DENSO Donation Brings Robotics Into Classrooms

11 Aug 2016

he generosity of a local industry will help accelerate the education of students here.
The Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Athens (TCAT) has been awarded $50,000 from the DENSO North America Foundation for the purchase of a robotics engineering curriculum and VEX Robotic Kits. This new curriculum will be added to TCAT's mechatronics classes at McMinn County High School, McMinn Central High School, Meigs County High School and Polk County High School to help enhance the students' overall learning experience in these classes.
In the fall of 2015, TCAT Athens received nearly $1 million of LEAP (Labor Education Alignment Program) grant funds to develop a new Career and Technical Education program at local high schools with a primary focus on advanced manufacturing. Students who enroll in these classes are simultaneously enrolled in the electromechanical program at TCAT.
Upon reviewing the first year of classes, it was decided that, although the program was robust in content, it was lacking in classroom engagement. Engaging the creativity of students is believed to increase their interest in the technical content of the program.
The new curriculum will also encourage teamwork and bring the theoretical concepts learned in the classroom to life. Students learn basic electrical and mechanical skills, which are credited toward a postsecondary credential at TCAT Athens, and are better prepared to excel in the electromechanical program upon graduating from high school.
DENSO Manufacturing Athens Tennessee (DMAT) will play a vital role in the success of this program, primarily providing advice to instructors in the delivery of the curriculum as it relates to real world manufacturing.
"The collaboration between secondary and postsecondary institutions with local manufacturers like DENSO is key for the development of a more skilled workforce in our region," said TCAT Athens Executive Director Stewart Smith.
The partnership between DMAT and TCAT Athens has been key in various workforce development initiatives in the region. The funding received from the DENSO Foundation will exponentially improve the level of instruction in the mechatronics program and will provide students the skills needed to be successful in their educational and professional careers.
For more information about the mechatronics program or electromechanical program, contact Scott Packett at
For more information about TCAT, visit