At Central Lakes College, we have a lot of great partnerships with industry and businesses throughout the state. Today, we’re highlighting one: Delkor Systems, packaging equipment providers.
Delkor has hired a staggering 25 students who are graduates of the CLC Robotics/Automated Systems Technology Program.
What’s more: Patricia Andersen, VP of Human Resources and Training at Delkor, serves on the Advisory Board for our Robotics Program. Each year, Delkor invites students and faculty to tour its facility. The company also makes presentations at the Staples campus on a regular basis and conducts on-site student interviews for candidates who are interested in participating in their Machine Builder Internship Program. The three-month paid internship is a great way to pair classroom curriculum with a relevant workplace experience and it typically leads full-time employment at Delkor.
Hear from two CLC grads on why they chose both the Robotics Program and Delkor:
Years you attended CLC: I attended CLC from 2014-18. The first two years I was there I was there as a high school student getting my A.A. Degree, then once I graduated high school I went into Robotics for the last two years.
City you live now: I live in New Brighton in the Twin Cities. I moved from Brainerd down to the cities early 2018.
Talk about your experiences at CLC: I didn’t do much for the first two years I was there at CLC, but once I joined Robotics, I joined Student Senate, Robotics Club, and I was the student aid to Nate Peterson (second year robotics instructor). I did many activities under Student Senate, as well as volunteered for them: Thanksgiving dinner for students, a Halloween party for the students, the Easter event for the kids in Staples. I also volunteered my time with the Brainerd First Robotics Team (which is a high school robotics club where students would build a robot and take it to competitions). During the summer of 2017 I helped with SEaM camp (a camp held by CLC robotics for kids in middle and high school). I also helped when the Staples campus would host open houses for the programs. Overall, I had a pretty fun time while at CLC. The people were great and I have a soft spot for the Staples campus.
Talk about your CLC instructors and class lessons. The first year is getting the basics down: how to wire things, how electricity works, how motors work, the basic understanding how a robot works, programing etc. Once I started working on my second year project is when things started to really click and everything came together.
Why did you choose Robotics at CLC?: When I was in high school I wanted to be an engineer or go into computer science, so with that in mind I joined my high school robotics team. Every year we would have a kickoff and it would be held at the CLC Staples campus. In 10th and 11th grade I didn’t think too much of it but once I was in 12th grade I took a tour around the school and was astounded by the Robotics Program. It also helped that I had a couple friends that were in the program at the time and were telling me what they did in school. I was told of the high job placement and I was sold on the internship that happens towards the end of the program. I loved the hands-on aspect as well and it seemed like a perfect fit for someone like me.
Why did you choose Delkor?: I chose Delkor because since I was a little kid I wanted to live in the cities. I was also looking at companies that were smaller and more family owned since I like the feeling of knowing everybody. I’m a service technician here.
Advice to other students who are thinking about going into robotics: If you have the ambition and the drive, you can get far with just a two-year robotics degree. If you like to work with your hands and learn how to get things running with the added benefit of working with industrial robots, then the program is perfect for you.
What do you like about your job?: I love traveling to different plants and fixing a machine that isn’t working correctly. I also like setting up the machines back in shop and going out on the installs. The people are great and even with the hardships of deadlines or just bad days, I can still say that I love what I do.
Years you attended CLC: 2002-04
City you live now: Andover
Talk about your experiences at CLC: Experience was great! Instructors were knowledgeable and classes were very hands on.
Talk about your CLC instructors and class lessons: Both of my instructors are retired, but they were very knowledgeable and really pushed you to figure out answers on your own versus giving you the answers. The instructors and class lessons were really setup to make you successful in your professional career. My interaction with the current instructors is they foster the same mentality as my instructors did which is great!
Why did you choose Robotics at CLC?: I always liked and had interest in electronics and technology and had a good idea where the future of automation was heading. I heard CLC had the best Robotic and Automation course in the 5 state area and wanted to pursue it.
Why did you choose Delkor?: I choose Delkor because after meeting the management, touring the facility, the importance of culture, the way they ran their production floor, and their vision for the company really stood out among the other companies I interviewed and toured at. My current title is AMS Technical Support Manager, but I was a Service Technician for many years and held a couple different roles before I took on this job.
Advice to other students who are thinking about going into robotics? Go for it! Getting a degree in robotics or any type of automation opens endless opportunities for you with good paying and secure jobs. Anything from being a service technician to working with or at factories (any and all types).
What do you like about your job?: New and ever changing technology! At Delkor, we are always pushing ourselves to come up with new and innovative ways to supply our customers with machines that meet their needs, whatever that may be, so our machine base is ever expanding and always something new to learn.
Anything else you’d like to add?: Anyone looking at going to college should really consider going to tech schools and don’t fall for the perception that you have to have a four year degree to make good money and have a good career. There is a huge demand for quality technicians in all industries.