Gov. Bill Lee Announces Landmark Workforce Development Partnership Between Tennessee College of Applied Technology and Ford

TCAT venture built for Blue Oval City

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 | 09:30am


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee today announced a new Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) to be developed on the Memphis Regional Megasite in conjunction with Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation’s Blue Oval City.

“Leading companies select Tennessee because of our skilled workforce,” said Gov. Lee. “This unique partnership with Ford and SK Innovation will enable Tennesseans to skill up and meet the specific employment demands of Blue Oval City. Tennessee stands ready to provide a twenty-first century workforce.”

The new TCAT will provide customized training developed in conjunction with Ford and SK Innovation. This high-quality training will focus on electric vehicle and battery manufacturing and repair with the curriculum concentrating on mechatronics engineering and automechanics. Tennessee continues to develop the resources to meet increasing workforce demand and was recently named the No. 1 state in the U.S. for advanced industry job growth. Tennessee also ranks No. 1 in the Southeast for electric vehicle manufacturing, claiming nearly 40 percent of the Southeast’s electric vehicle manufacturing jobs and investment.

“Technical Colleges are an integral part of Tennessee’s workforce development strategy. Through technical education, skills gaps are closed and opportunities for good jobs are opened.”


Commissioner Jeff McCord, Department of Labor and Workforce Development

During a challenging year for higher education when many institutions saw a decrease in enrollment, Tennessee added 1,000 students at its TCATs in the fall of 2021. This is largely due to a $79 million investment this year from Gov. Lee to eliminate the 11,400 person TCAT waiting list in 2021. Gov. Lee has prioritized vocational education and apprenticeships, increasing apprenticeships across the state by more than 30 percent since taking office and investing over $30 million in the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) to provide career and technical education in rural communities.

The Vanity Zone Salon in Smyrna—owners Mike & Felicia Sparks

“Customized industry training is what the Tennessee Board of Regents does to ensure our graduates are employable and productive from day one.  This new workforce training center planned for the Memphis Regional Megasite in partnership with Ford and SK Innovation will equip Tennesseans with the skills they need for rewarding careers, now and for years to come.  We are extremely excited to be working alongside Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation in changing lives and the landscape of Tennessee. Thanks to the Governor and the legislature, this center will allow us to continue and enhance our mission of student success and workforce development.” Chancellor Flora Tydings, Tennessee Board of Regents

Ford and SK Innovation will invest $5.6 billion to build a 3,600-acre mega campus called Blue Oval City on the Memphis Regional Megasite, where production of next generation all- electric F-Series trucks will begin in 2025. The project will result in the creation of 5,800 new jobs in West Tennessee.


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