Motlow offers free mechatronics degree to high school juniors

Jesse Donaldson (in green) graduated with a Mechatronics degree from Motlow before he graduated from Franklin County High School. Jesse is one of 11 graduates from the Motlow high school Dual Enrollment Mechatronics program in 2020. 

Area high school rising juniors, a fantastic opportunity is knocking at your door. Motlow State is offering free dual enrollment courses to high school juniors interested in pursuing a degree in Mechatronics. The Motlow Middle College program will pay for all books, tuition, and even travel for juniors willing to pursue a dual enrollment mechatronics degree.

“High school juniors are now able to earn an associate degree, at no extra cost to them or their families, while they earn their high school diploma,” said Sally Pack, Motlow administrator of high school initiatives. “The high demand for qualified employees in mechatronics, along with this free opportunity, is a win-win for families, area industries, our students, and the College.”

Partnerships with secondary schools are at the forefront of Motlow’s mission to serve the community, and as a result, Motlow leads the state in dual enrollment headcount. Dual enrollment partnerships allow high school students to take college courses in their junior and senior year to get a jumpstart on their college education.

In May 2020, 11 high school seniors became the first graduates from the Middle College Mechatronics program, funded by a grant awarded to Motlow in 2018. Michael Walton of Murfreesboro earned his associate degree in Mechatronics from Motlow and his high school diploma from Oakland in the spring of 2020.

“Earning my Associate Degree in Mechatronics through the Dual Enrollment program at Motlow, with no debt, and graduating from Oakland at the same time gives me a head start on my career,” said Walton. “The program is challenging, the last three months even more so, but I completed it. I’m starting MTSU this fall to earn my bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics.”

Motlow’s Mechatronics career program provides the academic knowledge and practical experience necessary to prepare students for high-wage employment as highly skilled technicians. Many Motlow graduates have gone on to successful careers at Nissan, Bridgestone, and many others.

“We are very proud of our dual enrollment program in mechatronics,” said Fred Rascoe, Motlow dean of career and technical programs. “High school students are taking advantage of this offering and obtaining their certificate or AAS degree in mechatronics. They are well on their way toward a gratifying career.”

Motlow Mechatronics is nationally recognized and certified by the Association for Technology Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) as a premier educational program with a high job placement rate of graduates. Motlow Mechatronics instructors have been awarded two National Science Foundation grants totaling more than $1 million in the last three years.

Additional to partnerships with high schools, Motlow engages in 2 + 2 partnerships with universities and colleges. An example is the Mechatronics 2 + 2 partnership with Tennessee State University, allowing Motlow graduates to pursue their bachelor’s degree in mechatronics and remain on a Motlow campus.

Mechatronics is a synergy of mechanical, electrical, and computerized technologies that together form a complex system used in product engineering, manufacturing, and packaging operations. Opportunities for employment with a mechatronics degree are wide-ranging across the business landscape.

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