Tennessee's community & technical colleges ready to help Tennesseans Reconnect to Workforce tuition-free

TCAT Elizabethton's Tyler Hankes works with 3D printer in computer lab

Tennessee’s community and technical colleges are ready to help Tennesseans who want to learn a new career or new skills. With Tennessee Reconnect, it’s tuition-free – and enrolling in classes online or in your community is easy.

Tennessee Reconnect offers up to five semesters of tuition-free community or technical college for eligible adults who have not yet obtained a college degree or technical certificate. That’s enough time to earn a two-year Associate degree or a certificate in a high-demand career or technical field, in a year or less in many programs.

In addition, Governor Bill Lee last week announced a Reconnect to Workforce initiative to help Tennesseans receiving unemployment benefits use the Tennessee Reconnect program to earn a college degree or a career or technical certificate. Enrolling full-time through Reconnect, in Reconnect-eligible courses, may fulfill the work search requirement of unemployment benefits.

“As federal unemployment benefits end, we want to ensure Tennesseans have the tools needed to skill up and gain long-term employment,” said Gov. Lee. “There are over 250,000 available jobs in Tennessee and this partnership will remove barriers so Tennesseans across our state can obtain the skills needed to acquire a high-quality job.”

Last year, over 2,000 Reconnect students were awarded a certificate or degree. 

Tennessee’s 40 public community colleges and colleges of applied technology have more than 175 teaching locations within easy reach of any Tennessee resident from Memphis to Mountain City. And advisors are ready to help select a career path for your needs and assist with the enrollment process. Classes are offered online, on campus, and in hybrid combinations of in-person and online.

Technical certificates are offered in a broad variety of career and technical fields – from automotive technology, building and construction, and computer information technology to nursing, other health professions, and welding – and many more. Technical certificates and Associate degrees can lead to immediate careers, or enable students to continue their educations toward four-year degrees and beyond.

“The Reconnect scholarship program removes the biggest financial barrier to education for adults without a degree or other college credential – tuition and mandatory fees,” said Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings. “And other financial aid can offset other costs, such as textbooks and other learning materials.

“Our colleges have student success staff, counselors, advisors and others ready to help. I encourage Tennesseans to explore our many course offerings and contact a Community College or Tennessee College of Applied Technology near you soon,” Dr. Tydings said. 

To get started, apply here for the Tennessee Reconnect Grant.

Not sure what college you want to attend or program to enroll in? Just by applying, you’ll also be eligible to work with a Reconnect Navigator who can help you explore your options.

In the meantime, get a head start and check out what types of degrees employers are looking for in your region, here.

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.