Stories @ TCAT

Danny O’Quinn, vice president of TCAT Elizabethton, told members of the college General Advisory Committee Thursday (Dec. 19)  that development of several extension campus sites were moving along.

--Mountain City:  Last year, Johnson County school and government officials approached TCAT Elizabethton about offering some evening and dual enrollment programs at Johnson County High School.  “They wanted to start out with diesel training or the Automotive Program and move forward with other programs later,” O’Quinn said. 

TCAT Elizabethton, Johnson County, and the First Tennessee Development District secured an ARC Grant and a USDA grant, totaling $375,000, to purchase equipment for diesel training as part of the schools’ automotive training. Johnson County then began construction on an extension to their automotive shop to house this program. 

“With the support of local industry partner, Danny Herman Trucking, we were able to get the equipment required to start this program.  TBR approved the Diesel Program at Johnson County High School this past week.  We have submitted the required paper work to get the approvals from COE and Dept. of Education.  The extension to the automotive shop is 90% complete.  TCAT plans to start offering evening classes in the next few months and dual enrollment classes next fall,” O’Quinn said.

--Washington County: “TCAT Elizabethton did receive some disappointing news.  We did not receive a Department of Labor Grant that would have equipped the campus with $2 million worth of equipment for six different training programs at the former Boones Creek Elementary School. We are currently applying for a smaller ARC grant to start a construction trades program that will include training in carpentry, framing, masonry, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing,” O’Quinn said.

TCAT Elizabethton and government officials are also looking at different renovation plans to determine the best course of action to be able to house the most programs possible in the quickest time frame possible.  “We have had several meetings this month and have made plans for meetings next month to determine how to move forward with this project,” he said.

--Bristol, Tennessee: A local developer approached TCAT Elizabethton in the spring to discuss a possible presence in Bristol. The developer wants to construct a higher education facility in one of Bristol’s “Opportunity Zones”.  This facility will have a heavy TCAT presence with several TCAT programs offered there.  The project is moving forward, and we hope to have more information in the near future, O’Quinn said...

--Unicoi County: Unicoi County High School and the Ayers Foundation approached TCAT Elizabethton about opening an evening and dual enrollment Welding Program located at Unicoi County High School.  “We are currently working on making this happen with the aid of the Ayers Foundation and some possible Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds.  This could lead to the possible construction of a new welding shop located at Unicoi County High School with all the room and equipment needed to  provide TCAT training,” O’Quinn said.

TCAT Elizabethton hopes to receive more information soon on Governor Bill Lee’s $1 million GIVE grant to benefit dual enrollment training, as well as the Advanced Manufacturing Technology program scheduled to begin at TCAT Elizabethton in January 2020.  O’Quinn said the rest of the grant will complete the setup of the first two STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) labs at high schools in the area.

The GIVE program prioritizes learning opportunities in rural counties and enhances career and technical education statewide. The program prioritized economically distressed and at-risk counties. Earlier this year, the General Assembly approved $25 million in the governor’s budget for the program.

In other committee action, TCAT President Dean Blevins requested a review and adoption of the TCAT Elizabethton Strategic Plan and distributed a copy of the latest program completion, job placement and licensure pass rate data (CPL) at TCAT Elizabethton the past 12 months. It is required by the college’s accrediting agency, the Council on Occupational Education. For the past several years, TCAT Elizabethton CPL has been in the 90 percentile. 

Blevins also outlined Cosmetology, Criminal Justice for jailers and Advanced Manufacturing, new programs at TCAT Elizabethton now accepting students.