Seven Tennessee community & technical colleges awarded grants totaling $5.7 million for career & technical education

TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings met with leaders of colleges receiving the Perkins READI grants

Seven Tennessee community and technical colleges are receiving grants totaling just over $5.7 million to boost career and technical education programs, through the federal Perkins Grant program.

The Perkins READI (Recruit Engage And Develop for Innovation) Grants have been awarded to the following institutions following a competitive application process by the Tennessee Board of Regents:

  • Chattanooga State Community College - $1,123,200 
  • Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Dickson - $1 million
  • TCAT Knoxville - $1 million
  • TCAT Murfreesboro - $1 million
  • Jackson State Community College - $673,000 
  • Volunteer State Community College - $500,000
  • TCAT Crossville - $424,659

Perkins funds are awarded by the federal government under provisions of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, as amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act of 2018. The Tennessee Board of Regents established the READI Grants with unexpended Perkins funding from previous fiscal years that would otherwise expire this year.

Colleges were given an opportunity to apply for READI grants for these purposes: purchasing equipment for training to help get students “READI” for future careers; engaging high school students, in college-credit opportunities such as dual enrollment programs, and in exposing them to innovative CTE programs; high-quality professional development for CTE faculty and staff, and other purposes allowed under the Perkins Act.

Federal Perkins funding is awarded annually for career and technical education (CTE) programs, with a typical award per institution of between $50,000 and $100,000. The READI Grant created a rare opportunity for a college to receive a one-time award amount worth up to $1 million in funding. Several colleges that applied included a focus on special-population students or students in non-traditional occupational programs.

“That amount of funding could be life-changing for career and technical education students, especially at colleges that creatively decide to focus on special populations in the use of the funds,” said Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings.

“While there were many good applications, singling out the best was a difficult process. I look forward to seeing how the colleges make a difference in the lives of their students and their communities with this funding,” the chancellor said.

Michael Tinsley, TBR assistant vice chancellor for student success, said the recipient colleges submitted a broad list of equipment, services and programs that they plan to use the funding for, including CTE camps for students; professional development; industry certification exams, and training equipment for such career and technical education programs as automotive and diesel technology, building construction, computer information technology, cosmetology, culinary arts, dental assisting, digital graphic design, heating ventilation and air conditioning, mechatronics, nursing, and welding.

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.