Stories @ TCAT

Robert Reedy, chairman of the General Advisory Committee at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Elizabethton, and TCAT Director Dean Blevins, pictured from left, reviewed the strategic plan and fielded questions at a recent meeting of the TCAT General Advisory Committee.

Blevins told the committee that TCAT Elizabethton is collaborating with area school systems, workforce development organizations and employers to better meet job training needs of employers in the region. Blevins also said efforts are still ongoing to secure funding to establish an extension campus in Johnson County, something that committee member John Abe Teague, field representative for Congressman Phil Roe, said was needed.

In October, TCAT Elizabethton applied for an $8.3 million grant from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to open an extension campus in Mountain City to support Governor Bill Haslam’s goal for 55 percent of all Tennesseans to hold a certification or postsecondary credential by the year 2025.

Blevins said funds were to be used to renovate and equip the former TVA Spec Building in the Doe Valley Industrial Park, located at 241 Industrial Park Road in Mountain City.  The 50,000 square foot spec building would be converted into four shops, four classrooms, a Tech Foundations Lab and an Industrial Training Lab.

Although unsuccessful in obtaining the THEC grant, Blevins said TCAT Elizabethton will pursue funding through Tennessee Board of Regents capital building projects.

Blevins also reviewed the TCAT Elizabethton Strategic Plan with the committee. TCAT Elizabethton plans to add two new programs at the Main Campus, resulting in 40 new students enrolled. Machine Tool Technology will begin in January 2017. Cosmetology is planned for 2018 following a building renovation.

In addition, TCAT Elizabethton plans to work with Bristol City Schools to establish an extension campus at Tennessee High School in Bristol to provide adult training programs and allow dual enrollment opportunities for Tennessee High School students; and work with Washington County government to establish a TCAT Elizabethton extension campus in Washington County.

John Lee, National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) certified training instructor at TCAT Elizabethton, told the committee that TCAT Elizabethton will be expanding the number of NC3 certifications, which already total 864 in 2016, and develop additional industrial training partnerships.

Blevins also announced that TCAT Elizabethton will host the Council on Occupational Education accreditation reaffirmation team in September 2017. For the 12-month period ending Aug. 31, 2016, Blevins said TCAT Elizabethton had a 90 percent program completion, 89 percent job placement and 88 percent licensure pass rate.