TCAT hosts Signing Day for incoming students

Published 9:00 am Friday, February 16, 2018

Several local students took part in a nationwide event on Thursday when they signed letters of intent to attend the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Elizabethton after they graduate high school.

TCAT hosted a special ceremony Thursday morning as part of the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3)’s fifth annual National Career and Technical (CTE) Letter of Intent Signing Day. More than 60 technical institutions across the country hosted Signing Day ceremonies tied together by live, nationwide simulcasts.

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As part of Signing Day, the students signed letters of intent for their chosen program of study, got to meet some of the instructors in their fields, and received a TCAT ballcap.

“By signing incoming students to Letters of Intent, we are telling them that a place has been reserved for them,” said Dean Blevins, president of TCAT Elizabethton. “Technical education will prepare them for a strong career.”

Students from high schools in the TCAT service region took part in the Signing Day ceremony, which was also attended by local leaders and representatives from some local companies that recruit employees from TCAT programs.

Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey spoke to the student about the long and successful history of the TCAT in Elizabethton and also issued a challenge to each of the students.

“My challenge to each of you is to keep reaching for the stars,” Humphrey said. “Your future is bright and reachable for every one of you.”

Josh Lashley of Snap-On Tools encouraged the students to work hard in their programs and acquire the skills to be successful in their careers.

“It’s OK to be a teacher’s pet in a technical or trade school,” Lashley said with a laugh. “That pet position will translate into a really got job placement.”

Several of those who spoke to the students talked about the skills gap currently present in the workforce and the need for more individuals to complete technical career programs.

“There is a shortage of skilled labor out there,” said Dan Lee of Trane Building Services/Ingersoll Rand. “You’re wanted, you’re needed, and you’re important.”

Lee also praised the quality of the programs and training available at TCAT.

“This place is a crown jewel,” Lee said. “Tennessee is a leader in technical education across the country, and TCAT here in Elizabethton is a leader in technical education in Tennessee.”

For more information on TCAT or its programs of study, contact TCAT Elizabethton at 423-543-0070 or visit