BARTLETT, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – It’s no secret Memphis area companies need more skilled local workers and soon they’ll be a new, available talent pool.
Wednesday afternoon, leaders with the Tennessee College of Applied Technology, or TCAT, broke ground on the newest campus in Bartlett. Community and business leaders call it a game changer.
When the facility opens in the fall of 2020, up to 400 students each year will learn everything from making cars run or installing air conditioning systems.
Those in charge of the campus said the training is specifically tailored to what companies in this area need, and want, in their new hires.
“This is something that I’ve dreamed of for a long time,” Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald said.
And that dream will soon be a reality on an 18-acre site in Bartlett, the future home of TCAT’s fourth teaching site in Shelby County.
“With TCAT Memphis, you’ve got the perfect alignment; education, industry, and economic development,” Michael Garner with the Phillips Corporation said.
After area employers weighed in, TCAT leaders tailored their curriculum for the campus. Students will graduate with skills in fields including automotive technology, heating and air conditioning, and heavy equipment.
“The students that prepare here for careers will be readily-hired by an industry that is currently constrained by a lack of skilled employees,” Roy Smith with the Greater Memphis Medical Device Council said.
Even better, thanks to a host of federal and state assistance, most students who don’t already have a college degree will be able to attend tuition free.
“That is an anchor that would weigh many people down,” Smith said.
The campus will also compliment existing partnerships between TCAT, Shelby County, and Bartlett Schools, where high school juniors and seniors earn college credit and gain hirable skills.
“Employers are telling us that they need more skilled employees right now in these high-demand programs,” TCAT President Roland Rayner said.
One recent survey estimated nearly 2/3 of jobs created in the future will not require a four-year college degree.
Money from a state grant will help build the TCAT facility in Bartlett.