Demand for Industrial Maintenance Mechanics Leads to New Program

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VC_demand_industrial_maintenanceResponding to national, state, and local needs, Victoria College is beginning a new Industrial Maintenance Mechanic Program this fall at VC’s new Emerging Technology Complex.

Domingo Villarreal, VC’s Industrial Programs Director, said there is a need for industrial maintenance mechanics, millwrights, and general mechanics in different industries, based on local, state, and national projections. These job titles often require similar competencies and are sometimes used interchangeably.
An industrial maintenance mechanic repairs, installs, adjusts, and maintains industrial production and processing machinery or refinery and pipeline distribution systems.

While similar in work duties to an industrial maintenance mechanic, a millwright is tasked with setting up pumps, repairing generators, and replacing hydraulic systems.

According to the most recent U.S. Department of Labor career outlook, employment of industrial maintenance mechanics is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. There are 152,500 job openings projected during this timeframe. The need to keep increasingly sophisticated machinery functioning and efficient will drive demand for these workers.

The new two-year program leads to an Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Maintenance Mechanic. VC also offers noncredit Workforce & Continuing Education millwright courses, which can lead to a nationally recognized certificate.

The first Industrial Maintenance Mechanic class is expected to include between 16-18 students. Classes will be taught in one of six high-bay training labs at VC’s Emerging Technology Complex and will include state-of-the-art equipment and a complete learning system with multimedia and hard-print curriculum.

“Students in this program will gain solid skills – they will know basic electrical, understand centrifugal and positive displacement pumps, and how to safely use a hoist and a crane,” Villarreal said. “They will have a broad-based knowledge and hands-on experience that they can use in many different industries.”

- Eric Jensen

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Focus On:
Industrial Maintenance Mechanics

What They Do:
Industrial maintenance mechanics repair, install, adjust, or maintain industrial production and processing maintenance or refinery and pipeline distribution systems.

How Much Does It Pay?
$30,000 to $76,000 annually

Job Outlook
In the Crossroads region, there are 880 industrial maintenance mechanics employed. This number is expected to increase by 13.9 percent over the next four years.

Education & Training
Millwright Training Courses
Industrial Maintenance Mechanic Certificate
Associate of Applied Science degree

Source: emsi Career Coach 2015

New Instructor Wants to Share Real-World Experiences

After working more than 35 years in the industrial sector, Troy Wratislaw is ready to share his experiences with Victoria College students enrolling in the new Industrial Maintenance Mechanic Program. This program begins in the fall at VC’s Industrial Training Center, part of the new Emerging Technology Complex.

Wratislaw was hired April 1 as the new Industrial Maintenance Mechanic Program Instructor.

p07_VC_Troy Wratislaw

Troy Wratislaw

“This looked like a fascinating opportunity that sparked my interest,” he said of his new job at VC. “It has all the possibilities I thought it would.”

He previously worked at Strobel Starostka Construction in Refugio, a sand transfer plant for fracking. Prior to that, he worked for Flowserve in Houston as a field service technician. Also in his career, Wratislaw was a machinist for Alcoa for nearly 16 years, working daily with pumps.

“I worked at Formosa for five years as an industrial maintenance mechanic, also known as a millwright,” he said. “Before that, I worked more than 13 years at Dow Chemical-Freeport as a machinist millwright and went through their apprenticeship program.”

He learned his craft at Texas State Technical College in Waco, where he studied Machinist Shop Operations.
As a full-time worker, Wratislaw gained valuable teaching experience when asked to give on-the-job training for new hires and apprentices.

“At just about all the places I’ve worked, I’ve been asked to help train,” Wratislaw said. “At Alcoa, we had people in the industry who had worked in different plants but had never seen equipment particular to Alcoa.”

He credits former supervisors and coworkers who trained and helped him over the years.

“Those are the guys who made it possible for me to succeed in my career,” he said. “I want to pass that knowledge along to future generations.”

To those considering the Industrial Maintenance Mechanic Program, Wratislaw said it is a wide open field.

“At any level you come in, it is unlimited,” he said. “It all depends on how far you want to go.”

Wratislaw lives in Port Lavaca with his wife, Sherry, who is a retired respiratory therapist. In his spare time, he enjoys getting out in his kayak for some saltwater fishing.

- Eric Jensen

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