Engineering Technologies Degrees at work
Aaron Kneisley, Marion Technical College and Honda
Aaron Kneisley knew in high school that he wanted to do something creative. “I was always fascinated with art and robotics. Both of these classes allowed me to work with my hands. Under my own imagination, I could build and manipulate the world around me,” he said.
This love led him to Marion Technical College where he is currently pursuing a degree in Electro-Mechanical Engineering. He credits the Vex Robotic Challenges, Ritch Ramey, RAMTEC Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering Coordinator, and Ridgedale High School for helping him to get on this track. Aaron took several Early College classes at MTC while still in high school that got him ahead of the game. Because of a partnership between MTC and Honda, Aaron has a job at Honda Engineering North America, Inc. in Marysville waiting on him when he graduates. “When I receive my degree from Marion Technical College, I will be starting full time for Electrical Manufacturing at Honda Engineering."
The partnership is fairly new for Honda and MTC. Jeff Davis, Equipment Engineering Unit Manager, works at the East Liberty facility. He explains, “We have struggled to fill several positions in our engineering group when trying to find engineers that wanted a more hands on position rather than a desk related, design function, type job.” It was then that, Ritch Ramey got involved and mentioned some students at MTC that could fit the need, but they had not graduated yet. Davis was opened to “trying out” these students while they complete their degree. “I thought this may be a plus, we could hire them under contract while they complete their degree, a good arrangement for both of us,” he said about the partnership. “It gives Honda a chance to see how they work out and gives the student great experience and a chance to see if this is the type of position that they are interested in.” He added.
Kneisley agrees that it is a win, win. “I’m happy with the path that I have taken. A two year degree has allowed me to gain experience faster for the work force. With the Honda partnership, I have also experienced more hands on learning, which is invaluable – and I already have a great job after graduation.”
Davis is very pleased with the students in the partnership so far. “We are 3 months or so into the program and they are doing very well. We challenge them with elements outside of their degree to help them become more diverse, and in turn, more valuable as an engineer. They are very eager to learn.”
Davis stresses the need for 2-year degree engineers. “On the manufacturing side of Honda there is a need for the 2 year candidate because of the hands on component,” he stresses. He adds that sometimes it is not so much what you have learned but the ability and readiness to learn which makes the partnership even more valuable for all parties. “MTC students come to us ready to learn,” he adds.
"This is one of several examples of how Honda is partnering with local community colleges." said Scot McLemore, Manager of Honda North America Technical Development. "In two year technical degree programs, students learn how to apply their technical knowledge through hands-on lab applications. This is an important source of skilled technical talent for Honda and our suppliers."
The successful results of this effort are a great example of a partnership that meets the needs of our communities.