Ogeechee Technical College is one of only five colleges in the country selected so far by online retailing and technology giant Amazon as a provider for its Mechatronics and Robotics Apprenticeship, or MRA, program, OTC officials acknowledged this week.
Amazon is sending apprentices to the program here from various states. The first cohort of apprentices arrived in March and recently completed their training. A second group is now at the college.
“We are extremely excited to be selected as an MRA training site for Amazon,” Ogeechee Tech President Lori Durden said in a media release. “Our division of Economic Development worked tirelessly to secure this opportunity, and I couldn’t be more proud of what they have accomplished. Now, it is time to deliver.”
Registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, Amazon’s MRA program gives individuals an opportunity to apply for an apprenticeship that will train them on industrial maintenance skills and the technical knowledge needed to fulfill a technical maintenance role with Amazon.
12 weeks + 1 year
Apprentices who complete the program can make more money and acquire the skills necessary for better career opportunities and higher wages, at no cost to them, the announcement states. Their wages can increase by up to almost 40%, according to Amazon.
They receive 12 weeks of instruction and take four certification exams during their time at Ogeechee Tech. Upon successful completion of the course, apprentices begin a year of on-the-job learning with Amazon under a journeyworker who has mastered the required skills.
After their year of on-the-job learning, the apprentices are eligible for a full-time role as a mechatronics junior technician.
Apprentices in the program both work in an Amazon facility and are assigned to a college, referred in the release as a “higher education training partner.” The other four “training partners” are located in Indiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.
So, Ogeechee Tech adds Georgia to the list of states supplying partner institutions to Amazon for the MRA program.
“It is quite an honor to be chosen,” OTC Vice President for Economic Development Jan Moore said in the release. “We are confident that we will do a great job. We have experienced staff, phenomenal facilities and support throughout the college. We are excited to get started and will do everything in our power to ensure the apprentices are successful.”
“We expect apprentices to arrive from different parts of the country,” added Moore, the former mayor of Statesboro. “In their downtime, I hope that they will take the opportunity to enjoy what Statesboro and Bulloch County have to offer.”
Among big players
Some of the other partner institutions are much larger than Ogeechee Tech, which enrolls about 2,100 students each semester. Wake Technical Community College, known as “Wake Tech,” in Raleigh, North Carolina, serves more than 70,000 students annually, according to its website. Its Amazon MRA program debuted in January.
“I feel the quality of education that we deliver, across the board, is as good as any technical college in the country, and I think our selection is indicative of that,” Moore said when asked about the program.
Earlier this month, the Savannah Economic Development Authority announced that Amazon will build a 640,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Chatham County. It is expected to be complete in the second half of 2022 and to employ 1,000 people. The company already has a delivery station at Port Wentworth and has operated a tent warehouse in Effingham County.