Lauderdale County Schools received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy during the Fall 2019 Honors Program at TCAT-Ripley on December 17, 2019. Dr. Kim McCormick, Vice Chancellor of External Affairs for the Tennessee Board of Regents, outlined the work between the two institutions before presenting the award to Shawn Kimble, Superintendent of Lauderdale County Schools.
Lauderdale County Schools have proven their commitment to Career and Technical Education in a strong partnership with the Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Ripley through Dual Enrollment (DE) initiatives. The Lauderdale County Schools’ educational plan has a strategic goal to prepare students to be college and career ready. Action steps within the district seek to increase early postsecondary opportunities, ACT composite scores, and industry certifications.
Lauderdale County Schools continue to promote career readiness and higher education opportunities through the TCAT-Ripley. By utilizing the benefits of TN Scholars and the TNPromise programs, students may qualify for scholarships that can be used at any of the state’s 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology, or other eligible institutions offering degrees, diplomas, or certifications. Additionally, in collaboration with other school districts and business and industry partners in West Tennessee, a Work Ethic Certificate has been implemented to encourage the development of industry-identified “soft skills” that are needed in the evolving workforce.
Ripley High School (RHS) and Halls High School (HHS) have enrolled 900+ students in dual enrollment programs with TCAT-Ripley over the past 13 years. The school district was the first district to provide daily bus transportation to TCAT-Ripley for students to attend DE classes. Both high schools have partnered with TCAT-Ripley to offer onsite DE programs.
Halls HS offers a DE Structural Systems program and RHS has established onsite Machining Tool Technology and welding programs where students may earn industry credentials and/or hours toward postsecondary programs. TCAT-Ripley funded the Machining Tool equipment for RHS with a LEAP 2.0 grant in the amount of $98,200. Also, in a joint grant application with TCAT-Ripley, Ripley HS was named a recipient of the Supporting Postsecondary Attainment in Rural Counties (SPARC) grant in the amount of $75,000.
RHS has also been awarded HAAS grants totaling $10,000 to help cover additional expenses to successful in machining credentialing. In 2017-2018, 17 students were enrolled in Machining Tool Technology and five students earned NIMS Measurement, Materials, and Safety certificates. Last year, 26 students earned OSHA 10 certificates through TCAT-Ripley and the credentialing numbers continue to grow.
The partnership between TCAT-Ripley and Lauderdale County Schools continues to expand with a focus on the common goal of creating a highly skilled, resilient workforce. By capturing the young minds before high school graduation and allowing them to experience early postsecondary training, student will me more successful in attaining high wage, high demand jobs after graduation. These efforts have been, and will be, transformational for Lauderdale County and the State of Tennessee. The economic future of Lauderdale County citizens depends on innovative programming such as the one the exists between TCAT-Ripley and Lauderdale County Schools.