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Major Movement in Tennessee

On September 20, I flew to Chattanooga, Tennessee to address the Tennessee Board of Regents thanks to SkillsUSA Board President James King. The day started with a one-on-one tour of the new Volkswagen manufacturing plant and the Volkswagen Training Academy operated by Chattanooga State Community College /Tennessee Technology Center (CSCC/TTC) in partnership with Volkswagen. Students training at the academy are in an employment pathway and are hired at the Chattanooga plant when their training is complete. Courses are in precision machining, welding, industrial maintenance, lean manufacturing, teambuilding and mechatronics. Since the students are enrolled through CSCC/TTC, they are also SkillsUSA members. They had a national bronze medal Mechatronics Team at the Championships this year. Both Volkswagen and the college are proud of their team.

From Chattanooga, I traveled with Dr. Jim Barrott from CSCC/TTC to Cleveland State Community College for the Board of Regents meeting. Dr. King reported on the success of the Tennessee Technology Centers over the past year and told them SkillsUSA is an integral component of the TTC system and a proven method of delivering employability skills. After showing a brief SkillsUSA video, I gave a national overview of our program. I also commended TTC and Dr. King for their national leadership in education reform and in SkillsUSA at the college/postsecondary level. National officers Mary Kamuiru and Mark Roark spoke and then Mark introduced all 16 SkillsUSA Tennessee College/Postsecondary national gold medalists. The students presented each board member with a state gold medal. This was a great way to impress the leaders of the state’s postsecondary system. Thanks go to James King.

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