SoVA Center of Manufacturing Excellence Trains Local Industrial Maintenance Mechanics

SoVACME-MechatronicsSouth Boston, VA–Ten local industrial maintenance mechanics recently completed Introduction to Programmable Logic Controls (PLCs) training through the SoVA Center of Manufacturing Excellence (SoVA CME) at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC).

Will Soyars, SoVA CME Industrial Maintenance/Mechatronics Program Leader and Ricky Gordon, SoVA CME Programs Technician, conducted the 13 week, hands-on training that covered a number of subjects including ladder logic and blueprints, power and control diagrams, and troubleshooting and problem logging. Participants completed 39 hours of training, and were awarded a certificate of completion.

Soyars and Gordon taught the class multiple times per class day to accommodate the participants’ multi-shift work schedules. Despite having to work full time jobs and attend class Soyars said, “Everyone was attentive and worked really hard.” He went on to say, “SoVA CME is able to customize training for students and employers to ensure training accommodates their work schedules and specific training needs.”

“My maintenance department took the PLC course that was offered through the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center for 13 weeks. The instructors were able to accommodate all the employee work schedules by doing early morning and late evening classes,” said maintenance manager Ron Spelman. “Each mechanic who took the class walked away with an understanding of PLC’s and the basics of trouble shooting; each electrician who took the class walked away with a refresher of the PLC and was able to see some of the new standards,” he continued.

The Introduction to PLCs workshop was included in the Work Readiness Initiative: Retention of Manufacturing in Southern Virginia grant funded by the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. Soyars and other SoVA CME staff are available to all regional industries to offer advanced PLC and other electrical maintenance training. Interested employers or individuals are encouraged to contact Will Soyars at 434-572-5475 or email

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