Mechatronics: Real skill for real jobs |

Mechatronics: Real skill for real jobs

Mechatronics instructor Jim Weir appreciates when students make connections.
Courtesy photo |

“I have yet to go through a semester without a student asking a question that I don’t have the foggiest answer to,” said Mechatronics guru Jim Weir, who has been teaching since 1971.

In “Mechatronics Processes and Materials,” the Sierra College class Weir will teach Tuesday evenings during fall semester (Aug. 26-Dec. 9), students gain concrete, and employable, skills related to how computers control machines as they build a robotic arm.

During the course students learn industrial fundamental topics including bearings, springs, tapping of threads, pneumatics, and microcontroller programming as they fabricate, assemble, program and test a robot arm that they can take home.

The three-unit class is open to high school students and adults.

The cost is $138 and, similar to all offerings, discounted to just one dollar per unit for high school students.

Students’ curiosity inspires Weir to delve into more topics and is one of the many welcome challenges that appeal to him about teaching for Sierra College.

“You see a face that says, ‘I got it. I got it!” Weir said. “Yes! It is wonderful.”

Weir worked his way through college as a mechanic for Pacific Southwest Airlines. When he graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in physics, mathematics and aerospace studies he began working on radar equipment used for moon landings.

He later founded an aviation electronics manufacturing company that makes airplane radios.

“We are thrilled that Jim is returning to the classroom this fall,” said Dr. Kim Bateman, Sierra College, Tahoe-Truckee executive dean. “Jim brings extensive knowledge of his field, passion for student learning, and a sense of humor to the Tahoe-Truckee campus.”

Mechatronics Processes and Materials (Mechatronics 44) is a requirement for the electro-mechanical skills certificate. “The Science of Electronics” (Mechatronics 1) will also be offered this fall and is a great way for community members, including high school students, to begin the program. The third class required for the certificate, “Fundamentals of Electronics” (Mech 10) will be offered in spring 2015.

The program is especially relevant for anyone interested in mechanical systems and electronics or working in lift mechanics, telecommunications, semiconductor and machine operations.


Apply at Sierra

If you are a high school student, complete an Academic Enrichment Form (available from high school counselors or Sierra College).

Log onto My Sierra and complete the online orientation video.

Schedule a counseling appointment by calling 530-550-2225 with your Sierra College ID number (optional) and add classes using My Sierra.


The Mechatronics curriculum was developed in consultation with local industry to ensure a focus on current industrial skills. Mechatronics classes are project-based, hands-on and all the lab equipment is industrial quality. Students learn real skills for real jobs.

For more information, visit or call 530-550-2250.

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