While some manufacturers across the United States are struggling to find skilled workers, Chattanooga State Community College and Volkswagen are working to train local residents.
Hans-Herbert Jagla, executive vice president of human resources at VW, said that the training is expanding to support the company's future growth strategy.
“Volkswagen Chattanooga is excited about the expansion of the existing Automotive Mechatronic Program (AMP) offered in the Volkswagen Academy,” he said.
"The challenging three-year program provides participants with the needed knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully operate and maintain the sophisticated machinery used to produce the world-class Passat," he said in a statement. "For the participants entering this year, successfully performing graduates will be tendered a conditional job offer for employment at the Volkswagen plant.”
Leaders with Chattanooga State’s Tennessee Technology Center, in partnership with VW Chattanooga, are now accepting applications for the 2012 Automotive Mechatronics Program.
Dr. Mike Ricketts, dean of the Tennessee Technology Center, said the skills learned in the program, which is in its third year, are transferable.
“Our primary mission is to offer training for people, so they can get skills that are directly applicable to the workforce in this area,” he said. “That increases the pool of skilled workers. [Companies] need to know we have a readily available pool of qualified workers.”
The program, which is housed in the Volkswagen Academy, blends classroom and laboratory instruction with on-the-job experience at the Volkswagen plant.
Prospective students are encouraged to attend an information session at Volkswagen Academy on Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. To RSVP, call 423-296-2407.
Ricketts said that the blending of the local and German curriculum has been beneficial.
He said the German model is very technically oriented and highly skilled, and it supports attention to detail and quality.
“It’s good for us to see the German model and what they expect from their students,” he said. “We are trying to adopt some of their qualities and programs to the way we teach skills in America.”
Updated @ 3:16 p.m. on 03/09/12 to add more information as it became available.