County to benefit from a second workforce grant

Friday, December 19, 2014

By Greg Lowe TcED

Special to the Tribune

In addition to the grant described in Wednesday's Tribune, Lewisburg and Marshall County will benefit from a second grant awarded in the Labor Education Alignment Program competition, a state effort focused on increasing opportunities for Tennesseans to obtain a certificate or degree beyond high school that is aligned with the needs of the workforce in their communities.

Funded by a $10 million appropriation by the General Assembly, the LEAP competition required applicants to respond to a competitive Request for Proposals that was released in September. Proposals were reviewed and selected by the Governor's Workforce Subcabinet.

Lewisburg and Marshall County are pleased to announce that two regional projects were selected, inlcuding:

* South Central Tennessee Development District and TCAT-Shelbyville -- $970,000.

* South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance and TCAT-Pulaski - $970,000.

The first project, described in Wednesday's Tribune, will create an Industrial Maintenance Technology program administered by TCAT-Shelbyville in a city-owned facility in downtown Lewisburg. The program will fund a computer classroom, industrial equipment laboratory and an instructor to teach the Industrial Maintenance Technology program to students in Marshall County.

The second LEAP project awarded funding was a collaboration between the Gattis Regional Leadership Group, the South Central Tennessee Workforce Board and Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Pulaski. This project will create a Certified Production Technician curriculum for the middle and high school technology centers in the eight-county region along with the purchasing of equipment for the centers including machining equipment, Programmable Logic Controller equipment, robotic welders, and 3D printers.

The Spot Lowe Technology Center in Lewisburg will be the recipient of the new training equipment and has already begun assigning three of its instructors to take the required training to become certified to teach the CPT training.

The CPT training will allow high school students to graduate as a nationally certified production technician and receive dual-enrollment credits from TCAT-Pulaski so that students will have a shorter time to spend and less tuition to pay before obtaining their Advanced Manufacturing Certification.

Speaking of TCAT-Pulaski, the technology college held a open house on Dec. 16 for its new Advanced Manufacturing Training Center. The upgraded AME center has new Engel Injection Molding machines, new 3D printing machines, new PLC testing and training equipment capable of running Siemens or Allen Bradley systems and more.

The new state-of-the-art training center was developed through conversations with industries in the region on the needs of their workforce in training and development.

TCAT-Pulaski has also begun using its Routsis Online Plastics Certification Training program that allows students to take their training online from the classroom or in their homes or places of work. Using this technique, students can take the bulk of the certification training at their own pace before finishing up their hands-on training and taking their certification testing.

The Routsis Online Training program was funded for one year with assistance from Marshall County and the Marshall County Joint Economic and Community Development Board.

Thanks to all the partners for developing and implementing a series of Workforce Development programs which will insure Lewisburg and Marshall County are training and providing the best workforce to its new and existing industries for years to come.

Greg Lowe TcED is Lewisburg's Director of Economic Development.