The Tennessee College of Applied Technology Jackson, located at 2468 Technology Center Drive in Jackson, Tennessee, was originally named the Jackson State Area Vocational-Technical School. This college is one of a statewide system of technical colleges made possible by legislation enacted by the 1963 session of the Tennessee General Assembly. The intent of the legislation was to make vocational education accessible and within commuting distance of every citizen of Tennessee. Classes began on the Jackson campus in September of 1965 with course offerings in Auto Mechanics, Auto Body Repair, Machine Shop, Civil Technology, Electronics, and Refrigeration. The first students graduated in 1966.
The Tennessee Department of Vocational Education governed the system until 1983 when House Bill 697 and Senate Bill 746 transferred control to the Tennessee Board of Regents. In 1994, the Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation changing the names of the state area vocational-technical schools to the Tennessee Technology Centers. Our institution's name became the Tennessee Technology Center at Jackson. This name change was enacted to better reflect the institutions’ mission.
The Whiteville Branch Campus (formerly Tennessee College of Applied Technology Whiteville) opened in April 1976 for full-time preparatory classes in drafting, office occupations, refrigeration, auto mechanics, and general building trades. By November 1977, practical nursing, welding, and food services programs were added. This campus became a branch campus of TCAT Jackson on September 1, 2021.
In 1995, the college assumed stewardship of the vacated Henderson County Vocational Center, located in Lexington Tennessee. After approximately 18 months of preparation work, the Tennessee Technology Center at Jackson, Lexington Extension Campus was opened. This facility, administered by the main campus in Jackson, offers full-time diploma, supplemental, and Special Industry Training to residents and employers. Current programs include Machine Tool Technology, Welding, Administrative Office Technology, Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Industrial Electricity, Practical Nursing, Computer Information Systems, and Computer Information Technology.
In 2004, the college entered a partnership with Jackson State Community College (JSCC) to offer a Machine Tool program on their campus. This was brought about due to a duplication of programs with the machine tool program on the JSCC campus and the Tool and Die program on the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Jackson campus. Tennessee College of Applied Technology Jackson purchased all the machining equipment on the JSCC campus and relocated the Tool and Die program to that location. Thus, the McWherter Instructional Service Center was initiated.
The Brownsville/Haywood County Extension Campus (formerly an extension campus of TCAT Whiteville) opened in September 2006, for full-time preparatory classes in machine tool technology and practical nursing. The first practical nursing class graduated in 2007. Since 2007, a program in health information management has been added. This campus became an extension campus of TCAT Jackson on September 1, 2021.
The City of Humboldt realized a need to offer more post-secondary educational opportunities in their area in 2007. From this need came the renovation of an empty elementary school into the Humboldt Higher Education Center. Currently, four institutions of higher education are involved with the center. Tennessee College of Applied Technology Jackson currently offers a Practical Nursing program at the Humboldt Higher Education Instructional Service Center.
In 2013, the Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation changing the names of the Tennessee Technology Centers to the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology. At the present time, there are twenty-seven (27) colleges of applied technology located throughout the state. The Tennessee Board of Regents also governs all community colleges within the state of Tennessee. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission coordinates both the Tennessee Board of Regents and the University of Tennessee system.
On September 1, 2016, Tennessee College of Applied Technology Jackson begin offering a Practical Nursing program at the Henderson/Chester County Instructional Service Center. This program relocated from the University of Tennessee at Martin – Parsons Campus when the lease expired on August 30, 2016.
In January 2019, the Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents notified the Tennessee Higher Education Commission of the intent to merge TCAT Whiteville to become a branch campus of TCAT Jackson. A merger application was filed with the Council on Occupational Education (COE) in April 2019. COE granted initial approval of the merger in June 2019. COE’s merger process required TCAT Jackson to reaffirm its accreditation via a self-study and team visit in 2020. The Commission of the Council on Occupational Education met and granted final approval of the merger on June 10, 2021.
Currently, the college has twenty-two (22) full-time programs with certificate and diploma levels in each program. Students may be enrolled in these programs on a part-time basis if they are unable to attend full-time.
Current Educational Programs by Campus
|Administrative Office Technology||Jackson|
|Automotive Technology||Jackson & Whiteville|
|Certified Medical Assistant to Practical Nursing Bridge||Whiteville|
|Collision Repair Technology||Jackson|
|Computer Information Technology||Jackson, Lexington & Whiteville|
|Computer Information Systems||Lexington|
|Computer-Aided Design Technology||Jackson|
|Criminal Justice: Correctional Officer||Humboldt|
|Electrical Apprenticeship||Jackson (evening)|
|HVAC/R||Jackson & Whiteville|
|Industrial Maintenance Technology||Whiteville|
|Machine Tool Technology||Brownsville & Lexington|
|Industrial Maintenance Integrated Automation||Jackson|
|Patient Care Technician/Medical Assistant||Brownsville, Lexington, & Whiteville|
|Pipefitting and Plumbing Technology||Humboldt|
|Practical Nursing||Brownsville, Jackson, Humboldt, Henderson, Lexington, & Whiteville|
|Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Technology||Jackson & Lexington|
|Tool & Die||Jackson/McWherter|
|Welding||Jackson, Lexington & Whiteville|
The training offered at TCAT Jackson is designed to meet the needs of our external customer, the employer, and our internal customer, the student. To accomplish this goal, the school has designed curricula that will train students to enter a career field, make a career change, or acquire the skills necessary for promotion.
In addition to the 21 full-time programs offered by the college, Special Industry Training is offered to meet the demands of local employers for short-term custom-designed programs. Such programs result from employer-specific inquiries and/or referrals from state agencies such as Economic and Community Development, West Tennessee Industrial Association, or local Chambers of Commerce. Supplemental evening classes are offered to meet community needs for short-term, timely topic training. While not a diploma track, they do allow the general public, employed technicians, or selected healthcare professionals to expand their knowledge of a chosen field. Areas such as Machining, Computer Operations, Welding, and Industrial Maintenance are offered as the need arises.
TCAT Jackson is one of 24 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology and 37 total institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) system that are located across the state, serving the citizens of Tennessee. The TBR and the Board of Trustees of the University of Tennessee System are coordinated by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). THEC was created by the General Assembly in 1967 to achieve coordination and unity in the programs of public higher education in Tennessee. The TBR system was created by legislation enacted by the 1963 General Assembly of Tennessee, Chapter 229 of House Bill 633. Chapter 181, Senate Bill 746-House Bill 697, of the Public Act of 1983 transferred the governance of the state technical institutes and area vocational-technical schools from the State Board of Education to the Tennessee Board of Regents. The transfer became effective on July 1, 1983. By action of the Tennessee Legislature in 1994, the school name changed from Jackson State Area Vocational Technical School to Tennessee Technology Center at Jackson In 2013, the Legislature unanimously approved changing the name of the state’s technology centers to the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.
The Tennessee Board of Regents, the governing body for Tennessee College of Applied Technology Jackson, underwent a major shift in 2017 because of the FOCUS Act of 2016 and the appointment of a new Chancellor, Dr. Flora Tydings. The FOCUS Act seeks to ensure the state’s Community Colleges and Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology are organized, supported, and empowered in efforts to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with a postsecondary credential. Largely this involved the development of local governing boards for each of the six universities, thus allowing TBR a greater focus on the 13 Community Colleges and 24 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology. Additional TBR efforts under the leadership of Dr. Tydings included the retitling of the chief administrative officers of the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology from Director to President; the movement towards all 37 campuses in the TBR system operating with shared services; and, the restructuring of the TBR organization uniting the community and Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology through common offices and services.
Directors and Presidents
|Edwin Croom||10/01/1964 – 09/10/1987|
|Jo Alred||10/01/1987 – 08/01/1997|
|James King||07/01/1997 – 08/31/1999|
|Brad White||09/15/1999 – 12/31/1999|
|Bruce Blanding||01/01/2000 - 01/01/2004|
|Don Williams||1/01/2004 – 12/31/2010|
|Lana Pierce||01/01/2011 - 06/30/2011|
|Jeff Sisk||07/01/2011 – 09/30/2022|
|Heath McMillian||10/01/2022 - Present|