Staff file photo / Hamilton County students, from right, Javier Favors, Jordan Kirby, Aaron Bun, Miles Matthews and Marko Burdeiniy, listens closely as Ilker Subasi, left, assistant manager of technical training at Volkswagen Chattanooga, reveals the change from the Automation Mechatronics Program to the MEB electric training program and the tools that will be needed to produce electric vehicles at Volkswagen during an open house at Volkswagen Academy in February of 2019. The modular electric platform shown is used for training purposes.

Volkswagen Academy partnership renewed for 5 years

The Mechatronics Academy in Chattanooga has marked five years with a formal renewal of the program's partnership.

A memorandum of understanding involves a joint venture between Volkswagen Group of America-Chattanooga Operations, Hamilton County Schools and Chattanooga State Community College.

"Volkswagen Academy's onsite high school program provides local students with an educational head start and firsthand exposure to a state-of-the-art manufacturing environment," said Burkhard Ulrich, senior vice president of human resources for Volkswagen Chattanooga. "For Volkswagen it creates a future talent pipeline. "

The Mechatronics Academy launched as a pilot with four schools and 26 students. Since 2017, program availability expanded to all rising juniors and seniors in Hamilton County public schools. The curriculum has evolved in recent years with the introduction and inclusion of FANUC robotics training, 3D printing and plasma-cutting technology.

"There is an urgent and growing need in the U.S. and in our community to fill positions that require specialized knowledge and training," said Dr. Rebecca Ashford, president of Chattanooga State.


ONE Riverfront plan reveal set

A new riverfront district master plan in Chattanooga will be unveiled on July 27.

ONE Riverfront, a community planning process led by River City Co., was launched in early 2020 with thousands of community voices providing feedback on ways to improve the district, an official said.

"While our timeline for the creation of the plan was extended due to COVID-19, it allowed us to hear from more people across the community and to test concepts like the Open Streets project on Broad Street and install temporary seating on Ross's Landing," said Emily Mack, president and CEO of River City.

Sessions will be in the River Journey building at the Tennessee Aquarium. The morning session will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration and light breakfast followed by a plan presentation from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. A second session will be at 5 p.m. with registration and refreshments and the plan presentation from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Sessions are free but registration is required. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are asked to wear face coverings. Individuals can register at


Airlines say COVID-19 not hurting bookings

Airlines say the current rise in new cases of coronavirus aren't scaring away travelers. United Airlines said Wednesday that bookings are rising and it has seen no slowdown because of the fast-spreading delta variant of COVID-19.

Delta Air Lines says the same thing. International travel is still sluggish, however, and airlines are lobbying the Biden administration to lift restrictions that prevent most Europeans from entering the United States. They say European countries are welcoming Americans. White House press secretary Jen Psaki says the administration will be guided by advice from public-health experts.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner