JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – Jackson College is preparing to train the next generation of advanced manufactures. It’s a project leaders say has been years in the making.

“There’s a lot of demand for skills that were not in demand before,” said Department Chair for Professional Trades, Eddie Burkhead.

That need is what Burkhead hopes to begin to meet as an instructor in this newly renovated 13,500 square feet of teaching space. It’s part of a mock smart factory that will soon be full of students.

“Looking at not just doing a particular job, but also seeing how the entire factory operates and that’s what we’re trying to teach. How all these different skills come together,” said Burkhead.

It’s training that’s set to include everything from robotics, automation and engineering to programming, mechanical work, trouble shooting, and virtual welding. It’s a space experts like Albert Rossner say is built for hands on learning in skilled trades that he says continues to evolve with technology.

“Especially in this county there is so much different types of manufacturing going on. The key to it is getting the skills, so that you can get those higher paid positions and we are really looking at accelerating careers. That’s what we are trying to do,” said Industry 4.0 and Manufacturing Faculty, Albert Rossner.

The school says there are multiple curriculums for various career pathways. Burkhead hopes this becomes one of the go-to spots for curiosity and creativity on campus.

“It’s super exciting because I am a life-long learner and I want to inspire that in students, so I love that we are always changing and growing and doing new things.”

Most of the equipment is portable. The college says that allows them to take it to places like other local schools and other training events.