In an election year where candidates are talking about bringing back manufacturing jobs, Brownserville Technical High School in southern Tennessee has seen a surge in enrollment over the past year.
Students are coming from all over the region, from Chattanooga to Jackson, Miss., to learn how to manufacture and assemble parts for everything from the iPhone to the Volkswagen Golf.
The school, located in the heart of Chattanooga, is one of the few places in the South that is teaching students about manufacturing and manufacturing skills, said Principal Jim Gant.
We’re getting students that aren’t coming from the suburbs, are coming here, and we are learning how to make these products,” he said.
The school has more than 1,500 students in its curriculum.
Gant said the school has to figure out how to meet the demands of the growing automotive industry. “
We have to keep doing things like we did last year, we have to start manufacturing again,” he added.
Gant said the school has to figure out how to meet the demands of the growing automotive industry.
I have students here who can be in a factory or a machine shop or a production line and they can make whatever they want, and they do it right here, he said, adding that it is a big step to make it a place where students are not just getting a high school diploma but also the best education.
Brownsville’s industrial history was laid out in a 2016 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
It highlighted the school’s contributions to the automotive industry, including a plant that made parts for the Chevrolet Corvette and the Volkswagen Jetta.
In recent years, Browniesville’s students have been making more and more parts for cars, trucks and even planes.
Gant believes the school, along with other schools across the South, will continue to see more students entering into the industry.
“There is a lot of demand for this stuff,” he told the Times.
“I think it’s going to continue to grow, and it’s really exciting for us to be able to support that demand and do it at the highest level of education.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.