On Tuesday, the college invited Burdine, who Gov. Bill Haslam appointed Dec. 14 to fill the 1st Congressional District seat on the Tennessee Board of Regents, to an informational program on the school.
The Board of Regents governs and manages the state’s community and technical colleges, including the Colleges of Applied Technology.
Burdine also serves as chief executive officer and president of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce. Also attending the meeting from the Chamber was Nicole Austin, director of workforce development and government relations.
Dean Blevins, president of TCAT-Elizabethton told Burdine that students from the technical colleges have completion rates of more than 80 percent and job placement rates in their chosen fields of more than 90 percent.
Jerry Young, president of TCAT-Morristown, said another important number is that students graduate from the technical colleges with “zero debt.”
Young said another key is that the schools are in partnership with industries in the community. The partnerships include providing training needed for employees, including offering the system’s first-ever graveyard shift classes.
James King, executive vice chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents and interim president of the Northeast State Community College, gave an overview of the TCAT system. Previously, King was vice chancellor of the TCAT system.
“I came to Northeast Tennessee because technical education is strong,” King said.
John Lee, coordinator of the National Coalition of Certification Centers for TCAT-Elizabethton, said certifications have become an important way in which industrial employers can be assured a graduate has the skills a company is searching for, giving the graduates an advantage on those without such certifications.
Lee said the Elizabethton school has become one of only five centers in the nation that trains the trainers. Trainers from as far away as Alaska and Puerto Rico have come to Elizabethton for training.