BLOUNTVILLE — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has announced that Northeast State will receive almost $1 million through the second round of the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) program.

It prioritizes learning opportunities in rural counties and enhances career and technical education statewide.

The Northeast State GIVE funds will help develop and establish Automotive and Aviation Certificates for Employability (AACE).

“We are very appreciative of Gov. Lee’s support of our students and the region,” Northeast State President Dr. Bethany Bullock said. “The grant will allow Northeast State to expand current programs and increase career opportunities for our students.”

The AACE project will enhance the opportunity of students in Northeast State’s Automotive and Aviation Technology training programs to gain skills aligned to local workforce needs by adding new technical certificates in Automotive Quick Lane Service and Avionics.

The GIVE funds will address institutional capacity limitations and fund the initial investments in faculty, supplies, equipment and outreach required for a successful program start-up.

The proposed Avionics Certificate is a specialized program designed to train students to install, inspect, test and repair electronic systems used on aircraft. Examples include communications and navigation.

The certificate will be available as a stand-alone program, preparing students to move directly into the workforce as Avionics Technicians or as an add- on to the college’s existing Aviation Technology program, building the skills of program completers and increasing their employability.

The proposed Automotive Quick Lane Service Certificate is a specialized program designed to train students on inspection and maintenance tasks commonly performed by quick lane service providers, including oil changes, transmission flush,, brake inspection, wheel alignment and other related services.

The certificate is designed as a short-term training option to quickly move individuals into the entry-level workforce while offering the opportunity to continue into the full Automotive Service degree for career advancement.

“We are especially proud to announce these well- deserved grants during National Workforce Development Week,” Lee said. “Rural workforce development has been one of my top priorities since day one, and I’m glad to see the remarkable progress we’re making. By developing a highly skilled workforce, Tennesseans’ lives are transformed, and companies are choosing to invest and expand in our state at record rates.”

Since creating GIVE, Lee’s first legislative priority, he has invested $50 million in the program to support workforce development through career and technical education. The first round of GIVE funding in 2019 served an estimated 8,000 students, and this second round will help an estimated 7,500 students.

The program’s second phase, which totals $24.9 million, will help fund 27 programs and projects at 21 community and technical colleges in the College System of Tennessee, governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

“We’re grateful to Gov. Lee, members of the General Assembly and our partners in state and local agencies for providing resources to help our colleges continue powering Tennessee’s economy by training the workforce for jobs that employers desperately need to fill,” TBR Chancellor Flora W. Tydings said.

Tennessee has made notable progress in rural workforce development in recent years, which has secured over 24,000 new jobs and nearly $13 billion in capital investment in rural counties since 2019.

In the last round of funding, Northeast State received a $1 million grant to increase the number of trained and Cisco-certified computer networking technicians in the region.

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