The Tennessee College of Applied Technology Memphis is designing a 55,000-square-foot training facility for its Barlett campus.
In the past year, the college has helped 563 students receive a manufacturing certificate or diploma, and 81 percent of students were employed in their field of study.
To fund the project, TCAT Memphis received $1 million from the city of Bartlett, $1 million from the Gene HAAS Foundation and $15 million from the state of Tennessee.
“We’ll have medical devices as a focus,” said Roland Rayner, TCAT Memphis president. “And we’re also going to introduce five or six additional programs, including automotive, heavy equipment, HVAC and IT. We’re excited to expand into some high-demand areas that allow individuals with those skills to make a lot of money at the companies here in Shelby County.”
Memphis is the second largest producer of medical device components in the nation.
Rayner expects to see an 18-month timeline from design to the completion of construction of the facility, which will be located at Appling Road and Brother Boulevard.
In October, TCAT Memphis and Bartlett City Schools unveiled a new partnership to provide college-level machine tool training to juniors and seniors at Bartlett High School. The partnership includes the placement of a machine tool technology lab on the Bartlett High School campus to promote early college credit for in-demand skills.
“We do work with the youth through our Dual Enrollment program,” said Rayner. “It’s a good opportunity for TCAT and for the Bartlett High School students. It gives them an opportunity to get some post-secondary hours and training in while they’re still in high school.”
The lab will specifically focus on developing skills to meet the demands of employers in West Tennessee. Students will receive training on equipment such as lathes and mills, including how to use and program the machines for professional purposes. The equipment matches the technology utilized by many local medical device manufacturers in the Shelby County area.
“It really all boils down to getting the secondary students involved in terms of technical education at a much earlier stage,” said Rayner. “It really helps us to increase the pipeline of trained individuals that is very much needed in especially the medical device industry.”
TCAT Memphis is also in the process of going through the accreditation phase getting the program prepared to accept adults.
The college also works with Southwest Career and Technical School and Trezevant High School.
“It’s a holistic approach that we’re taking,” said Rayner. “The higher skilled workforce in the community, the better draw that you have with trying to get industry into the area.”