Since 2009, South Central College (SCC) has offered a Mechatronics Engineering Technology program at its North Mankato campus. Thanks to a new program, the same comprehensive instruction and hands-on experience that students get on campus is now available anywhere in the country. 

Through the college’s innovative “iMEC” distance learning option, participants take online classes taught by SCC mechatronics instructors, while gaining hands-on experience with their own mechatronics lab kit, simulations and access to South Central College’s remote education automation lab.

The field of mechatronics combines mechanical systems (mecha) with electronics (tronics), as well as fluid power, automation and robotics. Today’s high-tech manufacturing environment requires individuals with this unique combination of skills who can install and maintain a wide variety of computer-controlled systems, machinery and equipment. 

“We created iMEC for the same reason we established our original mechatronics program in 2009. Manufacturers told us they had a serious need for employees with this particular expertise, and since then, the demand for trained mechatronics technicians has only increased,” explains SCC mechatronics instructor Doug Laven. “iMEC makes this training available to anybody anywhere. Businesses can offer it to their employees at their worksite and anyone can access it from their own home if they want.” 

South Central College’s iMEC program is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The program is currently accepting applications for new students. For more information about iMEC, visit