Stories @ TCAT

Press Release

TCAT Dickson and Clarksville campus purchase new trainers with Perkins READI Grant

By Janine Wine

Communications and Marketing Coordinator

TCAT Dickson


TCAT Dickson Mechatronics Multicraft Tech students on the main campus and Clarksville campus have $500,000 of new equipment thanks to Perkins READI Grant funds the college received. The funds were divided between the two campuses allowing more students to engage with new trainers in less time while clearing the path for new certifications students can attain while enrolled.

Mechatronics Multicraft Tech Instructor Sal Evangelista explained enrollment numbers increased significantly on the Clarksville campus six to eight months ago with the addition of another class. The second class was added to alleviate long wait lists for students wanting to enroll in his program and Industrial Electrical Maintenance/Mechatronics but there were not enough trainers to efficiently manage sixty daytime students.

Another 18 to 20 students used the same trainers in the evenings who are part of the Early Technical College enrolled with the Clarksville Montgomery County School System and at TCAT Dickson’s Clarksville campus simultaneously. Thirty additional students taking Special Industry classes were also using the same equipment during the weeks and hours regular daytime students were not on campus like winter, spring, summer, and fall breaks and during the evenings.

“Now, with the addition of the new equipment, we can support one hundred students. I didn’t have enough trainers to help the forty students I had. Now we have seven new trainers to help sixty daytime students. The new equipment has opened endless possibilities for special industry training including laser alignment vibration analysis with the newest SKF systems which is the industry standard,” Evangelista said. “Students are now training on actual equipment they will be using in the workforce,” he added.

While the funds were designated for the Mechatronics Multicraft Tech programs on both campuses, students enrolled in the Industrial Electrical Maintenance/Mechatronics programs at both locations will also have access to the trainers as the two programs are closely linked.

Bryan Johnson also teaches Mechatronics Multicraft Tech, but he is at the main campus in Dickson. “The new equipment will reduce wait times for trainers and will train students with more up-to-date technology. This is true for the AC/DC trainers, the Fanuc robot trainer, and the mechanical drives trainer,” Johnson said.

Johnson went on to explain that the new Fanuc robot trainer purchase included training he will need to complete before the end of the year. Once completed, students enrolled at the Dickson campus will have the ability to earn Fanuc Robot certifications like the students enrolled at the Clarksville campus. Evangelista had previously completed the Fanuc robot training. The Fanuc certifications make students more marketable upon graduation.

Perkins READI grant funds were also used to purchase new AC/DC trainers which will allow more students to receive the Festo/NC3 electrical certifications which will also give them a leg up when looking for a job.

Additional certifications are good for TCAT students. “In Clarksville alone more than 250 technical positions will need to be filled by 2025. The last three students I placed in the industry are making over $35 per hour and one is making $42 per hour,” Evangelista said.

Both Evangelista and Johnson agree these grant funds have bolstered their programs allowing for the largest equipment purchases since their programs began. “We still have some things the industry would like for us to cover more in depth. We do not have the equipment needed to do that at this time. Grants like this help us achieve these needs,” Johnson explained.

“We aren’t training on dinosaurs. We have new industry standard equipment. I want to invite anyone wanting to check out the new equipment to contact our student services department and schedule a tour whether they are industry partners or perspective students,” Evangelista said.

To schedule a tour at the main campus in Dickson or at the Clarksville extension campus go online to or call 615-441-6220.


TCAT Dickson is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution, is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education, and complies with non-discrimination laws: Title VI, Title IX, Section 504, and ADA. Located on Highway 46 in Dickson, the technical training college also has extension campuses in Clarksville, and Franklin. Additional information about the school is located at

TCAT Dickson students, Caleb Musico, and Christopher Corcione, enrolled at the Clarksville extension campus work on the new SMC-MEC-200 trainer the college purchased with READI Grant funds. They are learning how to set up motors with gears and how to transfer electrical power.

Mechatronics Multicraft Tech Instructor Sal Evangelista (center) helps Kole Guerrero and Carlos Lopez with the new instrumentation trainer. The trainer, purchased with READI Grant funds, allows students to work on analog inputs and outputs combined with PLCs concentrating on flow control and temperature.

Student Rowan Lema works at one of the new AC/DC trainers which provides foundation knowledge on AC and DC electrical control systems and proper use of a multimeter. The addition of AC/DC trainers will offer students the ability to earn NC3 certifications that were not possible before.

Sal Evangelista works with student Jasmine Maynard-Sigmon on the new Fanuc certification cart with pick and place and vacuum fixture capabilities. The robot also has a photo vision system and integrated conveyor station which is new technology for the classroom. The photo vision system allows the robot to distinguish between two photos and pick up the one you tell it to pick up.

Students Jasper Miller and Khalil Turner work on a Programable Logic Controller (PLC). The addition of the PLC allows for simulation capability and analog capability the campuses did not have before.