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Program helping Blount County students find careers after graduation

After high school, some William Blount High School students want to jump into their careers right away and Blount County Schools has prepared them for that.
Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 6:32 PM EST
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MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - After high school, some William Blount High School students want to jump into their careers right away and Blount County Schools has prepared them for that. It’s a part of the Career Technical Education, or CTE, which can train students in specific jobs. 2019 graduate Jonathan Mackenzie found his career because of this program.

As a teenager, Mackenzie wasn’t sure where his life path was going to go.

“It’s actually crazy. Because like any other high school student my junior year I had no idea what I wanted to do at all,” said Mackenzie.

Flash forward to two years later. He’s a full-time student at Pellissippi and a part-time employee at Denso.

“It just matched for my love of problem-solving and as a kid, I always liked to take things apart and learn how they work and so when I learned there was a career field in that I jumped right on that immediately,” explained Mackenzie.

For Mackenzie, it all started back in Tim Smith’s mechatronics class.

“These kids come out of here not knowing anything that’s going on in the classroom, kind of scared of the robots and stuff and by the time they leave they can run any machine in here,” said Smith.

Mechatronics is based around machines and motors and how people can make them do what they’re supposed to do.

“When I took that and learned what it was all about, I fell in love with it,” said Mackenzie.

It’s a growing industry. Soon Amazon will be adding a facility to Alcoa creating a big win for even more students diving into this field.

“We just feel we’re going to be able to provide and have provided in some ways these industries the employees they need. So our students can live here in our community, put back forth into our community and have a good future with a career,” said Alisa Teffeteller.

Teffeteller is the Career Technical Education Director for Blount County Schools. She’s seeing results.

“It’s so exciting when you can see a student that possibly has done a work-based learning opportunity while they were here in high school, and when they graduate and walk across the stage, the employer has hired them, and they’re able to roll right into the position,” explained Teffeteller.

Mackenzie is set to work full time with Denso after he graduates in December.

Mackenzie explained, “I’m very appreciative for the opportunity, and I’m just thankful and very thankful for the opportunity.”

He will earn his Associate’s Degree in industrial maintenance where the starting salary is around $58,000.

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