By Gabe Gesing, 2022 Mansfield Campus Graduate and Student Worker; Special to 1812Blockhouse
As industries and their practices change, so too do the employers’ workforce needs. The highly automated nature of modern manufacturing has led manufacturers worldwide to look for a new type of engineer. They are looking for employees with leadership, technical and problem-solving skills who can apply these to the engineering process. These candidates should have a desire to lead others and learn how things work.
To help meet this need, The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering has created a program that offers a solution for manufacturers and an opportunity for students. Held at regional campuses like Ohio State Mansfield, the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology Program (or BSET) works to create business-oriented leaders to run the factories of tomorrow.
This past spring marks the end of the program’s third year since its inception during the autumn semester of 2020. Ohio State University awarded the Manufacturing Foundation Certificate to a total of sixteen students with two being from the Lima campus, five from the Marion campus and nine from the Mansfield campus. This certificate represents an important steppingstone in the completion of the BSET program.
“As a non-traditional student with 10 years of experience in manufacturing, I can almost directly relate the classes in the BSET program to a person working in my plant. Many upper-level managers are knowledgeable in some areas, but not in others. The courses in this degree fill the gaps that can cause points of failure in an organization,” said Zack Ernest, a third year BSET student and recipient of the Manufacturing Foundations certificate.
Creating the program
Educators and employers saw the lack of this new generation of engineers in central Ohio and the Richland County area. They then began creating BSET to educate interested students and encourage them to stay and use their talents here.
“There’s a gap, there’s a need in the community…” said Professor Amber Rader, engineering technology and computer science lecturer at Ohio State Mansfield. “… We are going to meet that need with these graduates.”
The Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology Program was created with the needs of the industry in mind. The Ohio Manufacturing Institute studied federal statistics on the manufacturing industry and spoke with industry focus groups based in Ohio. They also sought the input of global manufacturers like Whirlpool. This resulted in the only application-based, hands-on, non-theory program at the Ohio State University College of Engineering. And students can receive it right here in central Ohio.
“I hope that students will start hearing about it and seeing that opportunities exist here, and they may even be better opportunities…,” said Rader.
Curriculum and Joining
The program lasts four years and requires 121-123 credit hours in the curriculum, not counting hours spent on general education. Topics include materials science, electric circuits, C++, industrial robotics, safety/ergonomics, chemistry, math, and physics. The leadership component is similarly robust and covers topics like project, operations and change management as well as interpersonal communication skills, bringing the needs of people into the equation. Students will learn to solve problems and conduct business analysis on local and global scales.
Engineering students conduct hands-on lab work in state of-the-art facilities. They also have significant opportunities to earn experience outside of the classroom. They can participate in undergraduate research and intern with local businesses. They can join nationally recognized organizations like the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the National Society of Professional Engineers, or the Society of Women Engineers.
“For me, the most significant part of this program is the hands-on component for topics that aren’t just learned out of a book, but actually applied,” said Ernest.
Interested students can join BSET as soon as they are admitted. Current students interested in joining the program can contact academic advisor Lyndsey Anderson at 419-755-4362.
When students graduate from the program, they will be ready to enter the workforce. Graduates can seek out positions in control and automation organizations or at firms as consultants. Manufacturing plant positions include manufacturing engineer, operations supervisor, process improvement leader and more. Additionally, engineering technology graduates earn average salaries of $80,000 to $87,000.
“They are going to be in high demand because they are actually engineers equipped to hit the ground running,” said Rader.Source: OSUM; Photo: 5 of Mansfield’s 9 students who received certificates in the BSET program attended the annual Graduation Celebration on the Mansfield Campus, pictured here with instructors Dr. Amber Rader and Dr. Wenfei Li | Photo: B.L. Bishop Photography, 2022