By Ted Wilinski
In the fall, MATC started a BAS program, Automated Building Systems (ABS). As with most technical colleges, this program required the input and support of local industry to develop and promote. The program was developed, lab space built out, and classes rolled out in less than a year.
ABS was set up to target entry-level technicians in three markets: 1) Contractors/installers, 2) Property Management firms, 3) Facility Owners. It is a two-semester program with 25 credits spread out over 11 classes. Classes rotate between evening and daytime slots to allow those currently working to complete the diploma on a part-time basis in two years.
Instructional space consists of two rooms, each about 25’x45′, one a classroom and the other the lab. There are two different digital lighting control systems (WattStopper & Crestron), a heat pump, furnace w/economizer, PTAC, and five VAV-AHU Trainers with DDC controls (Metasys with plans to duplicate with EasyIO). The small space is augmented with a large (roughly 4725 SF) HVAC lab down the hall, so having a small lab and classroom is not a hindrance.
It is constantly being revised to work out the kinks and adjust to industry needs. We have been seeing that the night work-load for many is heavy so the industry is asking that we scale back on content and focus on basics more. We are in the process of reducing one class (networking) from 4 to 2 credits as a result of their request and will be looking at more as time goes on.
Last spring, May 2017, three students graduated and all have jobs. One of the students reported multiple offers around $50,000/year. Currently, there is a cohort of six going through the program with four expected to graduate.
The biggest challenge is finding students and programming instructors. We have been marketing to all the usual groups but it is taking time to build the program. I am being told that it takes a good three years to get the numbers up.
Ted Wilinski, BEST Center Co-PI and Automated Building Systems & Sustainability Instructor, ECAM || MATC