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Chattanooga State Awarded $1.12M Perkins READI Grant | #education | #technology | #training | #hacking | #aihp

Chattanooga State Community College was one of seven community and technical colleges awarded a READI (Recruit, Engage And Develop for Innovation) Grant to boost career and technical education programs through the federal Perkins Grant program. Following a competitive application process, Chattanooga State came out on top of the seven colleges selected with a grant award totaling $1,123,200. 

The Carl Perkins Act, first authorized by the federal government in 1984, provided funds to improve secondary and postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) programs.

It was reauthorized in 2018 as the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act and provides additional funding so CTE programs can provide students with the knowledge, skills, and experience to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. The READI Grants were established by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) with unused Perkins funding from previous fiscal years that would otherwise expire this year. 

Chattanooga State’s Dr. Lyn Potter, Engineering & Information Technologies department head, and the College’s CTE divisions sought creative ways to use funding based on READI Grant guidelines. The team focused on the top training needs today’s employers are expressing, as well as leading ways to develop entrepreneurial skills. As the top READI Grant awardee, the team effort paid off for the College and the students who will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this $1.12M grant award.  

The following focuses helped to determine Chattanooga State’s grant award. 

Industrial Computed Tomography System (ICT) 

As a non-destructive testing method for precise examination of components, the ICT will create a 3D model with accurate internal views of parts, weld seams, and electronic components. Students will gain skills in metrology to ensure parts meet specifications or detect and measure flaws. The ICT, used in manufacturing, power generation, aerospace, automotive, and foods industries, is considered the benchmark for defect detection to ensure product quality. 

Fanuc Collaborative CRX-10A Welding Robot 

Collaborative robots are becoming more prevalent in manufacturing because the robot can be taught quickly to make different welds for different needs and is easily relocated within a factory.  

Dental Hygiene Simulation Manikin Workstations 

The simulation manikins, designed for learning dental hygiene skills, will provide hands-on learning without requiring a “live” patient in the dental chair. Expected to accelerate learning clinical skills, students can be working on the manikins while in the classroom setting, not just while in a “clinic.” 

Food Trailer 

With this trailer, students will learn how to operate a food truck, hone customer service and entrepreneurial skills, as well as utilize food service equipment and technology effectively. Students will apply classroom learning to real-world experience. 

MacBook Pro Laptops 

MacBooks are the tools of choice in the graphic arts industry. However, they are expensive, which limits accessibility to students. Allowing students to borrow a MacBook Pro laptop increases educational equity and supports students with the necessary technology to complete coursework and prepare for entry into the workforce. 

“In order to provide education for in-demand jobs, Chattanooga State must have state-of-the art equipment and technology for our students,” stated Dr. Rebecca Ashford, College president. “This equipment is a huge financial investment and the Perkins READI grant goes a long way in helping us educate the future workforce.” Expressing her gratitude to the Tennessee Board of Regents for the opportunity to apply for this funding and to Dr. Lyn Potter for her leadership in completing our application, she added, “This grant award is a true cause for celebration for our college!” 

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