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TCAT McMinnville invites public to open house
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Tennessee College of Applied Technology - McMinnville will hold an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, March 27, for area adults to sign up for the Tennessee Reconnect grant, a new program that allows state residents to attend a technical college tuition free.
The event — held in conjunction with an open house, barbecue dinner and benefit auction for the SkillsUSA chapter — is designed to encourage adults to enroll in the Tennessee Reconnect program, Gov. Bill Haslam’s initiative to provide eligible adults the opportunity to earn a diploma or certificate at a Tennessee College of Applied Technology free of tuition and mandatory fees. Tennessee Reconnect is part of Drive to 55, an initiative focused on increasing the number of Tennesseans with a college degree or technical certificate.
The Tennessee Reconnect grant is a last-dollar scholarship, which will cover the remaining costs of tuition and mandatory fees for a TCAT program after other state and federal financial aid has been applied.
James D. King, vice chancellor for the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology, said, “We look forward to potential students visiting our 27 campuses to learn more about how technical education can change their lives and provide a successful future through a variety of high-skilled and high-wage programs such as industrial maintenance, welding technology, computer information technology and practical nursing.”
During the TCAT McMinnville event this Friday, area residents may come to 241 Vo Tech Drive (behind River Park Hospital) to tour the campus, learn more about available training programs, and use the college’s computers to sign up online. Free pizza and soft drinks will also be on hand for anyone signing up.
“Tennessee Reconnect is such an incredible opportunity for adults to gain critical skills and enter the workforce,” said Mike Garrison, TCAT McMinnville coordinator of student services. “Our event is an opportunity to come see firsthand the opportunities we offer at TCAT McMinnville and take the first step toward admission.”
Drive to 55 executive director Mike Krause said he hoped many Tennessee adults would attend the event nearest them. “Now, more than ever, Tennessee needs a workforce that is educated and trained for the 21st century,” Krause said. “Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology offer an incredible chance for an adult to gain a new skill, become workforce-ready, and learn real-world skills from skilled faculty.”
TCAT McMinnville provides adults with technical training to meet the employment needs of industry and business within a service area that includes Warren, Coffee, Grundy, DeKalb, White, Van Buren, Cannon and Sequatchie counties. Programs lengths vary from 12 to 20 months.  Students attend classes year round, with trimesters beginning in May, September and January.