Volunteer State Community College received a $500,000 grant to boost career and technical leducation programs, through the federal Perkins Grant program.
The Perkins READI (Recruit Engage And Develop for Innovation) Grants were awarded to seven institutions following a competitive application process by the Tennessee Board of Regents.
Perkins funds are awarded by the federal government under provisions of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, as amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act of 2018. The Tennessee Board of Regents established the READI Grants with unexpended Perkins funding from previous fiscal years that would otherwise expire this year.
Colleges were given an opportunity to apply for READI grants for these purposes: purchasing equipment for training to help get students “READI” for future careers; engaging high school students, in college-credit opportunities such as dual enrollment programs, and in exposing them to innovative CTE programs; high-quality professional development for CTE faculty and staff, and other purposes allowed under the Perkins Act.
Federal Perkins funding is awarded annually for career and technical education programs, with a typical award per institution of between $50,000 and $100,000. The READI Grant created a rare opportunity for a college to receive a one-time award amount worth up to $1 million in funding. Several colleges that applied included a focus on special-population students or students in non-traditional occupational programs.
“That amount of funding could be life-changing for career and technical education students, especially at colleges that creatively decide to focus on special populations in the use of the funds,” said Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings.
“While there were many good applications, singling out the best was a difficult process. I look forward to seeing how the colleges make a difference in the lives of their students and their communities with this funding,” the chancellor said.
Michael Tinsley, TBR assistant vice chancellor for student success, said the recipient colleges submitted a broad list of equipment, services and programs that they plan to use the funding for, including CTE camps for students; professional development; industry certification exams, and training equipment for such career and technical education programs as automotive and diesel technology, building construction, computer information technology, cosmetology, culinary arts, dental assisting, digital graphic design, heating ventilation and air conditioning, mechatronics, nursing and welding.