Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; September 17, 2013:
DYERSBURG – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a $589,000 workforce development grant for Dyersburg State Community College to help meet the advanced manufacturing needs of the area.
The governor proposed and the General Assembly approved $16.5 million in this year’s budget for equipment and technology related to workforce development programs at Tennessee colleges of applied technology and community colleges, part of Haslam’s “Drive to 55” effort to increase the number of Tennesseans with post-secondary credentials.
“Currently only 32 percent of Tennesseans have certificates or degrees beyond high school, and studies show that by 2025, that number must be 55 percent to meet workforce demands,” Haslam said. “We must have qualified Tennesseans to fill those positions, and these grants are going to have an immediate impact because these programs have high placement rates in fields that are looking to fill jobs now.”
This $589,022 grant will help the college establish two advanced manufacturing labs – in Dyersburg and Tipton County – and move forward with its proposed Associate of Applied Science degree in Advanced Manufacturing. The program will have industry-recognized certificates embedded in the curriculum including: the certified production technician and four mechatronics certificates.
In addition, to ensure a future pipeline of students and skilled workers in advanced manufacturing, Dyersburg State is partnering with area high schools through dual enrollment to offer advanced manufacturing courses to high schools students. And the college is working with the Colleges of Applied Technology at Covington and Newbern to ensure students there can easily transfer into this new program. This program will also allow working adults to improve their skills to enable them to apply and obtain new advanced manufacturing jobs.
These strategic investments resulted from the governor meeting with businesses and education officials across the state last fall to better understand workforce development needs. One of the most common themes he heard was the lack of capacity and equipment at Tennessee colleges of applied technology and community colleges to meet job demand, so these grants are aimed at addressing those gaps.