JCHS CTE students practice welding on scrap metal. JCHS students use these facilities during the day and, starting October 13, TCAT students will use it during the night. Juniors who decide to sign up for TCAT courses could be certified only a few months after graduating high school. Photo by Meg Dickens.
By Meg Dickens
The Town of Mountain City broke ground on a Career and Technical Education (CTE) building extension at Johnson County High School at the end of 2018 to open a Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) on campus. Since then, the TCAT has been steadily growing and changing, even adding a new program before opening its doors. Johnson County Schools ‘ Career and Technical Education (CTE) Supervisor Herbie Adams took the floor at the Thursday, October 8 School Board meeting to announce that the TCAT and its new auto diesel program will open on Tuesday, October 13.
“That’s fantastic,” said Chairman Howard Carlton. “It’s a great program for Johnson County.”
The TCAT offers a 20-month program of night classes focusing mostly on “all the fundamentals of diesel.” The flexible schedule works with current jobs and other forms of education. After graduation, former students qualify for well-paying jobs right here in Johnson County.
“The demand for skilled labor is at an all-time high and growing along with salaries and wages,” Adams explained in a previous meeting. “These programs are flexible, as the ones we have will be offered at night to allow those that work and have families and financial obligations to continue to work and build their resumes. There’s also monies available that will take care of much, if not all, of the cost. We want the residents and students in Johnson County to have the same, if not more, opportunities than those in other areas.”
Johnson County High School juniors and seniors have a unique opportunity through this program. Juniors and seniors qualify to attend classes. Adams explained it takes a lot of dedication, requiring students to take high school classes during the day and technical courses at night. Adams reports that ten people enrolled in classes by the time of the meeting.
“One of the things they’ve offered up is to let our juniors and seniors be in those classes at night,” said Adams. “Potentially, if we have a junior that starts in the program now, they will graduate in May of 2022 and then graduate from the TCAT in July of 2022. It’s an opportunity that I don’t know a lot of high school students have.”’
TCAT helps graduates find a job in their field and has an exceptional placement rate, according to Adams. Anyone interested in signing up for industry certification classes should contact Johnson County’s partner, TCAT Elizabethton, at (423) 543-0070 or tcatelizabethton.edu.
The Johnson County School Board meets the second Thursday of each month for its regularly scheduled meetings. View board meetings live or through archives on the Johnson County Schools TN Video YouTube channel. For more information on Johnson County Schools, visit jocoed.net.