Dual enrollment students from six Upper Cumberland Counties will benefit from a $1 million grant that TCAT Livingston was rewarded.
Operations and Facilities Vice-President Jeff Slagle said through the grant, a manufacturing cell with robots will be added on campus.
“This is a new technology that we know that’s needed in the Upper Cumberland based on our surveys with advisory council members, and we know that we need to upgrade our technology to stay in touch with what is out there,” Slagle said.
Slagle said students from Clay, Jackson, Overton and Pickett Counties that come on-site will be able to use the gear. Slagle said a FANUC industrial robot will be purchased, which are regularly used in manufacturers today.
“Our dual enrollment students we are building a pipeline with them,” Slagle said. “We understand with unemployment so low in the area everybody that can work is working. So in order to get new employees out there, we have to train these dual enrollment students and get them ready and get them excited to come on campus here to continue that education.”
Slagle said Cookeville and White County High Schools will also get robots on campus. Slagle said these collaborative robots work alongside humans and shuts down when a worker gets to close to the operating arm.
“This is a huge upgrade, because we don’t have any of these anywhere currently,” Slagle said. “But, we already have the industrial maintenance programs at White County and Putnam.”
President Myra West said TCAT Livingston has overall received three grants through the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education. Banks said the money should become available at the beginning of the year.
“It provides the citizens in the Upper Cumberland with more training and ability to provide a workforce that supports our current employees, but as well, give our counties in the Upper Cumberland the opportunity to recruit additional employees, because we have a trained workforce,” West said. “For our legislatures and our Governor to support that shows that they are working for their communities.”