Gov. Bill Haslam announced more than $1.2 million in workforce development grants for Chattanooga State Community College and Tennessee College of Applied Technology.
The governor proposed and the General Assembly approved $16.5 million in this year’s budget for equipment and technology related to workforce development programs at Tennessee colleges of applied technology and community colleges, part of Haslam’s Drive to 55 effort to increase the number of Tennesseans with postsecondary credentials, according to a news release.
The investments came after the governor met with businesses and education officials across the state last fall to better understand workforce development needs.
He continually heard that there was a lack of capacity and equipment at Tennessee colleges of applied technology and community colleges to meet job demand, so these grants are aimed at addressing those gaps.
"Currently, only 32 percent of Tennesseans have certificates or degrees beyond high school, and studies show that by 2025, that number must be 55 percent to meet workforce demands," Haslam said in a prepared statement. "We must have qualified Tennesseans to fill those positions, and these grants are going to have an immediate impact because these programs have high placement rates in fields that are looking to fill jobs now."
Chattanooga State received a total grant award of $960,550 to fund needed equipment for a new nuclear power plant simulation lab and an expansion of its advanced mechatronics program.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of nuclear technicians is expected to grow by 14 percent from 2010-2020.
The Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Chattanooga received a total grant award of $330,236 to fund necessary equipment to become a certified institution in an additional five areas—diagnostic certification, diesel certification, undercar certification, torque certification and tool control systems certification, according to a news release.
Graduates of the program at TCAT-Chattanooga can become employees of a variety of area companies such as Volkswagen, Peterbilt, McKee Foods or Nichols Marine.
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