TCAT Construction Graduates Included on National Registry

ELIZABETHTON — Graduates of several departments at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Elizabethton are now getting an introduction to potential employers, thanks to the inclusion of their names in a national registry provided by the National Center for Construction Education and Research. The listing is for graduates of the electricity-electronics, millwright-industrial maintenance and pipefitting and plumbing programs at the school.

TCAT-graduate TCAT-Elizabethton is an accredited training and education facility for the NCCER, which develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s national registry, which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and check the qualifications of possible new hires.

TCAT-Elizabethton’s Director Dean Blevins said the school meets or exceeds all eight accreditation standards of NCCER. Blevins attributes this value-added student benefit to strategic planning.

“Strategic planning is recognized as a necessity for the effective operation of TCAT-Elizabethton and the statewide Tennessee Board of Regents,” Blevins said. “If TCAT-Elizabethton is to continue serving the needs of students and employers, then the college must engage in a structured program of long-range planning.”

In addition to TCAT-Elizabethton’s strategic plan, Blevins said TBR staff annually conducts a program evaluation and site survey to gauge the effectiveness of training programs.

“It is a comprehensive evaluation by a staff member at the Tennessee Board of Regents Central Office that includes on-site inspections of facilities and evaluations of enrollment, placement, and completion numbers for each training program,” he said.

NCCER certified instructors at TCAT-Elizabethton, Philip Peters, electricity-electronics; Brian Irick, millwright-industrial maintenance; and Tim Pierce, pipefitting-plumbing, ensure NCCER accreditation guidelines and program compliance standards are met daily in the classroom and shop areas.

NCCER standards require technical education programs to meet industry standards for construction craft and to support students’ occupational objectives. Other standards require proper curriculum, instructors competent in their field of study, adequate equipment and supplies, safety and sanitation training and integration of leadership in the curriculum.

Program advisory committees, representing business and industry, meet twice each year to provide feedback to TCAT-Elizabethton on needed improvements in curriculum, equipment and training.

Periodically, NCCER evaluates TCAT-Elizabethton programs to determine if the college complies with NCCER’s accreditation guidelines and program compliance.

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NewsGrant Prettyman