Stories @ TCAT

From left: Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Murfreesboro President Carol Puryear; Chancellor Flora W. Tydings; Volunteer State Community College President Orinthia Montague; Tim Dellinger, vice president for financial and administrative affairs, Jackson State Community College; TCAT Knoxville President Kelli Chaney; TCAT Crossville President Cliff Wightman, and TCAT Dickson President Arrita Summers

JUNE 28, 2022 - The Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Dickson & Clarksville Campus has received a $1 million Perkins READI Grant to boost career and technical education programs, through the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) and the federal Perkins Grant program.

TCAT Dickson is one of seven Tennessee community and technical colleges receiving the grants totaling just over $5.7 million following a competitive application process.

“We are grateful for this generous investment in our students,” said TCAT Dickson President Arrita Summers.  “This opportunity allows us to make exciting improvements in our programs, offering our students current and competitive skills to be more successful in the workforce.”

Programs at both Dickson and Clarksville campuses will receive needed equipment, industry certification kits, supplies and professional development resources.  The largest single expenditure of nearly $250,000 will equip the machine tool program at both campuses with new wire EDM (electrical discharge machining) machines.

Perkins funds are awarded by the federal government under provisions of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, as amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act of 2018.  TBR established the READI grants using unexpended Perkins funding from previous fiscal years that would otherwise expire this year.

Federal Perkins funding is awarded annually for career and technical education (CTE) programs, with a typical award per institution of between $50,000 and $100,000. The READI Grant created a rare opportunity for a college to receive a one-time award amount worth up to $1 million in funding.

Colleges were given an opportunity to apply for READI grants for these purposes: purchasing equipment for training to help get students “READI” for future careers; engaging high school students, in college-credit opportunities such as dual enrollment programs, and in exposing them to innovative CTE programs; high-quality professional development for CTE faculty and staff, and other purposes allowed under the Perkins Act.

TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings commended the colleges for applying and using the funds to benefit career and technical education.

“While there were many good applications, singling out the best was a difficult process. I look forward to seeing how the colleges make a difference in the lives of their students and their communities with this funding,” the chancellor said.

Michael Tinsley, TBR assistant vice chancellor for student success, said the recipient colleges submitted a broad list of equipment, services and programs that they plan to use the funding for, including CTE camps for students; professional development; industry certification exams, and training equipment for such career and technical education programs as automotive and diesel technology, building construction, computer information technology, cosmetology, culinary arts, dental assisting, digital graphic design, heating ventilation and air conditioning, mechatronics, nursing and welding.

The Perkins READI Grants were awarded to the following institutions:

Chattanooga State Community College - $1,123,200 
Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Dickson - $1 million
TCAT Knoxville - $1 million
TCAT Murfreesboro - $1 million
Jackson State Community College - $673,000 
Volunteer State Community College - $500,000
TCAT Crossville - $424,659