The Cocke County Partnership and Walters State Community College on Friday announced that the Appalachian Regional Commission has provided a $147,000 grant for workforce training.

Dr. Anita Ricker, assistant dean of workforce training at the college said the grant will be used to purchase training equipment for popular manufacturing processes in the college’s service area.

The grant provides funding for programmable logic controller (PLC), process control, and packaging simulation machines.

“This equipment will have an immediate impact on the training we can provide to existing and new industries in our service area,” said Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State.

He said this particular equipment is unique because it is mobile. Instead of a business shutting down production to come to a campus for training, this equipment can actually be temporarily placed into the manufacturing facility for company-specific training.

The equipment was unveiled at the Cocke County Partnership in Newport. Cocke County, an ARC distressed county, was the target county of the grant, though, the equipment may be used in any of the college’s 10 counties.

The new training units can also train operators in trouble shooting skills. In the past such training could be done only on-the-job and then at significant expense.

“The packaging simulation machine, for example, can be placed at any local industry that has a packaging process as part of its manufacturing. We can program that packing simulation machine to run and stop, showing operators common malfunctions and the appropriate fixes. This cuts down on the cost of training and down time,” explained Dr. Ricker.

For information about noncredit workforce training, contact Ricker at 423-798-7953.