OZARK – During a signing ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 17, two students were officially awarded the first Mechatronics program scholarships offered at Enterprise State Community College that are sponsored by local businesses.
The Mechatronics program opened this fall at the Alabama Aviation College in Ozark. Mechatronics is one of the world’s largest high-tech manufacturing fields that incorporates electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering.
“We are constantly working to create a workforce pipeline here at ESCC and the AAC,” President Matt Rodgers said. “We are pleased to have our business partners aid in our students’ success, and we’re excited for the opportunities we’re creating together for our students.”
The Robert and Kathryn McRae/Rex Lumber Scholarship was awarded to James Leslie.
“Anytime you can get money for going to school is fantastic,” Leslie said. “I am very grateful that they made it available and accessible.”
The Robert and Kathryn McRae/Rex Lumber Scholarships is a one-year scholarship awarded to students planning to pursue an Associate of Applied Science degree in Mechatronics. The scholarship will go toward covering the cost of 33 semester hours of tuition and/or books and supplies for classes required for the program.
Scholarship recipients who excel in the Mechatronics program may be eligible for a paid internship position within Rex Lumber Company.
Rex Lumber has been a leader in the lumber business since the 1926 when the Rex Lumber Company was established in Graceville, FL. The company originally focused on manufacturing cypress products, but in the 1970s, the company changed focus to create Southern Yellow Pine lumber products. The company has locations in Graceville and Bristol, FL.; Brookhaven, MS.; and Troy, AL.
“Caroline Dauzat, our owner, has a great vision for education for our students as well as our employees,” Michelle Shaffer, human resources manager at Rex Lumber Troy, said. “We didn’t hesitate in bringing in a scholarship and affording some deserving person. This helps us grow our workforce. We have a need for talented, experienced industrial maintenance technicians and electricians.
“I’m so thankful they saw the need for this in the workforce development area. We see it helping us out years down the line.”
The PRIDE Industries Scholarship was awarded to Slate Greene, who said the scholarship was “very much appreciated.”
The PRIDE Industries Scholarship is a one-year scholarship awarded to individuals who are planning to enroll at ESCC. Each scholarship is worth $1,250.
PRIDE Industries, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit social enterprise, was founded in 1966 in the basement of a church in Auburn, California with a mission to create jobs for people with disabilities.
PRIDE Industries is dedicated to delivering competitive, custom business solutions that will exceed their expectations and help them fulfill their goals with the vision of being a socially responsible vendor of choice in the markets we serve, and to be the recognized leader in meeting the needs of individuals in overcoming barriers to employment.
“PRIDE Industries is happy to support the community and Enterprise State Community College,” Kim Curry, general manager of PRIDE Industries at Fort Rucker, said.
“These industry-sponsored scholarships are concrete proof of the support we have for this program from local companies,” Mechatronics Instructor Aubri Hanson said. “In addition to scholarships, our partner companies are offering internships for our students and jobs for our graduates. The ESCC Mechatronics program is proud to have the support of Rex Lumber, PRIDE Industries and many other companies that serve on our industrial advisory board and who are in need of the skill sets we are teaching.”
Cutline: Left to Right General Manager for PRIDE Industries at Fort Rucker Kim Curry, Slate Greene, James Leslie, and Human Resources Manager for Rex Lumber Troy Michelle Shaffer. Slate and James received the first ESCC Mechatronics scholarships during a signing ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 17.