Grant helps fund growth of career and technical classes - WSMV News 4

Grant helps fund growth of career and technical classes

Posted: Updated:
Inside Oakland High School's mechatronics lab, students are learning mechanical and electrical engineering, computer control and information technology. (WSMV) Inside Oakland High School's mechatronics lab, students are learning mechanical and electrical engineering, computer control and information technology. (WSMV)
MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

One local school district is cranking out future workers for places like Nissan and Bridgestone.

The demand for skilled workers in Middle Tennessee has grown so much that Gov. Bill Haslam awarded $15 million in grants to help schools prepare students for these careers.

Rutherford County Schools got half-million dollars for new equipment to add to its classrooms.

Inside Oakland High School's mechatronics lab, students are learning mechanical and electrical engineering, computer control and information technology.

Lindsey Romine is a newcomer to the class as a sophomore.

“You can work with everything around you,” Romine said. “I think it's interesting to work with all the technology. There are so many things you can do with engineering fields.”

Tyra Pilgrim is the Career and Technical Education coordinator for Rutherford County Schools. The system offers training for 15 different career pathways.

“We go to industry and ask them, what do our students need to know? What skills do they need to be effective for your workforce?” Pilgrim said.

The average grant awarded for CTE programs was $125,000 per district. Rutherford County Schools received more than three times that.

“Everyone, whether they're going to college or not, they're going to have to work. That's the world we live in. The better prepared we make them, the more money they'll be able to make for their family,” Pilgrim explained.

These students are not just focusing on careers on the ground. Dhruv Patel is a senior who wants to study aerospace engineering.

“I want to design things like satellites that can actually orbit earth, or go to other planets, things like that," Patel said.

He started mechatronics at the age of 14.

“I started my sophomore year, and I was actually learning the things I could learn in college so that was very important to me. I could start understanding why these things were so important and get a jump start on to the rest of my life,” Patel said.

Lenny Ciletti is the mechatronics instructor at Oakland, who also teaches at MTSU. He said the students are able to get college credit, and can end up with 29 hours.

“They can be almost any engineer that they want to be,” Ciletti said. “We have a partnership with Schwan Cosmetics, they came in the past two years, they have hired students right out of the classroom.

“A lot of students have ties to Nissan, Bridgestone, where they can go in, shadow for a day, get some hands on experience. They have apprenticeship programs they do here in the county.”

The grant money will also benefit career and technical education at other local high schools including Blackman, La Vergne, Smyrna and Riverdale. The state is also forming an advisory council to help promote college and career readiness.

Copyright 2017 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
WSMV
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, WSMV; Nashville, TN. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.