Volkswagen Academy graduates first engineering specialist

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – This year’s graduates from the Volkswagen Academy at the German automaker’s plant in Tennessee include the first person to complete its engineering specialist program for candidates with bachelor’s degrees in engineering.

Most of the training programs at Volkswagen are aimed at high school graduates who work toward an associate’s degree while receiving on-site training and experience at the plant.

Larry Mendizabal graduated from the 18-month engineering program that involves mechatronics training and international experience at the company’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. He has been hired as a vehicle analysis specialist at the Chattanooga plant.

Christian Koch, the president and CEO of the Chattanooga plant, said the graduates of the academy will play a key role in the launch of a new SUV that will begin production later this year.