Lee at MTSU

Gov. Bill Lee talks about the benefits of education and business partnerships Wednesday at MTSU. Siemens provided a software program for the university’s mechatronics engineering program.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee joined Middle Tennessee State University in thanking Siemens for the donation of a $2 million software program for the mechatronics engineering program.

Siemens Digital Industries Software, a corporate partner of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, donated the software, according to an MTSU press release. The software gives students access to the same technology that global manufacturers use to develop products in the automotive, aerospace, machinery and high-tech electronics industries.

Lee told the audience that companies are “longing” for employees with skills that prepare them for such careers. Programs like MTSU’s, with partnerships with companies like Siemens, can help draw other businesses to Tennessee with high-paying jobs, the governor said.

“What’s happening here — I could go on and on … on what’s happening here — embodies so much of what I think we need to be doing all across the state,” Lee said. “I am grateful to Siemens for this major contribution.”

Lee also touted Career and Technical Education initiatives he has previously announced, including one that aims to create regional partnerships with businesses to develop work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities for students.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee thanked Siemens for its “generous, in-kind gift of … the latest technology and software in support of our world-class mechatronics engineering degree program.”

McPhee named off some of MTSU’s accomplishments, from its being one of Tennessee’s largest universities to being the top producer of college graduates for the Nashville economy.

“MTSU takes very seriously its responsibility of serving the people and the needs of this great state,” McPhee said.

Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field that includes a combination of mechanical, electrical, telecommunications, control and computer engineering systems, according to MTSU. The program is based on a three-level international certification program created by Siemens.

MTSU’s mechatronics program has grown to have 400 students since its inception five and a half years ago, MTSU said.

The university teaches the only Level 3 certification program offered by Siemens in the United States, according to a press release. Graduates earn an average salary of $65,000 to $75,000. About 60 students will graduate in May with the degree.

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