Mechatronics Training Prepares Hughes for Career at Robins AFB

Ever since he was a little boy, Jacob Hughes loved to take things apart and put them back together. Little did he know what started out as a fun hobby would lead to a career.

Hughes heard that Oconee Fall Line Technical College (OFTC) offered a mechatronics program. He did some research and decided that a degree in mechatronics could lead him to a career he’d love.

“Mechatronics is a field that would give me an opportunity to enhance my skills and find a career field that would have me doing things I love,” Hughes said.

“I was particularly interested in the robotics part of the program,” he added. “I’ve always wanted a chance to interact with one in person.”

He entered the program with a plan; he would obtain his associates degree and then apply for a job at Robins Air Force Base.

However, after starting his OFTC classes Hughes learned of a co-op program with Robins Air Force Base that would potentially land him that career opportunity earlier than he thought.

The Pathways Program through USAJobs is an internship-based program which provides students an opportunity to practice their technical skills in electronics or mechatronics, make money and potentially land full-time positions once their internship is complete and they’ve graduated from their college program.

Hughes applied for the program and was accepted. He now works as a general machine mechanic for the 402nd Maintenance Support Group and his job is to maintain and repair the production machines while also ensuring preventative maintenance is done.

He works every day at Robins Air Force Base from 6AM – 2 PM before coming to OFTC for class.

“The skills I have acquired at OFTC have helped tremendously with my job,” Hughes said. “Part of being a mechanic is being able to solve problems and diagnose the problem with a specific piece of machinery. OFTC has helped me hone my skills to be a better worker.”

Hughes says his instructors have given him the proper skills and training to do his job. “Problem solving is a key part of this mechatronics program and my instructor, Mr. Radney, does an excellent job of incorporating that into the course material,” he said.

Hughes is scheduled to receive his associate degree from OFTC in 2021 and says his plans are to continue working at Robins Air Force Base and to hopefully retire from there one day.

“OFTC is helping me prepare for my career by teaching me the skills I need to do my job effectively with the highest quality and pride,” Hughes said.

To learn more about OFTC, visit the College’s website, OFTC.edu.

Jacob Hughes, a Mechatronics student at OFTC, is currently employed with Robins Air Force Base through the Pathways Program.

Jacob Hughes, a Mechatronics student at OFTC, is currently employed with Robins Air Force Base through the Pathways Program.