Four of the students in the college’s Electronics, Robotics, and Automation (ERA) program have formed a bond that will carry them through the coming year (or two) as they train for employment.
Each of the four comes from a different background but all are optimistic about a successful job hunt in their field. The four, Nick Walker, Darrell Delph, Gabriel Lopossa, and Paul Pullman, are first and second year students who share a common outlook and purpose.
“Automation and the electronics behind it will offer a lot of jobs,” said Delph, a 1990 Olympia High School grad. Delph has a long history of working different jobs, mostly in the trades.
“I see this (ERA) as adding another skill set. I can build almost anything when it comes to housing and this program makes sense. I’ll be able to do more. This program covers the systems I want to know. One thing I really like about this program (he’s in his second year) is that it’s hands-on. We’re doing things in labs that people already working in the field are doing. That’s important, it’s great training.”
Then there’s the issue of jobs. “There’s no doubt in my mind that getting a job will not be a problem,” Pullman, a Tumwater High School graduate who is in his first year in the ERA program, said. “Intel is building new plants and they will need people. Intel will be looking for people to fill their plants. Centralia College has a partnership with Intel and when they hire, we’ll be ready.”
Pullman was a Running Start student and attended New Market Skills Center where he got his first look at robotics. After high school he had had enough schooling and felt it was time to take a break and went on a church mission to Mexico for two years. When he returned he looked to his passion in robotics as a logical career path.
“It’s something that stuck with me. I had heard about the (ERA) program at Centralia College. People were saying good things about it,” Pullman said. “And I think there are going to be good jobs.”
Gabriel Lopossa and Pullman were close friends. “Paul came to me on a Friday and said we were going to school on Monday (the first day of fall quarter classes at Centralia College). That looked like the best of the options available so the two enrolled.
Lopossa had been trying to get a job as a music teacher but things were not opening up. “I know things will turn around for me in (ERA). It looks like so many things are and will be automated. This will be a great skill to have,” said Lopossa. “The jobs will be there and we will be making money.”
Walker is a 2002 WF West High School graduate. He agrees that companies, such as Intel, will continue hiring. He reflected that Intel is putting money into new facilities in Oregon and other states and will continue to hire people to work in them.
“I’ve taken computer and some other classes. I have a broad base education and have a broad spectrum of skills. I have eight months until I need to have a job. I’m not too worried.”
Meanwhile, the four, along with other first and second year ERA students will be getting a closer look at the robotic arm (in the photo on page 25) that will be used as a standard training tool. The arm is a relative new-comer to the college and requires certification before it becomes functional. That certification is expected to come soon. The robotic arm was donated by Cardinal Glass.