In celebration of National Engineering Week, the Technical & Industrial division at Mid-State Technical College hosted its annual Engineering Day on its Wisconsin Rapids campus, Wednesday, Feb. 22. A record 190 high school students from 10 area high schools attended the event.
Students at the event explored high-demand engineering careers through a series of hands-on activities associated with the College’s three engineering-related programs: Civil Engineering Technology-Highway Technician, Electrical Power Engineering Technician, and Instrumentation & Controls Engineering Technology. They also learned about career opportunities and scholarships from industry experts representing eight different engineering companies. Mid-State engineering students were also interviewed for career positions or summer internships.
Stan Higby, engineering assistant at Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative, described the event as “an ideal opportunity to showcase a slice of our industry.” He noted that over the years Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative has hired five Mid-State graduates, all with strong hands-on preparation that has filled a real need at the company, adding, “Engineering Day is time well spent by everyone involved.”
An Engineering Day first, one student in attendance, Isaac Pelot (Lincoln High School), won a drawing for a $1,000 Mid-State scholarship. The award was presented by Scott Groholski, president of Point of Beginning, Inc. (POB), the event’s title sponsor. Also new this year, a $400 Minds-I Robot was donated by event speakers Renee and Matt Kirchner of Lab Midwest. The innovative and infinitely modifiable robot was won by student Dakotah Mrozek (Stevens Point Area High School).
Gary Kilgas, Mid-State’s associate dean of Technical & Industrial programs, notes that graduates from Mid-State programs associated with the engineering field continue to be in extremely high demand. “Engineers nationally are employed at a 98 percent rate, and there are more hiring opportunities in our area than graduates to fill them,” Kilgas said. “Our students are often offered employment before they graduate.”
Mid-State’s engineering program students learn in a hands-on environment using state-of-the-art equipment from instructors with significant industry experience in the fields they teach. Graduates from these programs have opportunities in a wide variety of careers, including AutoCAD/drafting technician, civil engineering technician, electrical and instrumentation technician, power plant operations supervisor, process control technician, programmable logic controller (PLC) technician, substation electrician, and survey technician.
“Contrary to common belief, you do not need a four-year degree to start your career in engineering,” Kilgas said. “Earning an associate degree from Mid-State is one of the quickest and most cost-effective paths into these high-paying, stable and in-demand careers.”