Students like these now have the opportunity to earn their Associates Degree in Applied Science through Volkswagen and Chattanooga State.
It's a hands on program that's a step up from the technical diploma.
Ilker Subasi, Manager of the Mechatronics Program and Assistant Manager of Technical Training, completed the same program 13 years ago in Germany.
Subasi says "I tell also to my instructors and to my students, here I say okay, I'm a living example. You can make your own career, not after three years but you can work on it and Volkswagen is giving you that opportunity."
Students like Phillip Slocum say they hope the program helps change the stigma about vocational careers.
Slocum says "We're gonna be trained to be highly skilled so it's not just you know, some guy with a wrench banging on a motor somewhere. We're going to be learning complex systems."
And these students are learning those systems quickly, thanks to a mostly hands-on program, Slocum says bridges the gap.
Slocum says "You have the opportunity to go out into the shop and actually practice that, see how it works in real life. It fortifies that education and helps it stay in your mind better."
Mechatronics Program Coordinator Ralph Gwaltney says the students are high-quality.
Gwaltney says "Chattanooga State and VW together sit down for the interview process. We do a little bit of testing and we take the best 12 students for each class."
Student Brandon Crabtree says it's an unrivaled opportunity to work with cutting edge technology.
Crabtree says "It is strict so you've gotta be ready to work and you have to be dedicated or you won't make it through because it's strictly on you. It's college!"
In Chattanooga, Brittany Shaw, WDEF News 12.