Haslam To Highlight Role Of Technical Colleges in Drive To 55

Tuesday, June 09, 2015 | 10:12am

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will travel across the state this month highlighting the critical role Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs) play in preparing the workforce and achieving the Drive to 55.

Haslam included in his FY 2015-2016 budget amendment and the General Assembly approved $5 million to fund new equipment at TCATs to meet job training demands across Tennessee. This month Haslam will announce targeted investments in high demand programs at TCATs.

“Our TCATs have a great track record of success, and as a state we want to allocate resources strategically, where those funds can be most effective,” Haslam said. “The state’s ability to attract and retain business is tied directly to the quality of our workforce, and across our 27 technical colleges, students are gaining the necessary skills to succeed and go on to higher paying jobs and better lives.”

Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology have an 80 percent graduation rate and an 85 percent job placement rate across the system.

The first announcement is today, June 9 in Clarksville at 1:45 p.m. CDT at TCAT Dickson’s Clarksville campus, 135 International Blvd.

By 2025, 55 percent of the jobs available in Tennessee will require a post-secondary credential, and currently only 33 percent of Tennesseans qualify. The governor launched his Drive to 55 two years ago to increase the number of Tennesseans with a post-secondary degree or certificate.

Earlier this year the governor highlighted Tennessee Reconnect, a last-dollar scholarship program allowing an adult to attend a TCAT free of tuition and fees. The program was part of Haslam’s landmark Tennessee Promise legislation passed last year.

To date 10,707 Tennesseans have applied to the Reconnect program. Adults can still sign up at their local TCAT where they will then be guided through the admission and financial aid process.