Southwest and TCAT Memphis announce partnership to enhance automotive technology education & training

Submitted by: 
Southwest Tennessee Community College
TCAT Memphis President Roland Rayner, Southwest President Tracy Hall

Southwest Tennessee Community College President Tracy D. Hall and Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Memphis President Roland Rayner have announced a groundbreaking partnership between their respective institutions that makes advanced training in automotive technology more accessible, affordable and effective than ever before.

“This partnership represents a shift in our approach to workforce development and education in the Mid-South,” Hall said of the new articulation agreement between Southwest and TCAT Memphis that now enables students who earn a TCAT Memphis automotive certificate or diploma to matriculate to Southwest more easily and affordably to attain advanced credentials in automotive technology.  “We are not competitors, but partners in the quest to empower residents with credentials that lead to a better job, career and quality of life.”

The articulation agreement, now in effect, allows TCAT Memphis automotive technology graduates to transfer up to 28 TCAT credits to Southwest, enabling them to earn an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Automotive Technology degree in as quickly as two semesters.

At a signing ceremony for the new agreement at Southwest on Aug. 28, Rayner said the agreement is also win for students and his institution. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Southwest. Our students’ investment in their training at TCAT Memphis can be applied toward an advanced degree that will empower them to better compete for jobs at high-volume automotive shops and for leadership opportunities,” he said.  “We offer excellent training at TCAT-Memphis and now this partnership will allow our students to continue on a fantastic career pathway.”

The automotive program at Southwest is on the move, nearly tripling the number of completers from 5 to 19 between 2016 and 2017.  “The Southwest program has the ability to graduate up to 50 students a year,” Southwest Vice President for Academic Affairs Chris Ezell said. “Our students also are eligible to apply for Tennessee Reconnect scholarships, which means a degree, tuition-free. It’s a win-win for local students and employers.”

The articulation agreement is just one of more to come. A computer technology agreement will activate next spring and one for the nursing program next fall.

New Equipment

Southwest Tennessee Community College recently invested $175,000 to outfit its Automotive Technology lab at the Macon Cove campus with equipment that rivals high-volume shop equipment. The College purchased seven new cars and a state-of-the-art alignment machine that, according to Business and Technology Dean Robin Cole, can align vehicles built as far back as 1948.  “This machine is what our students will use when they get jobs as automotive technicians at dealerships and other high-volume outfits.  It’s the same technology,” he said.

The new, late-model vehicles include a hybrid car, one flex-fuel car, one hybrid pick-up truck and a Camaro with a turbo charge system (to train students on high performance fuel injection).  “Each vehicle was chosen to address a specific training focus to ensure our students are equipped with the skills dealership shops and other employers seek,” Cole said.  “We also upgraded our wireless engine analyzer to address auto technology through 2020.”

About Southwest Tennessee Community College

Southwest Tennessee Community College is a comprehensive, multicultural, public, open-access college that serves more than 13,000 students annually. Southwest awards associate degrees and certifications in more than 120 programs of study to raise educational levels, enhance economic development and enrich quality of life for students and the community at large. Southwest is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution, accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

About Tennessee College of Applied Technology Memphis

Tennessee College of Applied Technology Memphis (TCAT) is one of 27 technical colleges that serve as the premier suppliers of workforce development throughout the State of Tennessee. The Colleges fulfill their mission by providing competency-based, hands-on instruction that prepares graduates to compete for high demand jobs and assist career advancement. Tennessee College of Applied Technology Memphis is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution that is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education. TCAT Memphis operates three locations. The main campus is located at 550 Alabama Avenue between N. Danny Thomas Blvd. and Poplar Avenue.