Florence 1 partners with AESC to create a pathway from classroom to career

April 09, 2024

FLORENCE, SC—A brand new program in Florence 1 Schools will put students on a pathway to an engineering career right out of high school. Mechatronics, also called Mechatronics Integrated Technologies, will be offered at Advantage Academy beginning in the 2024-2025 school year, combining elements of mechanics, pneumatics, robotics and electronics. 

The Mechatronics program will consist of four courses available to students in grades 10-12. Students will have the opportunity to earn industry-recognized certifications such as OSHA within this program and will be considered completers after all four courses are finished.

"The launch of the new mechatronics program at Advantage Academy is a significant step towards building a robust talent pipeline for AESC's plant in South Carolina,” said Cody Drake, Director, AESC SC Project. “By providing students with hands-on training in advanced manufacturing and technology, this program not only prepares them for future careers but also strengthens our workforce and enhances our ability to innovate in the rapidly evolving electric vehicle battery industry. We look forward to collaborating with Florence One Schools to ensure our local skilled workforce will enable us to drive continued success in sustainable mobility."  

Advantage Academy’s school counselor, Bryan Dubose, said that growing demand in the engineering field, as well as insight from local businesses, led to the decision to offer mechatronics next school year. He said that the new AESC electric vehicle battery plant is an excellent partner for Advantage Academy students in the new program. 

“We always work with businesses in the community and have an advisory committee that helps us shape our programs,” Dubose said. “Mechatronics will be a great program for students who have an interest in fields related to STEM such as robotics, engineering and industrial maintenance. I think the addition of this program is just another example of how Advantage Academy is preparing students for post-secondary careers and also providing a competitive edge in the market.” 

Maggie Gause, Director of Student Support Services for Florence 1 Schools, agrees.

“The district is continuously evaluating the courses that we offer our students to ensure that our courses match the needs and interests of our students and community,” Gause said. “We want to prepare them for future careers that they can be passionate about. With the new AESC plant being built in Florence, this is the perfect time to introduce a Mechatronics Program at Advantage Academy. Employers will now be able to find local employees that have the skills and training they need, right out of high school.”

Gregg Robinson, CEO of the Florence County Economic Development Partnership, said that the new program is a vital step in workforce development.

"As our community embraces the future of technology and innovation, the launch of the new mechatronics program at Advantage Academy through Florence One Schools marks a pivotal moment in preparing our workforce for the opportunities ahead,” Robinson said. “This program not only equips our current workforce with essential skills but also cultivates a pipeline of talent to meet the evolving needs of companies like AESC, positioning Florence County as a hub for advanced manufacturing and technological excellence."

See All News