The Multicraft Technology program allows students to explore multiple facets of industrial engineering technology. Multicraft technicians combine knowledge of mechanical engineering technology with knowledge of electrical and electronic circuits to maintain, design, develop, test, and manufacture electronic and computer-controlled mechanical systems, such as robotic assembly machines.
They also operate these machines in factories and other work sites. Maintenance technicians will work independently and with other plant personnel to perform preventative, predictive and routine maintenance tasks. They will troubleshoot issues, repair failures of production and facilities equipment, and ensure maximum equipment efficiency and effectiveness.
During the initial semester of enrollment in the program, students will be required to provide proof of successful completion of or pass the National Career Readiness Certificate (WorkKeys) exam. Basic math skills are also required as a prerequisite for many of the required courses. Sauk offers developmental programs to improve students’ skills to ready them for the courses.
Many industrial maintenance positions require advanced knowledge of digital control systems as well as the skills to troubleshoot traditional analog control systems. It is not custodial work as it requires advanced knowledge of mechanical, electronic and electrical systems.
Local Job Outlook
There are many local opportunities in industrial technology and maintenance. The following are examples in the Sauk Valley area.
Industrial electricians, $51,000.
Multicraft technicians, $54,000.
Industrial automation technicians, $67,000.
A student must earn an associate’s degree in Multicraft Technology and can specialize in alternative energy, electrical, electronics, HVAC, or welding.
Instructor Story: Steve McPherson
Associate Professor of Electronics/Technology
Steve ran his own electronic service business for 20 years before deciding to go back to school to seek his master’s degree at NIU. While working on his master’s degree in electrical engineering, Steve found that he enjoyed teaching. “I enjoyed working with the students at NIU as a teaching assistant and I thought about trying it at a community college.” In 2003, he took a job at Sauk as an electronics instructor and has been at the College ever since. Teaching at Sauk allowed him the perfect opportunity to blend his true passions of electronics and teaching. “I just really enjoy teaching” and he’s Sauk’s go-to guy when it comes electronics, electricity and industrial technology. It has been a win-win for Steve and his students as he brings 20+ years of professional experience along with solid credentials.
In 2012, Steve helped develop the Multicraft Program at Sauk. A rather unique collegiate program, the Multicraft program exposes students to a diverse set of skills that are essential in industrial settings. “We created the program based off input from local industry,” he said. “They need people that can cross over from one field to another.” Sometimes this program is referred to as “mechatronics” because it involves being proficient in both mechanical and electronic skill sets.
Sauk’s Multicraft program is unique because it allows students to specialize in a number of fields while still receiving the broad training that industry is looking for. Students can specialize in electronics, electrical, welding, HVAC or sustainable energy. Local industry is interested in Sauk’s graduates too. “Weekly I get phone calls looking for someone to work for them.” Steve, an engineer at heart, said that it’s possible to “move up” by starting in the Multicraft position and moving into electronics/automation positions in industry. “That’s where the money is,” where it’s possible to make up to $90,000 annually. But “be prepared to take some math” he said.
Steve is an Associate Professor of Electronics/Technology at SVCC.