That means we’re not afraid to ask for help. We reach out to the private sector, our friends in education, even our other economic development partners – if that’s what it takes to get an answer or create a solution for our clients and community. Collaboration is instrumental in meeting the goals of Gallatin Economic Development.
Here's an example: Mechatronics!
In July of 2014, Gallatin Economic Development Director James Fenton approached Volunteer State Community College President Dr. Jerry Faulkner about establishing a mechatronics program at the college. Gallatin’s manufacturing community had been talking to James about the need for technicians trained in an integrated, multidisciplinary set of skills. Mechatronics combines electrical engineering, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, and control engineering.
VSCC embraces idea
Dr. Faulkner embraced the idea, however, these things don’t happen overnight. They take commitment, lots of planning, and – no surprise – money. Vol State aggressively went after grant money and was awarded more than $2.3-million to launch the program and construct a mechatronics building.
Classes start this Fall
Classes for the two-year degree program start this fall in the old science field station. The new mechatronics building will take a couple of years to build.
What they get
Graduates of the program will receive an Associate of Applied Science degree and have the opportunity to complete the Level 2 Certification Examination to become a Siemens Certified Mechatronics Systems Associate.
The program will also accommodate those already working in an industry who might need a refresher course or two.
Why this is a good thing
What’s great about this collaboration is that a local industry can have potential or current employees trained on their specific piece of equipment.
Vol State has touched a lot of bases on this project - collaborating and partnering with Austin Peay State University, Tennessee Centers of Applied Technology, and K-12 education in Sumner and surrounding counties. .
When you look at the time-line from having a chat about an idea to holding the first class, this project moved at a pretty good clip.