at LCCC. Students can attain affordable degrees and careers in an exciting and highly in-demand field, our industry partners provide feedback to our degree content so they have a talent pool of trained manufacturing workforce ready to help their company grow, and LCCC bridges the gap between industry and education.”