Originally numbering 20 when the course began in 2011, seven enrollees dropped out during the three years of rigorous hands-on training.
Burton was honored as class salutatorian with high marks and perfect attendance.
He received his diploma from Sebastian Patta, executive president of human resources at the Chattanooga VW plant, and was congratulated by Martina Stellmasek, president and CEO of the German American Chamber of Commerce.
In addition, each graduate received hearty personal congratulations from U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke; and Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. They were among the dignitaries attending the ceremony which included Volkswagen Chattanooga President and CEO Christian Koch; Garfield Garner, regional director, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship; and Hermann Nehls, counselor for Labor, Health and Social Affairs, German Embassy.
The graduates received an associate of applied science degree in engineering systems technology with a concentration in mechatronics which is a combination of mechanical engineering, electronics, and computer-controlled processes. Based on the German program, it is a dual-education system which combines vocational classroom education with paid on-the-job training, using hands and minds to learn.
The state-of-the-art Volkswagen Academy is a 162,000-square-foot facility that blends traditional classroom and laboratory instruction with skill-specific training opportunities.
Students are exposed to critical and essential automotive manufacturing concepts and equipment for developing a well-qualified, technology-literate and highly skilled workforce.
Burton has begun his new career with Volkswagen Chattanooga.