Million-dollar grant promotes tech jobs in Morristown

Published: Jan. 3, 2020 at 6:04 PM EST
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The Morristown community is the latest of several Tennessee areas to receive part of a $25 million grant program that promotes vocational education.

On Friday afternoon, Governor Bill Lee announced the $1 million investment in Morristown's Tennessee College of Applied Technology. At this TCAT location, the grant is for a collaborative project with the community called Five Rivers Partnership for Future-Ready Pathways.

"They've partnered with industries in the region to make sure that the skills that are attained are what is needed for them when they get out in the workforce," explained Governor Lee.

Instructor Garrett Franklin learned about electrical work at the TCAT school, and now he teaches other students. He said he constantly receives inquiries from local industries ready to hire graduates from the program. In less than two years, they can be ready to work, and Franklin said he sees about a 90% placement rate for jobs.

"We're surrounded by industry," said Franklin. "They need manufacturing, they need engineers, they need electricians, they need industrial maintenance."

Lee said when he travels the nation and the globe to visit top industrial leaders, he is asked if Tennessee has a skilled workforce. He sees the GIVE Program (Governor's Investment in Vocational Education) as an answer to this need. "Creating a workforce so that companies can be started here, businesses can grow and expand here, and other companies can relocate here."

Other East Tennessee schools receiving GIVE grant funds include Pellissippi State, Roane State and TCAT Knoxville as well as Elizabethton.

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