Representatives from Mid-State Technical College, UW-Stout, the Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA) and LAB Midwest shared information about a new advanced manufacturing career pathway on Mid-State’s Wisconsin Rapids Campus, Sept. 14.
September 19, 2023

New Mid-State program starts pathway to career in advanced manufacturing

September 19, 2023

A new pathway to a career in advanced manufacturing is now available to local students, thanks to a partnership between Mid-State Technical College, UW-Stout and the Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA). The pathway is designed for high school dual credit students, incumbent workers and traditional college students alike.

The first step in the pathway is Mid-State’s new Advanced Manufacturing Technology associate degree, which provides hands-on training in advanced manufacturing and automation. While completing the program, students will earn SACA credentials, then have the ability to transfer up to 84 credits to UW-Stout’s Automation Leadership bachelor of science degree program.

The partners gathered on Mid-State’s Wisconsin Rapids Campus on Sept. 14 to share information about the new pathway with representatives from area high schools and manufacturing industry.

“We are excited to establish this new opportunity for our students and build our partnership with SACA and UW-Stout,” said Ryan Kawski, Mid-State’s dean of the School of Applied Technology. “This career pathway is a great example of how we are working with partners and getting creative to make it easier for people from all walks of life to prepare for great careers in advanced manufacturing. We look forward to providing local employers with skilled advanced manufacturing graduates from within our communities.” 

Local demand for advanced manufacturing skills is only growing as Wisconsin companies continue to upgrade and streamline their operations. “People talk sometimes about automation eliminating jobs, but in this case these new technologies are creating jobs we haven’t heard of before,” said Jim Wall, executive director at SACA. “To have a young person in high school learn about these technologies and be aware of it, no matter what they do, they’re going to have a leg up as they move forward.”

Mid-State’s 63-credit Advanced Manufacturing Technology associate of applied science combines foundational coursework in the areas of electromechanical and automation systems with advanced coursework in Industry 4.0 concepts and quality manufacturing. The program includes hands-on experience with tools and equipment used to operate and program robotics, troubleshoot computer networks and interface digital logic circuits. Students will also set up, make and maintain automated systems, such as machines interacting with machines and machines making decisions (AI).

The next step in the pathway, UW-Stout’s Automation Leadership bachelor of science, is an online degree designed to meet industry’s need for leaders in digital transformation. The program prepares graduates for positions in diverse automation and digital leadership roles by providing education that complements their technical training with skills in management, leadership and quality improvement. 

“UW-Stout, Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, is proud to work with Mid-State Technical College and help support students on their higher education journey,” said Darren Ward, associate director of Transfer and Articulation. “We are committed to creating a welcoming environment for transfer students and ensuring that the credits earned transfer smoothly.” 

Mid-State will be accepting applications for the Advanced Manufacturing Technology program starting October 9.  In the meantime, those interested in the program can request information at