Stories @ TCAT

Graduates of Electricity-Electronics, Millwright-Industrial Maintenance and Pipefitting and Plumbing training programs at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Elizabethton are getting an introduction to potential employers via an NCCER national registry when they graduate.

TCAT Elizabethton is an accredited training and education facility for the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), which develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires.

TCAT Director Dean Blevins said TCAT Elizabethton meets or exceeds all eight accreditation standards of NCCER. Blevins attributes this value-added student benefit to strategic planning.  “Strategic planning is recognized as a necessity for the effective operation of TCAT Elizabethton and the statewide Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) system as a whole. If TCAT Elizabethton is to continue serving the needs of students and employers, then the college must engage in a structured program of long range planning.”

In addition to TCAT Elizabethton’s strategic plan, Blevins said the TBR staff annually conducts a “Program Evaluation and Site Survey” to gauge the effectiveness of training programs. “It is a comprehensive evaluation by a staff member at the TBR Central Office that includes on-site inspections of facilities and evaluations of enrollment, placement, and completion numbers for each training program,” Blevins said.

NCCER certified instructors at TCAT Elizabethton, Philip Peters (Electricity-Electronics) Brian Irick (Millwright-Industrial Maintenance), and Tim Pierce (Pipefitting-Plumbing) master NCCER trainer, ensure NCCER Accreditation Guidelines and Program Compliance standards are met daily in the classroom and shop areas.

NCCER standards require technical education programs to meet industry standards for construction craft and to support students’ occupational objectives. Other standards require proper curriculum, instructors competent in their field of study, adequate equipment and supplies, safety and sanitation training, and integration of leadership in the curriculum.    

Program advisory committees, representing business and industry, meet twice each year to provide feedback to TCAT Elizabethton on needed improvements in curriculum, equipment and training.

Periodically, NCCER evaluates TCAT Elizabethton programs to determine if the college complies with NCCER’s Accreditation Guidelines & Program Compliance.

TCAT Elizabethton is a designated National Coalition Certification Center (NC3), one of four in the United States. “Our Automotive, Diesel Powered Equipment and HVAC-Refrigeration programs grant Snap-on (NC3) Certification and Trane (NC3) Certification, respectively.

“As economic and technological advancements place new demands on businesses and industry, TCAT Elizabethton will assists business and industry to fulfill employee training and retraining needs.

“We began as the State Area Vocational Technical School in Elizabethton in 1965 and have operated continuously since that time. Our programs have been accredited by Commission of the Council on Occupational Education for more than 40 years,” Blevins said.