Amazon and VU reach Impressive Milestone in Mechatronics and Robots Apprenticeship Partnership

Graduates of the MRA Apprenticeship.

May 31, 2024

VINCENNES, Ind. - Amazon and Vincennes University are proud to commemorate a significant milestone in their innovative partnership as they recently celebrated the 50th cohort of apprentices in the Mechatronics and Robotics Apprenticeship (MRA) Program.

This milestone highlights the success of the collaboration, which has produced more than 940 apprentices and anticipates exceeding 1,000 apprentices by the end of 2024.

Since its inception in 2020 on the Vincennes Campus as a pilot program, the MRA Program has flourished under the joint efforts of VU and Amazon.

Goetschel presents a diploma to a Cohort 50 apprentice.

One of the most significant aspects of the MRA Program is its distinction as the first national apprenticeship program created by the Department of Labor specially tailored to mechatronics.

The one-of-a-kind program offers a 12-week intensive residential experience on the Vincennes Campus. It provides apprentices with a unique blend of academic coursework and hands-on training. These skills are needed to excel in the rapidly evolving fields of mechatronics and robotics. 

According to Michael Goetschel, a Technical Learning Program Manager II for Amazon," The MRA Program offers a unique opportunity for apprentices to gain hands-on experience and industry-recognized certifications. Vincennes University has been instrumental in providing a supportive and innovative learning environment of the highest quality for MRA apprentices."

Under the guidance of experienced VU instructors, apprentices in the MRA Program complete 16 certifications in the 12 weeks they are on campus, gaining valuable knowledge and skills that are in demand. Every three weeks, a new group of 24 apprentices arrives on campus to begin their training, allowing VU to educate as many as 120 apprentices at a time.

David Tucker speaks to Cohort 50 apprentices.“Vincennes University is honored to partner with Amazon in pioneering the MRA program, bridging the gap between education and industry,” VU Vice President of Workforce Development and Community Services David Tucker said. "VU's longstanding commitment to excellence makes us the perfect partner to deliver this high-caliber apprenticeship training, meeting the needs of both employers and aspiring professionals.” 

The MRA program aligns with VU's commitment to excellence and addresses the pressing need for skilled professionals in mechatronics and robotics. Through the dedication of both apprentices and instructors, the program maintains the highest standard of training, ensuring graduates are prepared to excel in today's competitive workforce. 

VU Instructor Wesley Roark said, “We care about the success of the apprentices. There is more to it than just passing a certification test. The real goal is to supply them with the knowledge we've attained through our experiences in the field and help them build off that foundation. Many apprentices who graduate from the MRA program move into the field to be successful technicians. Others have gone on to higher positions such as Controls or higher management while others have gone on to pursue higher education and get technical degrees."

 The partnership between Vincennes University and Amazon in the MRA program thrives as an exemplary model of excellence in education and workforce development.

See the VU-Amazon MRA 50th Completion Ceremony Video and Photo Gallery.

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