hereforamerica
Q & A with Larry Mendizábal – Engineering Specialist Training Program Graduate
Here for America
The EST program is designed for students that hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering. It utilizes nine months of hands-on training at the Volkswagen Academy and six months of interdepartmental training at the plant to prepare trainees for work in the plant.
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Q & A with Larry Mendizábal – Engineering Specialist Training Program Graduate

What is the Engineering Specialist Training Program?

The EST program is designed for students that hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering. It utilizes nine months of hands-on training at the Volkswagen Academy and six months of interdepartmental training at the plant to prepare trainees for work in the plant. The program concludes with a three month internship in Germany. Some of the training that can be expected from the Volkswagen Academy includes, drafting and design with AutoCAD and CATIA, manual and CNC machining, various types of welding, and Robot and PLC programming, just to mention a few.

What motivated you to enroll in the EST program at Volkswagen?

My main motivation for enrolling in the EST program was to get the hands-on training available at the Volkswagen Academy that was not so readily available during my time at University. Prior to the creation of the EST program, I was an Volkswagen Chattanooga intern in the Vehicle Analysis Center, and had the privilege of working with Phillip Slocum, a former Automation Mechatronics Program graduate, on various projects. I would design and draw fixtures and he would skillfully machine and assemble them using the Volkswagen Academy machinery. I would go up to see his progress and think about how it would be nice to know how to weld, machine, dimension drawings efficiently, and program robots.

Once the program was created and presented to me, I was also motivated to enroll for the networking opportunities, getting a “big picture” view of the company through interdepartmental job rotations, and lastly being able to travel abroad and experience Germany and Europe. I had previously traveled and studied all over North and South America but had not yet traveled to Europe.

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