The Tennessee College of Applied Technologies in Morristown was one of 28 selected for state funds through the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) program which prioritizes learning opportunities in rural counties and enhances career and technical education statewide.

Gov. Bill Lee announced Morristown will receive the full $1 million requested for the Five Rivers Partnership for Future Ready Pathways program.

“The GIVE Grant will continue the work that began with our LEAP 1.0 and 2.0 grants. Focusing on what our regional manufacturing partners identified as the most critical technical skills they need to stay competitive,” said Chris Edmunds, TCAT’s Business and Industry Coordinator. “Educating students of the career opportunities, outlining the pathway to a career, and then providing the resources and training to obtain the required skill sets for the multitude of high paying jobs that exist throughout the region will forever change a life for the better.”

Edmunds said the Five Rivers Partnership for Future Ready Pathways program will address the workforce development needs identified by regional manufacturing employers through a series of recent meetings and further detailed in an extensive employer survey. All activities, initiatives, focus areas, and equipment included in the proposal are direct requests from the regions manufacturing employers.

“I would like to say that the success of this proposal is a direct result of the support and guidance we received from our regional manufacturing partners and the close collaboration received from the CTE Directors in our eight partnering school systems,” said Chris Edmunds, TCAT’s Business and Industry Coordinator. “It was an absolute pleasure to work on this proposal with such a wise and dedicated group of professionals.”

“We are proud to work with the General Assembly to pass the GIVE initiative and expand career and technical education for Tennessee students,” said Lee. “These funds directly support our workforce development efforts in distressed and at-risk counties and are a key component of our strategy to prioritize rural Tennessee.”

State Sen. Steve Southerland said he’s thrilled for TCAT-Morristown and the region.

“This is a major grant,” said Southerland. “Businesses that come before us in the General Assembly constantly reiterate that one of the most important factors in locating or expanding here is a skilled workforce. We have worked diligently to fill the skills gap and to give our citizens more opportunities to succeed. The GIVE Act grants will advance our efforts and positively impact the lives of our students and their families for many years to come.”

Earlier this year, the General Assembly approved $25 million in the governor’s budget to incentivize collaboration at the local level among stakeholders such as higher education institutions, K-12 and economic development partners.

The award process began in June when the Tennessee Higher Education Commission issued a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP). Each proposal was required to show local data that clearly identified both workforce needs and a sustainable plan utilizing equipment, work-based learning experiences, or recognized industry certifications to increase the state’s competitiveness and postsecondary attainment goals.

The program prioritized economically distressed and at-risk counties in the RFP process. The 28 funded projects will serve all economically distressed counties and 18 of the 24 at-risk counties.

“It was an exciting moment when I received notification TCAT Morristown had been awarded a one million dollar grant through Governor Lee’s G.I.V.E initiative,” TCAT President Jerry Young said. “This grant was truly a team effort from educational, business, industry and local government partners in our multi county service area who recognizes the increased demand for a highly trained, skilled workforce. As the college implements the grant it will increase the availability for technical training in the Lakeway Region and provide opportunities for students to add important skills to their resumes. TCAT Morristown is honored to be the hub for advanced technical training in our region. Our mission is student success and workforce development.

Edmunds noted the program is in partnership with:

• Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce

• Cocke County Schools

• Grainger County Schools

• Greene County Schools

• Greeneville City Schools

• Hamblen County Schools

• Hancock County Schools

• Hawkins County Schools

• Jefferson County Schools

Participating industries include ABB, Arconic, Burke-Ailey, Clayton Homes, Colortech, Cooper Standard, Huf North America, Iatric Manufacturing, Iconex, JTEKT, Kawasaki Tennessee, Kiefer Manufacturing, MAHLE, Meritor, Oshkosh Manufacturing Overman International, Parker Hannifin, Renold Jeffrey, Rich Products, Team Technologies, Tuff Torq, Van Hool and ZF Active Safety and Electronics