MiraCosta College is set to open a Technology Career Institute in Carlsbad with student enrollment expected by January 2015. Photo by Ellen Wright
MiraCosta College is set to open a Technology Career Institute in Carlsbad with student enrollment expected by January 2015. Photo by Ellen Wright
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MiraCosta set to open North San Diego Technology Career Institute

CARLSBAD — MiraCosta Community College will open a North San Diego Technology Career Institute to train students in advanced manufacturing programs like electromechanical engineering, robotics/automation and fluid power.

The institute was approved Tuesday to lease a building from the city of Carlsbad on Las Palmas Drive.

The site will allow 775 students to enroll annually with a job placement rate of 90 percent for new students, and 100 percent for returning students, according to the city’s Economic Development Manager Christina Vincent.

The certificate program will last between 12 and 16 weeks. If all of the building updates go according to plan, the site will be ready for enrollment in January, said Vincent.

The Department of Labor provided MiraCosta the funds to start the program, according to Dr. Dick Robertson interim president of the college.

“Currently there is a shortage in all of North County for skilled technicians,” Roberts told the City Council on Tuesday. “We have received multiple visits and requests from businesses asking MCC to provide the kind of training that will fill hundreds of positions that are currently vacant.”

Tech industry specialists came to the Council meeting to voice their support for the program and to illustrate their need for skilled workers.

“The skillset is bad out there. We’d prefer to draw from a more reliable pool,” said Sean Tiller from Alphatec Spine.

Pay for the jobs that the program aims to fill start between $15 and $20 an hour, according to Director of the college’s Community Services and Business Development Lisa Kurokawa.

To get into the program, students are interviewed and tested to assess their education levels. If needed, students can get remedial education from MCC to bring their math and reading skills up to speed. The interview is administered to ensure the students are ready to start the intensive program.

“Our program is pretty intense. The level of technicians today is pretty high,” said Kurokawa. “We always do the initial interview because some people need to talk about what they really want to do. There’s been cases where we’ve noticed that (students) are just not quite ready for our program.”

The Engineering Technician Training Program is starting this fall at MCC but the program is limited by space constraints, said Kurokawa. The program will move over to the new building in January.

In order to get the building up and running, the city will spend $450,000 on maintenance. The building needs a new roof, ventilation repairs, resealing of the parking lot and a power wash for the exterior.

The college will pay just under $68,000 annually in rent, instead of the average rate of $190,000. MCC is getting a discounted rate on the space in order to fulfill its mission to add to the technology workforce base in Carlsbad and strengthen the technology sector in North County.

The Small Business Development Center, which is currently at the Oceanside campus, will also be relocated to the new building.

The city purchased the building in 1986 and it has been vacant for more than four years. Any improvements to the existing floor plan will be done at the expense of the college.