JACKSON — The new engineering building at Baker College’s Jackson campus is officially open, providing a state-of-the-art learning environment for students preparing for careers in manufacturing.
Invited community members toured the technology-rich classrooms, laboratories, and shop floor of the 14,266-square-foot building at an open house Nov. 10.
“This engineering building provides an exceptional place to teach and learn,” said Steve Simpson, Baker College of Jackson president. “It embodies our commitment to training and educating workers to support manufacturers throughout southern Michigan, particularly in the Jackson-area’s robust manufacturing market.”
The Jackson campus offers bachelor’s and associate degrees and a certificate program that provide training in design and manufacturing. The new building adds space for students in the various programs to work collaboratively on designing, building and testing products.
“In addition to the 8,000-square-foot lab shop floor, there is equipment in every classroom, making every classroom a lab,” said Sanjib Chakraborty, Baker College of Jackson director of engineering education. “This connects theory with practical application on a daily basis.”
There is equipment for studies in manufacturing, material science, statics and solid mechanics, physics, fluid dynamics, heat exchanger/heat transfer, computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing. This equipment includes CNC and manual lathes and mills, Haas CNC control simulators, belt sanders, grinders, saws, MIG (metal inert gas) and TIG (tungsten inert gas) welders, color 3-D printers and other equipment to test and prove product design.
Most of the courses are held in the evenings, which is helpful to students who work during the day. The campus is pursuing partnerships with high schools and technical centers for use of the facility during the weekdays.
The stand-alone building was proposed following an extensive statewide market scan conducted for Baker College that showed five of the top 20 careers noted for growth and stability were in engineering and manufacturing. Industrial and mechanical engineers were ranked third and fourth, respectively, as the most-needed job groups in the state.
In the Jackson area, the research showed stability and growth in electrical and industrial engineering. These fields were supported by inquiry interest and job opportunities. Engineering and manufacturing-related trade programs were also identified as being in demand by students in the Jackson market with nine of the region’s top 20 employers focused on manufacturing and engineering.
The Jackson campus offers a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, associate degrees in mechanical technology, advanced manufacturing technology and computer aided design, and a certificate in computer numerical control (CNC) machinist. Simpson expects to add bachelor’s degrees in industrial and electrical engineering in the near future. Both are already offered at Baker College’s Flint campus.
The new building’s architect is AE Designs Solutions LLC; the general contractor is Cunningham Construction Co. Both are headquartered in Jackson and members of the Jackson Commercial Contractors Association. Many subcontractors are also association members.
Baker College is a not-for-profit higher education institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Founded in 1911, Baker College grants doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees, as well as certificates in diverse academic fields including business, health sciences, engineering, information technology, education and human services. Baker College has campuses in Allen Park, Auburn Hills, Cadillac, Cass City, Clinton Township, Coldwater, Flint, Fremont, Jackson, Muskegon, Owosso, Port Huron, and Reading, Pa.