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In the last several years, we've seen the economic footprints in new or expanded parts plants and thousands of new jobs. 7-14-14

(WBIR-Roane County) Monday's announcement from Volkswagen on their new SUV is just another sign of Tennessee's growing automotive industry, with no apparent "stop signs" on the horizon.

"The opportunity of the automotive industry, all the different tiers that feed that industry," said Teresa Sherrill Duncan, the vice president of workforce development and student affairs at Roane State Community College. "They're driving that as part of one of our strengths. The advanced manufacturing across automotive spectrums is one of our strengths."

RELATED: Volkswagen announces new SUV for Chattanooga

The school offers a year-long course on automotive manufacturing, one that's seen more interest with the growing automotive sector. Duncan expects more students applying, as Volkswagen announces the expansion of 2,000 more jobs, with the 2016 introduction of the 'CrossBlue' SUV.

"In this area, we all feed off of other large companies in the area, like Volkswagen," she added. "It's exciting because when we get something new, it trickles to all the other industry in the area."

According to the University of Tennessee, the state has ranked best in the nation in automotive manufacturing strength. They said in their report almost 116,000 people work in the industry in some fashion, through companies like Nissan, General Motors and Volkswagen.

The German automotive company's Roane County parts distribution plant is taking notice of Monday's news, with the possibility of growth.

"We're very hopeful that the new announcement of the SUV being built in Chattanooga, that'll cause an expansion here; add new, good jobs to Roane County," said Wade Creswell, the CEO of the Roane Alliance. "(This news will) make us even more hopeful for the economic impact it has on East Tennessee."

Location really plays a role with why we see Tennessee is this 'automotive hot spot.' UT said in their report states 76 percent of all U.S. markets are located within a day's drive to our state.

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