Car mechatronics program graduate Jesus Espinosa demonstrates the Volkswagen Passat driving simulator he and his classmates designed and built as their capstone project. (Photo: Volkswagen Chattanooga)

Volkswagen Chattanooga recently celebrated the graduation of classes from four Volkswagen Academy programs.

Graduates are from the company’s automation mechatronics, car mechatronics, engineering specialist, and 2+2 manufacturing and engineering technology programs.

“We are all very proud of the accomplishments of our graduates and are excited to have them join our team here in the factory,” Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO Antonio Pinto said in a prepared statement. “The value of a quality education is immeasurable, and I am confident that the education our graduates have received has properly prepared them for their future.”

Members of Volkswagen Academy’s 2017 class recently graduated. (Photo: Volkswagen Chattanooga)

The recent class is the first from the 2+2 manufacturing and engineering technology program, which VW created with Chattanooga State Community College and Tennessee Tech University.

Officials wanted to provide accessible education opportunities by creating this new program, which aims to give team members the ability to earn an associate of applied science degree in engineering technology from Chattanooga State Community College and then transfer to Tennessee Tech to get a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering technology.

“The continued success of our programs in the Volkswagen Academy further Volkswagen Chattanooga’s commitment to the development of our workforce and the narrowing of the skills gap in our community,” VW Chattanooga Senior Vice President of Human Resources Nicole Koesling said in a prepared statement.

The automation and car mechatronics programs are three-year programs based on a dual education system that combines vocational classroom education and paid on-the-job training in one course. Students receive hands-on training in mechanical systems, electricity, electronics, welding and automated systems, among other disciplines, according to a news release.

The engineering specialist program highlights the same hands-on experience of the mechatronics training coupled with three months of international experience at Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. Upon completion of the program, graduates are hired into engineering positions at the Chattanooga factory.

The mechatronics programs are certified by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the German American Chambers of Commerce. The certificate acknowledges companies’ training according to the German standards in the highest category defined by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Berlin.

Volkswagen Chattanooga partners with Chattanooga State Community College to implement the automation mechatronics, car mechatronics and engineering specialist programs in the 163,000-square-foot Volkswagen Academy.

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