TCAT – Elizabethton continues tech growth, receives donation from AT&T

Published 4:34 pm Thursday, September 13, 2018

With an ever-changing technological world, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) campus in Elizabethton is looking to do its part to lead the charge.

To assist with the initiative, TCAT – Elizabethton was able to receive a $3,000 donation from AT&T to support training on campus for high-skill jobs requiring technology-based skills.

Joined by State Representatives Timothy Hill, John Holsclaw and State Senator Jon Lundberg, TCAT – Elizabethton and AT&T representatives held a quick reception inside the facility’s meeting area Thursday morning to go over what the funds will go toward.

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This marks the second consecutive year that the Elizabethton campus has received funding from AT&T. The donation is part of the company’s $81,000 gift to the Tennessee Board of Regents to fund 26 TCATs, including Elizabethton, with a $3,000 gift to purchase new wireless networking setups to help teach security, infrastructure and planning. The finding will also go toward implementing and protecting networks and operating plans.

“As Tennessee’s economy continues to grow, we must focus on workforce readiness to ensure employers have the skilled workers they need to flourish,” said Sen. Rusty Crowe via email. Crowe was unable to attend Thursday’s event. “Colleges of applied technology are instrumental in preparing our workforce to meet the needs of an ever-changing 21st Century economy.”

Holsclaw, who represents Elizabethton in the House, stated, “To meet the needs of our ever-growing economy, Tennessee’s institutions of higher education must ensure new entrants to the workforce are prepared and obtain the requisite knowledge, skills and abilities to succeed in a modern workplace. Through programs like those offered at the Elizabethton College of Applied Technology, pathways are created for non-traditional students to gain these skills, benefiting all Tennesseans.”

Sen. Lundberg and Rep. Hill also stressed the importance of having the resources available to prepare the workforce for the changing world of technology.

Dean Blevins, director of the TCAT-Elizabethton campus, said business partnerships, like the one with AT&T, has helped the campus thrive over the years with high graduation and job placement rates.

“Our partnerships with businesses and industries are paramount,” said Blevins. “That is the key thing that helps us make sure these businesses are getting a properly trained and educated workforce. This donation really does help us and sets us apart to make sure we’re training our students on the very latest in technology and equipment so they’re prepared when they enter a job.”

Blevins added the information technology courses at the TCAT campus have grown in popularity with various certifications being offered in a wide variety of IT-based fields. The partnerships between TCAT – Elizabethton and AT&T can be viewed as far back as over five years ago with both working together in a countywide fiber optic study.