TCAT Plans New Truck Driving School on Phipps Bend Campus | Business


SURGOINSVILLE – A new truck driving school could arrive on the Tennessee College of Applied Science campus in Phipps Bend as early as this spring, while other new TCAT programs are expected to begin at high schools in Hawkins County in the fall.

Jerry Young, who is president of the parent campus of the Phipps Bend TCAT in Morristown, reported Thursday to the Hawkins County Industrial Development Board on several new TCAT programs on the horizon, both on the Phipps Bend campus and in high schools.

Young said he came into contact with a truck driver training company he worked with while on the Crossville TCAT campus who wanted to start a program at the Hawkins County campus.

“Everything is set up there,” Young told the IDB. “There would be a place for them to drive. The class is ready to go. His company now has several contracts with Kingsport, as well as with the industrial park there, which could be of benefit to those industries as well as to him. “

The only potential setback is that the TCAT begins the accreditation process in October and would not be allowed to start a new program less than six months before the start.

“It’s going to slow me down,” Yound said. “We will try to get this truck driving school approved at the March Board of Directors meeting (TCAT), and maybe get some students enrolled quickly so I can go past that six month deadline.”

If the Truck Driving School is not operational by May 1, it will have to wait until the accreditation process is complete.

Teaching soft skills in high school

Rebecca Baker, IDB coordinator, told the board on Thursday that she was contacted last week by one of the county’s largest industries to talk about the skills gaps she was facing in the sector. industrial, especially with recent high school graduates.

“There is a big skills gap between high school and the job market,” Baker told the IDB. “It’s a lot of the lack of machine skills, basic math skills, reading comprehension, and computer program skills like Excel and Word and that sort of thing. But he said number one was soft skills.

Soft skills generally include attendance, punctuality, attitude, work ethic and professionalism.

Baker said she and Young were working together to meet the needs of local industries and use some available government funding to fill “soft skills” as well as other training gaps.

“What I call the work ethic”

Baker will send a questionnaire to all industries in the county asking them to list the top 5 soft skills gaps they face in their business, but Young said he can already guess what they would be based on. its discussions with industries in the region.

“We’re trying to bring in more programs into high school to get them involved while they’re still in high school,” Young said. “I’m hoping that instead of just sending the high school kids over there (to the Phipps Bend TCAT), we can move in and work in the high schools – and start developing some of these (soft skills) – what I call l work ethic. Show up on time. Work while you’re at it. Stay away from cell phones. Be able to pass a drug test.

Young added, “Don’t just teach them how to be an electrician. Teach them how to be a good labor electrician. Not just how to be a good maintenance worker, but how to be a good employee maintenance worker. “

Hawkins receives governor’s GIVE grant

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee recently visited the Morristown TCAT to award a $ 1 million Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) grant, which will be used to launch new TCAT programs in high schools across the region.

“This will put equipment into high schools in Hawkins County,” Young said. “Precision measurement training. Some of them will be equipped with hydraulics and pneumatics. … We are trying to get this equipment out by the summer so that it will be available to your high school students by next fall and we will have training in place.

The Hawkins County TCAT has just over 100 students, including dual-enrolled high school students.

“We have seen an increase in the number of dual-enrolled students there, especially in welding, industrial electrical, and industrial maintenance,” Young said. “I had to hire another part-time instructor just to help me with high school. I think he had 10 high school students this morning teaching them industrial wiring.

More new programs at Phipps Bend

Hawkins County received funding from the East Tennessee Workforce Development Board for additional TCAT training programs at the Phipps Bend TCAT campus to meet industry needs in the area.

“Right now it looks like we’re probably going to have a course in hydraulics and pneumatics,” Yound said. “They will be two separate classes. A number (local industries) have signed up for OSHA training for their employees. I think there were five or six industries that wanted to participate in this. Forklift training – a total of 60 people will receive this training. It will be paid through the East Tennessee Workforce Development Board. That money is running out this year, but hopefully we will see another recovery next year. I know the industries appreciate this.

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