Despite the many challenges the pandemic has posed to both industry and education, Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Morristown has strengthened its footprint in Greene County, where the college has one of its largest student body this year.
TCAT Morristown uses the Greene Technology Center (GTC), where it runs college classes after 3:30 p.m. and trains many local high school students enrolled in the tech center through dual enrollment during the school day.
Although the pandemic has pushed back those plans for a year from 2020, the nearby Thomas Howard McNeese education center now also serves as a TCAT service center, and the college’s industrial electricity students recently gained hands-on experience in preparing for it. of the building to house three programs.
The expansion adds a new heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) and refrigeration technology program as well as more space for existing industrial electrical and cosmetology programs, which will be relocated. The additional space for cosmetology will allow for an additional daytime TCAT program in this building.
âWere excited. COVID hurt us a bit,â said Councilor Sandy Fine. âIt was definitely a setback as it takes a long time to get a new program approved, and site visits have been suspended and have taken off. delay, but industrial electricity students get a really good hands-on training here by setting up their classroom and getting the building ready.
He said supply shortages had also impacted some of the work, but it’s coming to fruition and the McNeese Building will soon be home to many more activities.
âIt just takes a while, but we’re good to go. It’s very exciting, âsaid Fine.
Work was underway to prepare HVAC classrooms at the end of October, while the industrial electrical class plans to complete its transition to its new area by January, and day cosmetology classes are expected to start in the summer. , once the work on this point area is completed.
âThere will be a lot more room for cosmetology,â Fine said, and instructor Kim Brewer said the added square footage would be a big plus.
âI can’t wait to go next. We will be able to bring in more customers, and that will be a huge benefit, âsaid Brewer.
Work throughout the building is supported by industrial electricity students.
âWe’re basically redoing all of the lights and wiring. We convert all the lighting to LED for energy efficiency, and we re-cover the entire building as TCAT needs, âsaid instructor Johnny Franklin. âNormally that would be a job for a maintenance crew, but it’s a good experience. “
He said his students also built the control panels used as training stations, which is typical, and that they will be moving the others from their current classroom to the tech center.
âIt’s pretty cool to be able to do that,â said Harper Cobble, one of the students who installed LED lights in the building.
âThe most important factor for me is that we give back by doing this, and whenever students have the opportunity to learn a career with hands-on experience, it pays long term dividends,â Franklin added.
In addition to the programs transferred to the McNeese Building, TCAT Morristown offers programs in Machine Tool Technology, Computer Information Technology, Welding and Automotive Technology at GTC. All are open to high school students with dual registration.
Since the deadline for dual enrollment for the fall semester has passed, while TCAT operates on an open-entry enrollment basis allowing students to begin learning at their convenience, Fine said, plans call for that dual enrollment opportunities in the HVAC program be available in the spring. .
âThere is a great demand in all of these programs, and we have a good placement after graduation,â Fine said. âCompanies are struggling to recruit workers, let alone skilled workers, but we’re doing our best to help here at TCAT. “
TCAT Morristown president Jerry Young told members of the two local school boards, which meet quarterly to oversee the tech center, at the April meeting which saw the board approve an agreement for the use According to the McNeese Building’s TCAT, one of the 1,146 students trained by TCAT in the previous 18 months, 81% had completed their training during the pandemic and 94% were placed in jobs related to their training.
He also said Greene County has one of the largest student bodies in college, with 29% of its student body in TCAT Morristown’s 10-county service area.
Fine said there are still places available in many programs for students who would like to start this fall.
âSearch us online and make sure you select Greeneville. That explains everything, but if you have any questions, feel free to call admissions or call me here at the GTC after 3pm, âFine said.