MEMPHIS – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced more than $2.77 million in workforce development grants to the Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Memphis (TCAT) and Southwest Tennessee Community College.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 Gov. Haslam’s “Drive to 55” effort to increase the number of Tennesseans with post-secondary credentials. Today’s announcement totals $2,774,488 in state funds for workforce development.
“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.”
TCAT – Memphis will receive grants of $550,000 and $663,398 respectively for equipment to enhance its programs in two areas: the Avionics and Aircraft Maintenance programs and the Advanced Manufacturing program. The Avionics and Aircraft Maintenance funds will provide equipment comparable to industry standard by funding an Aeroism Boeing Virtual Procedures Trainer, improving the hands-on training offered. The Advanced Manufacturing funds for TCAT – Memphis will upgrade program equipment, including a new lab expansion, and increase the number of national certifications available for students.
Southwest Tennessee Community College is receiving $1,550,090 for its mechatronics program that integrates business training programs and credit programs to provide students a pathway from adult training to an academic award. The funding will allow Southwest to expand capacity and increase its capability to provide training in multiple locations from Covington to Memphis and into western Fayette County.
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.