Mechatronics Pilot offers chance to earn Associate’s Degree in High School; Education Foundation for Williamson County raising funding for 25 students


The non-profit Education Foundation for Williamson County is raising funds to support as many as 25 students who are earning associate of applied science degrees in engineering systems technology while enrolled at Fairview High School. The pilot Mechatronics program launched last year is designed to help close the high-tech skills gap and place technical students into career tracks immediately after high school graduation.

The Mechatronics program, available to up to 40 students a year, equips participants with the skills and credentials needed for high-wage, highly skilled and in-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing throughout the state. At Fairview High, where the overall socio-economic demographics have hampered historical post-secondary success, it’s a unique opportunity to change lives.

Since 2010, Tennessee has seen a 33 percent increase in advanced manufacturing jobs, and projections show that millions of jobs will be available nationally over the next decade. However, the state’s low unemployment rate and lack of training options mean that many of those jobs will go unfilled due to a shortage of qualified applicants.

The first group of 34 students with access to this academic program made excellent progress during the 2016-2017 school year, with more than 90 percent earning at least four credits toward the degree. Now that group is entering the semester with an opportunity to complete the degree during the 2017-2018 school year, while more students join the program. Oyer says it’s already moving the needle.

The Education Foundation for Williamson County is raising up to $25,000 to support 25 students this school year, and donations large and small are welcome before the deadline of October 15.