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Aims Community College Sets Students on Track for Success with Industry Certifications

Aims Community College is expanding opportunities for Career and Technical Education (CTE) academic program students to obtain additional industry-recognized credentials in sought-after tech fields.

Ben Rager holding SACA certificate at the ATTC lab
Aims student Ben Rager with the SACA Silver Certification for Programmable Logic Controllers that he earned.

Through a Hansen Grant, Aims will fully fund Industrial Technology and Oil & Gas students with additional training resources and  Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA) exams beginning this fall. SACA provides certifications on a multitude of topics in industrial automation and robotics. This will help students enter the job market and support working professionals looking to develop new skills. 

Department Chair Dave Sordi is looking forward to move in this direction. “This is a significant step because it provides another mechanism for students to demonstrate their expertise beyond a diploma or certificate they receive from Aims,” Sordi said. “As the job market becomes more competitive, these types of certificates will provide students with additional firepower to rise above the competition for a job.”

Industrial technology skills are filling massively growing needs in virtually every industry. Sordi says that the job market is currently very employee-friendly, but competition for jobs is increasing. “They need to be ready to differentiate themselves from competitors for jobs. This is one way that students can do that. In addition, these certificates provide additional validation of a student's efforts in the classroom and lab.”

Aims Student Obtains Certification

Ben Rager is the first Aims student to achieve a SACA  Silver Certification for Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC). This skill is vital for people looking for industrial automation and control systems. Some potential job roles include PLC programmer, automation engineer, control systems engineer, industrial maintenance technician and manufacturing engineer.  To prepare for the certification exam, Rager studied an additional 40 hours outside of his regular class work. 

Rager completed his first year at Aims this spring, working toward an Industrial Technology Associate of Applied Science. He also attends Colorado Early Colleges for high school and will begin his senior year this fall.  Rager comes to Aims with some experience in the electrical field, as he apprenticed with his father, who is a master electrician. 

While Rager has just begun his Aims journey, he is already a standout student. “Ben is one of the most driven young students we've had in our program,” Sordi said. “The enthusiasm he brings to the classroom is contagious. What I am most impressed with is his leadership capabilities. He is a natural leader. Because he is so enthusiastic, people readily accept his role as leader, and he does it extremely well.”

Learn more about Industrial Technologies and Energy Studies programs at

Aims Degree Video - Industrial Technology