Festo Learning Center Midwest – Grand Opening Celebration

On October 14, 2016 Festo Corporation celebrated the Grand Opening of its new Mason Regional Service Center and of the Didactic Learning Center Midwest.


Festo invested about 70 Mio USD in a state-of-the-art distribution and manufacturing center with a highly automated order picking system unique to the manufacturing industry in North America and only comparable to the highly sophisticated warehouse systems of the strongest retail brands. With these new premises Festo is now able to triple its capacities: This allows for more flexibility, improved services and offers plenty of space for future growth.

The Learning Center which is co-located with the Festo Regional Service Center serves manufacturing companies and colleges in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana offering a wide range of industrial training solutions. This includes Festo’s classic short-term training programs like Basic Pneumatics and Hydraulics as well as long-term workforce solutions based on the German dual education system.

Festo Didactic, Sinclair Community College, TechSolve and five companies in the Cincinnati tri-state area (Art Metal Group, Clippard Instruments, Festo Inc., MQ Automation, Nestlé) recently created a two-year Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program to help employers develop the skills that are missing in the workforce today by combining theoretical education, hands-on training, and on the job training.

MAP² - the apprenticeship program is designed to help individuals learn advanced manufacturing skills as well as earn an associate’s degree in mechatronics. The first cohort of the program includes 11 apprentices who are training for careers as maintenance technicians, automation specialists, service technicians, and manufacturing technicians.

Building off the German model
The program uses the German apprenticeship model of dual education, where apprentices learn in a classroom and maintain a steady job. Every week each apprentice spends one day at Sinclair Community College for classes, one day using state-of-the-art equipment at the new Festo Learning Center in Mason, and three days working at their respective employers. The apprentices are able to take what they learn in class, practice it at the Festo Learning Center, and then use that new knowledge and skill in a real-life work environment.
The Festo Learning Center is a unique part of the program. The Center is designed to meet international standards for production facilities and labs. It provides the apprentices a training facility where they can work with instructors on high-end Festo workstations that simulate a work environment and corresponds to their classroom curriculum.

Collaboration to address the skills gap
The idea for the apprenticeship program was born out of a need for highly-skilled workers in the Cincinnati area, an established hub for manufacturing. As advanced manufacturing and Industry 4.0 grow in the area, employers are increasingly looking for mechanical aptitude, skills in automation, the ability to read code and program machines, and electrical skills as well as problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Based on the need from employers and a shared vision to ensure more people receive the training and education needed for today’s manufacturing jobs, the partners formed the Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program Partners collaborative. The partners worked together to identify the needs of employers and adapt an existing curriculum at Sinclair Community College accordingly, in order to solve both the educational needs and the workforce needs of the community. Festo Didactic is bridging the gap between educators, trainers and employers.

For further information, please contact:
Carolin McCaffrey
Head of Learning Center Midwest
(+1) 513-486-1080