The Tennessee Technology Center at Memphis became the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) today (July 1).
While the name changes, the mission remains the same. The new name just more accurately reflects the post-secondary training provided, said Roland Rayner, director of the TCAT in Memphis.
"Additionally, a successful economic development strategy must focus on upgrading the skills of the local workforce, which helps business and industry to lower its operating cost and provides the human capital business needs to compete and thrive in today's global economy."
As higher education institutions, the TCATs offer post-secondary programs for workforce preparation. Supporters of the name change say the "center" title was too often misunderstood.
That led State Rep. Harry Brooks and Sen. Jim Tracy to co-sponsor a bill to change the name. After research into the best naming options, Tennessee College of Applied Technology was introduced as the best option to meet the needs of students in the region and the expectations of employers and industry leaders. The bill received unanimous support from the General Assembly, and was recently signed by Gov. Bill Haslam.
"The education programs and training opportunities provided by these schools have been key to workforce and economic development in Tennessee," said Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan. "They aid in recruiting industry and development initiatives, and this new name better represents the quality programs offered."
The TCATs play a major role in the workforce development from Memphis to Elizabethton providing workforce training in industrial, allied health, business, and personal service programs training over 30,000 students yearly.
The institutions have a statewide completion rate of 79 percent and a placement rate of 84 percent, well above the national average.
James King, TBR's vice chancellor for TCATs, attributes the outstanding performance to institutions doing a great job in their communities and remaining focused on their mission.
"The renamed 27 campuses will aid in recruiting industry and economic development initiatives. We believe changing our name will aid in students choosing public institutions rather than private and proprietary institutions lessening debt burdens for the same programs we offer."