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WCHS offers Machine Tool Technology class
WCHS machine tool.jpg
Tennessee College of Applied Technology’s Machine Tool Technology is moving into the high school. Until now, students had to wait until after high school graduation to begin that training. Pictured is TCAT Machine Tool Technology student James McCullen. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

Warren County High School students will have a new educational opportunity for the 2019-20 year, a Machine Tool Technology class. 

The work of machine tool operators, machinists, industrial maintenance personnel, and related occupations requires skill in machining metal by equipment such as milling machines, lathes, grinders, drill presses, EMD plunger machines, and the ability to use precision measuring tools.

The class is a joint effort between Tennessee College of Applied Technology of McMinnville and Warren County Schools to provide students with a way to accelerate their post-secondary education. 

TCAT provides machining equipment and an instructor.

“This will provide another opportunity for students in high school to help secure their future,” said TCAT McMinnville president Dr. Warren Laux. “Once they complete high school and the program there, they can continue their post-secondary education at TCAT. Once the student transfers here, they can shorten their post-secondary training by up to a year using the education they received in high school.” 

WCHS provides a space for the program and the tables, chairs, computers, textbooks, and instructional supplies to start the program.

“Industries in Warren County need a skilled workforce and our TCAT/WCHS partnership can help industries meet their needs by providing students the opportunity to develop skills in Machine Tool Technology,” said Technical Education director Tracy Risinger. 

High school students will be provided internships at local companies as part of their training. Those completing their education at TCAT will be working toward an industrial certification, a documentation that guarantees they have received the necessary training to perform their jobs or they will be provided free retraining at TCAT. 

Laux says what sounds like an easy endeavor masks an elaborate behind-the-scenes community effort that also involved Director of School Bobby Cox, Todd Herzog of Business Roundtable Action Committee, Industrial Development Board director Don Alexander, Workforce Development, Warren County Chamber of Commerce, and local business that employ machine tool operators.  

“We want to keep our young people in this community for a stronger future,” said Laux.

Risinger added, “Our Machine Tool Technology initiative is a win for everyone involved.”

Upper Cumberland Development District has been asked to apply for a $1 million grant from the state to advance the program. That grant is part of Gov. Bill Lee’s $25 million investment in vocational education advancement. Award notification is expected in October.