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VOLT to bring specialized tech training directly to students
VOLT Institute instructor Daniel Lord demonstrates the Power and Control Electronics unit, equipment that will be part of the institute's Volt-n-the-Go initiative to bring technical training directly to the students (JOE CORTEZ/The Journal).

Having placed more than 100 graduates into the workforce, VOLT Institute in Modesto is ramping up plans for a new program that will make it even easier to access specialized technical training.

A $1.2 million grant awarded about a year ago from the Economic Development Administration will allow Volt Institute to create the VOLT-on-the-Go program, which brings training directly to students, as opposed to students having to travel to Volt headquarters for instruction

“This grant has a six-year life and this will allow us to purchase 92 pieces of equipment for VOLT-on-the-Go,” said Tina Newton, VOLT’s program manager for marketing and outreach. “One of the reasons we’re doing VOLT-on-the-Go is to get into underserved communities. Not everybody has access to a car, not everybody can easily get to Modesto.”

VOLT-on-the-Go will be available via Turlock Adult Education beginning in 2024.

“We’re working with Turlock Adult Education on putting one of our Certified Production Technician Plus classes as part of their curriculum,” said Newton. “It’s an entry-level class and it’s nine weeks long. We just have to supply the instructor and the equipment.”

Founded in October of 2017 as a joint venture of Opportunity Stanislaus and the Stanislaus County Office of Education, VOLT Institute was created at the urging of local private business that reported a need for a technically skilled workforce. Nearly 150 businesses partner with Opportunity Stanislaus to make this training available. 

VOLT’s Industrial Maintenance Mechanic program is an eight-month, self-paced training program, designed to provide hands-on training on industrial systems and equipment. Seven of the 55 current VOLT students are from Turlock.

The curriculum guides students through the proper installation, repair and maintenance of fasteners, machine tools, pumps, mechanical drives, pneumatic systems and hydraulic systems, as well as safe welding, torching techniques, electrical theory, mechanical circuitry and programmable logic controllers.

And many of these skills now will be able to be taught on the go.

“Each of these units concentrate on certain aspects of industrial maintenance control,” said instructor Daniel Lord during a demonstration of the power and control electronics unit. “This one in particular is looking at … how you provide power to the various instruments that you might be using.”

VOLT is even providing students with soft-skills instruction, such as supervisory skills, job interview skills and résumé building.

“We not only want to teach students how to win a job, but once you win it, how do you keep the job,” said Newton. “We’re going to take it down to some very basic skills. We can teach anything and give you the right aptitude, but you also have to have the right attitude.”