Students are graduating high school with specialized STEM certificates, and when they enter the work force, they will have a head start over their peers.
At Tyner Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, students are currently able to study a combination of mechanical engineering, computer science and electrical engineering, and graduate with certification that will enable them to fill jobs. The school is the only one in the area that grants a certificate in mechatronics.
Students at Tyner Academy are largely from poor families, and only one percent of the 2014 graduates met all four college ready benchmarks. However, the nine students in the mechatronics program and the 25 who will be added in the spring will graduate ready to pursue a trade in a well paying field.
David Cowan is director of career and technical education for Hamilton County Schools. “We see the importance and how manufacturers want this,” he said. “[Mechatronics certification] is highly sought after and can lead to a high-paying position.”