The Tri-County Vocational School will begin to operate under the guidance of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) beginning next fall, according to Director Jerry Spivey and TBR Vice-Chancellor James King, with tentative plans to turn the school into an instructional service center of the Tennessee Technology Center at Hartsville.
“I am very excited about the potential to expand up there,” said Mae Banks, Director of the Hartsville Technology Center, “and begin offering students there dual credits.”
The TBR, according to King, has pledged some $100,000 worth of support this fiscal year, and an additional $100,000 next fiscal year, beginning in July.
According to Banks, the first $100,000 comes in the form of a federal Perkins grant for welding, machine shop, and building trades equipment.
“We’re processing purchase orders for the new, updated equipment now,” said Banks on Monday.
Next year’s fiscal budget money will fund a teacher for the Health Science Education class that will be offered next year, as well as additional equipment, said Banks.
All classes offered at Tri-County Vocational next year will be dual-enrollment classes; meaning that high school students will receive high school credits, as well as credits toward a degree at any one of the 27 Tennessee Technology Centers throughout the state. All Tennessee Technology Centers are accredited by the Council on Occupational Education, a national accrediting agency.
After earning a diploma at one of the Technology Centers, the credits may be applied towards a general technology degree – or Associate of Applied Science degree – at Vol State or another community college.
The addition of a day class for adults – Business Systems Technology – is in the plan for January, 2009, said Banks. Spivey hinted at the possibility of night classes for adults, beginning in the fall of ’08.
Presently, the Tri-County Vocational School offers an L.P.N. course through the Technology Center at Livingston. King said he hopes to eventually see Tri-County Vocational become a Technology Center like the ones in Hartsville and Livingston, operating completely under the Board of Regents.
For the time being, Spivey said, the TBR will probably lease the Tri-County Vocational building from Macon and Jackson Counties, who own the building. The two counties will continue to put funds into the school next school year.