Fred Starnes stood between the two training modules set up in the brightly lit classroom.
A group of people stood around the Industrial Maintenance instructor at Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Morristown.
“It was essential to have,” Starnes said, pointing toward the Motor Control Troubleshooter, a piece of instructional equipment a federal grant helped buy. “Troubleshooting is one of the most essential things we need.”
U.S. Department of Agriculture State Director Jim Tracy, along with representatives for U.S. Rep. Phil Roe and U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn and local officials, took a tour of TCAT-Morristown Wednesday to see with their own eyes how federal grant money helped with teaching at the technical school.
The school received $67,687 from a federal USDA Rural Business Development grant and TCAT provided an additional $14,308 for a total of $81,995, said Chris Edmonds, business and industry coordinator for TCAT-Morristown.
The grant is being used to buy equipment for four training programs at the college: Automotive Technology, Collision Repair Technology, Industrial Maintenance and Machine Tool Technology.
Edmonds said the grant money also helped purchase an enclosed cargo trailer. The trailer will be transformed into a mobile training lab, allowing equipment to be transported to TCAT-Morristown’s branch campus in Hawkins County and other locations, Edmonds said.
As the group toured TCAT-Morristown Wednesday, they stopped at two locations, Auto Mechanics and Industrial Maintenance.
Mike Parton, auto mechanics instructor, showed Tracy and others torque wrenches, bought by the federal grant, which specifically shows how much a bolt should be torqued.
Parton told the group the tools were essential for automotive students.
“Everyone needs to know how to torque,” he said.
The small group then made its way to Industrial Maintenance where Starnes awaited the group.
He showed off the troubleshooter, along with a transformer trainer.
Both of those pieces of equipment cost about $8,000 each.
Tracy listened to the explanations of how each piece of equipment operates and how students utilize the equipment.
“You need this kind of equipment to teach and learn,” Tracy said.
The grant money helped pay for a variety of training simulators and snap-on training wrenches.
Edmonds said the school is thankful for the money.
“The funding provided by the USDA Rural Development Grant has strengthened several of the college’s programs and allows for the equipment to be shared across the region,” Edmonds said. “There are not words to describe how thankful we are at the technical college for our USDA Rural Development partnership.”