Technology college adds new automotive program
Published 9:34 am Monday, August 17, 2015
Elizabethton’s Tennessee College of Applied Technology is already a national leader for the number of certifications students can obtain and now they have added another.
TCAT is the first of 27 facilities in the state to offer a Mopar Level 1 technician certification to graduates of the automotive and diesel programs.
“We are one of 10 in the nation,” said National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) Coordinator John Lee.
The certification is called the CAP Local program and is in partnership with NC3.
“We have 10 dealerships from across southeastern Tennessee here today,” Lee said. “They are here to look at and employ tomorrow’s technicians.”
This certification could help the college maintain its already impressive job placement rate. According to a TCAT press release, the automotive technology program has a 100 percent student completion rate and a 96 percent placement rate. The diesel technology program has a 92 percent completion rate and a 91 percent placement rate, according to the press release.
“Studies have said that in the next five years the state of California will be 10,000 technicians short,” Lee said. “So how many are we going to be short nationwide? Right now, we have about three jobs for every graduate at TCAT.”
Adam Mullins, owner of Elizabethton’s Mullins Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM dealership, was excited that this program would be so close to his business.
“We see a lot of benefits,” Mullins said. “We actually have two technicians from here right now.”
TCAT of Elizabethton Director Dean Blevins sees only positive outcomes from the partnership with Mopar and NC3.
“This will certainly increase our level of performance and quality of education as an institution,” Blevins said. “This will increase expectations of our teachers, faculty and students. Also, the jobs will be available for these graduates. This will be a big boost to our economy locally.”
The announcement falls in line with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s initiative called Drive for 55.
“The governor wants to see 55 percent of all Tennesseans have some kind of certification,” Lee said. “All the TCATs in the state started looking into ways they could supply certifications to our students.”
Lee hopes to see the trade school trend continue to increase. Blevins shared the same sentiment and confirmed that the trend will continue to grow.
“A we continue to move the college forward with Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, these are the kinds of things we have to embrace,” Blevins said. “We have to meet the number of increased enrollment we are going to see here Sept. 1. By increasing all the things we can do and doing them better, we’re going to embrace those programs.”