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Industrial Maintenance Technicians in Demand


IMT PhotoEmployers are looking for skilled industrial maintenance technicians and Olney Central College can provide the training needed to attain these high-demand jobs.

According to the Illinois Network for Advanced Manufacturing, businesses across the state are expected to hire 30,000 industrial maintenance technicians this year alone. Nationwide, an estimated 600,000 positions will need to be filled by the end of 2014.

Refineries, power plants, manufacturers and even hospitals need technicians with mechanical and electrical training to keep their facilities operating.

“It is an underserved prosperous career and jobs are out there for our graduates,” said Allan Alldredge, OCC’s Coordinator of Career Services. “Today’s IMT jobs are very high-tech. Now everything is computer-operated.”

With so many employment opportunities, Alldredge said the IMT Program is ideal for recent high school graduates or individuals looking to retrain for the job market. Those already working in the field can increase their chances for advancement and higher salaries by completing the program’s three certificates, which can lead to an associate’s degree.

Salaries for industrial maintenance technicians can range from $27,309 to $85,785 depending on geographical location and experience, he added. The average annual income is around $72,000.

James Hildebrand, of Flora, had previous experience working with hydraulics, which led him to consider a career in the field.

“This is something that has always interested me and it seemed like a good idea,” he said of his decision to enroll in the program. “It’s a career that provides a good income with a job I can enjoy.”

The IMT courses are designed to prepare students for employment and advancement in today’s technologically advanced industrial workplace. Portions of the curriculum are online and include virtual lab simulators. Most of the IMT classes are hybrid courses, which allow students to complete some coursework at home or in the computer lab while still maintaining face-to-face contact with the instructor.

During the program, students study fluid power pneumatics and hydraulics, relay control, motor controls and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

“I like working with my hands and the IMT Program seemed like something that would fit me well,” said student Brandon Blackford, of Olney. “I like how diverse the program is. It covers so many things from hydraulics and pneumatics to HVAC. It is a really good program to get into if you like the maintenance field because there are a lot of job openings. I would definitely recommend it to others.”

During the program, students gain hands-on experience working with the electrical and mechanical trainers, which allow students to simulate tasks they will perform in the real world.

Michael Earp, of Olney, enrolled in the IMT Program after completing OCC’s Welding and Cutting Certificate. “I wanted to further my education and I thought this would get me ready for a better job,” he said. “Education is what’s important.”

Earp especially enjoys the program’s labs and hands-on experiences, which are preparing him for the challenges he will face in the workplace.

“I really like using all the new trainers,” he said. “I really think this, along with my welding certificate, will help me get where I want to be.”

OCC’s Industrial Maintenance Technology Program is currently accepting new students. Those wishing to enter the program are encouraged to meet with an advisor as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment, call 618-395-7777.

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