Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; Sept. 23, 2013:
DICKSON – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a $693,961 workforce development equipment grant for the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) – Dickson and its new Clarksville expansion site.
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.
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.
“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.”
The majority of the grant, $534,170, will go to both the Dickson and Clarksville locations to address the critical need for equipment in the Industrial Maintenance & Electricity Technology, Mechatronics, and Machine Tool Technology programs. The grant will allow the TCAT-Dickson to purchase training equipment for mechanical systems, electronics, industrial motor controls, hydraulics, pneumatics and wiring. Graduation from any one of these three programs prepares students for the workforce and provides up to 30 credit hours to transfer into a community college toward an Applied Associate Degree in General Technology.
The remaining $159,791 is for the TCAT-Dickson expansion site in Clarksville and equipping the school’s new welding/pipefitting and millwright programs to meet national accreditation standards. Completion of these programs provides a direct entry to the workforce and the ability to transfer 30 credit hours toward an applied associate degree. The equipment will help qualify program graduates in several different high-skill occupations.