"Training Program of the Month:" TCAT McKenzie

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Opportunity awaits in Tennessee's construction industry – and all across the state, schools and apprenticeship programs are training the next generation of skilled workers. As part of our mission to enhance the image of the construction industry and promote the industry's various career paths, we're launching the Go Build Tennessee "Training Program of the Month" feature to highlight the multitude of training pathways to a successful career in Tennessee's construction industry.

In Tennessee alone, there are more than 110 different programs across the state, so no matter where you live – if you're interested in a career in construction there's opportunity within reach — you just have to take the first step.

Our February "Training Program of the Month" is Tennessee College of Applied Technology at McKenzie


TCAT McKenzie

TCAT McKenzie has been teaching technical education in McKenzie for the surrounding counties since 1965. We have small class sizes and students train on industry approved equipment so they are ready to work when they graduate. We take a practical approach to education and students apply the content they learn through hands-on training. The school enrolls around 200 students each year with an 88 percent placement rate upon graduation. TCAT McKenzie is well known across the state for its involvement in SkillsUSA having earned numerous gold medals in state competitions. In 2017 the HVAC/R program earned bronze at the National SkillsUSA contest. The school's accreditation review in 2017 reported no findings or suggestions which is a high honor for a school.

Construction-Related Trades & Degrees: TCAT McKenzie offers HVAC/R, Industrial Maintenance/Integrated Automation, Machine Tool Technology, Major Appliance Repair, and Welding Technology at our main campus and our Weakley County Campus in Dresden. We also offer two supplemental night classes Introduction to Welding and Refrigeration.

What makes TCAT McKenzie unique? Our school has a motto: Small School Big Heart. We give back to our community working Second Harvest Food Trucks, Commodities Distribution, Canned Food Drive, Coat Drives, Blood Drives, Angel Tree and other community services. Students learn that as they succeed being an effective leader and giving to others is the true reward of success. See our Facebook page for more on our small school big heart. This mentality flows from the top down. Our Administrators, Staff, and Faculty genuinely care about our students and their success.

What's the Learning Experience Like? Our students learn the theory of the content they are studying then head into the lab and apply the knowledge. All of our programs have live work projects where they actually work on tools and projects that are real-world. For example, our Industrial Maintenance program rewired the city park so they could have successful festivals where vendors had access to electrical hookups. Our HVAC/R program designs and installs the central heating and air system for the Habitat for Humanities homes.

What advice would you give to those seeking a career in the skilled trades? When you master a skill, you will always have it. If you have a skill you can always provide for yourself. Also, be diverse know a little bit about a lot of things and let your work show your craftsmanship. Every person is an artist, they just have to figure out their art. If you are a welder, your welds are your art, if you are a chef, food is your art. If you have ever watched a creative mind analyze a problem then fix the problem it is a beautiful process...its an art.

How many students are currently enrolled? 200

What positions do your students tend to take on after graduation? Welders, Maintenance Technicians, Appliance Repair Technicians, HVAC Technicians, Robotics Technicians, Service Technicians, Machinist, Automotive Service Technicians

What is the job placement rate upon completion of these programs? 88 percent

To learn more, visit the TCAT McKenzie website & schedule a tour to meet instructors in person.

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Want to be featured as one of our Training Programs of the Month? Send us an email to info@gobuildtennessee.com