August 10, 2020

Local efforts to expand IT, HVAC training win state support


Stephanie Blue

A coalition of education providers and employers has received a nearly $1 million grant to grow and upskill the information technology workforce in Knoxville.

Led by Pellissippi State Community College, the Knox County Career Collaborative (KC3) received funding through the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) program, announced by Gov. Bill Lee on Nov. 7.

The initiative will work to enhance and expand IT career education programs; create work-based learning opportunities and expand access to industry-recognized certifications.

Employer partners include 21st Mortgage Corp., Discovery Inc., TeamHealth and UT Medical Center. In addition to Pellissippi State, Knox County Schools and TCAT-Knoxville are instrumental in the effort. The East Tennessee Local Workforce Development Board, Knoxville Chamber and Knoxville Technology Council are also lending support.

The information technology sector was chosen for the grant’s focus because three computer-related occupations are in the top five STEM occupations expected to have the most job openings through 2026. Students are not planning on entering these fields at the rates needed to meet the demand.

Opportunities exist for employers to help grow this local workforce through guest speakers, job shadowing, technical mentoring to help students develop IT skills, part-time employment, summer internships, registered apprenticeships and on-the-job training programs.

The Knoxville Chamber also supported the successful grant application by TCAT-Knoxville and Alcoa Schools to expand HVAC training. In addition to serving high school students, the Trane Training Lab will also offer adult training in the evening. The effort was awarded $892,745 and will also be seeking employer partners.

For more information on how your business can be involved, please contact Amy Nolan.

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