Sierra College and Harris & Bruno Fill Manufacturing Skills Gap

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Sierra College student Markus Fredrickson learns skills in Mechatronics classes at Sierra College and immediately applies them on the job at Harris & Bruno International with support from the Sierra College STEM Collaborative that connects high schools, colleges and employers to fill the Advanced Manufacturing skills gap.

Sierra College student Markus Fredrickson wires an electrical panel for a pumping system in the Circulator Department at Harris & Bruno International.

With industry support, the Sierra College STEM Collaborative works with innovative instructors to transform education and prepare students for Advanced Manufacturing careers.

Markus Fredrickson just started his second semester at Sierra College in Rocklin, CA and is working part-time as an Assembly Shop Assistant at Harris & Bruno International using the skills he gained from taking Mechatronics classes. Working with Sierra College, Harris and Bruno is helping to close the skills gap in the Sacramento region by training Advanced Manufacturing technicians who can work in high wage local jobs.

Fredrickson reaped the benefits from the efforts of the Sierra College STEM Collaborative to bring business and educators together to train students to work in design, engineering, manufacturing and product development.

“What I am doing at work right now is exactly what I learned in Sierra College Mechatronics classes,” said Fredrickson. “I can name all the components and follow the drawing to place them in the correct place on the electronic control panel. What I am learning in school really prepares me for this work.”

This parallel between the classroom and workplace is intentional according to Leandra Wilson, Director of Strategic Operations & Human Resources, Harris & Bruno International. “Employers serve on advisory committees for Sierra College programs,” said Wilson. “Mechatronics and engineering faculty members take our feedback and incorporate workplace skills into the curriculum. They listen to our needs and we see the results when we hire technicians from Sierra College.”

Harris & Bruno International produces the most automated and reliable coating and inking systems for commercial printing presses worldwide at manufacturing facilities in Roseville, CA. Growing a local technical workforce is part of the corporate culture at Harris & Bruno explained Wilson. “We are committed to working with educators to teach young people the needed skills and to provide opportunities for successful careers in manufacturing in Placer County,” said Wilson.

To make employment attractive to students, Harris & Bruno recruits in the technical classes, makes work schedules flexible and offers rotations in a variety of departments. “We work around the students’ schedules; they can work on the day, night or weekend shift part-time,” said Wilson.

“It takes more time and effort to work with students but the effort is worthwhile because many of them stay on through university and after graduation. They can use what they learn at college in different departments and we help them match their abilities to positions that can shape their career paths.”

Harris & Bruno also participates in National Manufacturing Day, offering student tours with help from the Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT). While attending Oakmont High School, Fredrickson toured Harris & Bruno with the Design and Engineering class. “When I saw what employees were doing at Harris & Bruno, I thought that maybe I could do that kind of work,” said Fredrickson. “At that point in high school, I didn’t really have a career goal. The tour motivated me to go to Sierra College and study Mechatronics.”

Fredrickson’s experience exemplifies the goal of the Sierra College STEM Collaborative according to Carol Pepper-Kittredge, CACT Director. “With industry support, we work with innovative instructors to transform education and prepare students for Advanced Manufacturing careers,” said Pepper-Kittredge. “Dedicated community partners, like Harris & Bruno, are essential to making the connection between school and employment.”

About Sierra College STEM Collaborative

The Sierra STEM Collaborative is funded by California Community College Chancellor’s Office, to create a pipeline of students interested in technical careers. Students can pursue Welding, Mechatronics, Engineering, Energy Technology and Drafting & Engineering Support at Sierra College. For information, go to or contact Carol Pepper-Kittredge, Sierra College at (916) 660-7801.

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Sue Michaels

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