The students were enrolled in one of the department’s two programs, Lean Systems Engineering Technology – the first of its kind in the country – and Computer Engineering Technology. Both programs train students in the latest technologies and equip them with practical skills and hands-on experiences necessary to thrive in advanced technology industries.
“Kentucky’s technology economy has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years,” said Rudy Buchheit. “Our goal is to support and grow the Commonwealth’s booming manufacturing economy by putting as many ambitious and capable individuals into the technology workforce as possible.”
The Department of Engineering Technology is made possible through a unique partnership between UK and the Bluegrass Community Technical College (BCTC). Students begin their program at BCTC where, after two years, they receive an Associate of Applied Science. Then, they work towards their bachelor’s degree at the UK College of Engineering for two more years.
Thanks to a $1.7 million investment from Toyota to increase opportunities for underrepresented students, the cohort of 26 students included five Engineering Technology Scholars. In addition to receiving scholarships for their tuition costs, Engineering Technology Scholars are mentored by Toyota engineers and participate in paid co-op rotations with the company, which offers critical hands-on experiences.
“Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, we are offering an unprecedented number of full-tuition scholarships to help create access to STEM education,” said Nelson Akafuah, chair of the Department of Engineering Technology. “The new programs have experienced tremendous growth since they launched. They have almost doubled in size over the past year and continue to grow. We are very excited about helping to develop Central Kentucky’s skilled workforce.”
The department is also actively collaborating with area high schools to integrate a host of dual credit options to create new pathways for students to begin their engineering technology careers.