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NASHVILLE — Chattanooga State is getting a $1.12 million grant to boost its career and technical education programs through the federal Perkins Grant program.

It's one of seven grants totaling just over $5.7 million being awarded to seven Tennessee community and technical programs.

Other institutions receiving the grants:

— Tennessee College of Applied Technology Dickson - $1 million.

— TCAT Knoxville - $1 million.

— TCAT Murfreesboro - $1 million.

— Jackson State Community College - $673,000.

— Volunteer State Community College - $500,000.

— TCAT Crossville - $424,659.

The awards are aimed at recruiting, engaging and developing for innovation. They came following a competitive application process conducted by the Tennessee Board of Regents. Regents established the grants with unexpended federal Perkins funding from previous fiscal years that would otherwise expire this year.

Colleges were given an opportunity to apply for the innovation grants for these purposes: purchasing equipment for training to help get students ready for future careers; engaging high school students in college-credit opportunities such as dual enrollment programs and other purposes.

Typical awards per institution are between $50,000 and $100,000. But regents officials say the grant created a "rare opportunity" for a college to receive a one-time award amount worth significantly more.

Several colleges that applied included a focus on special-population students or students in non-traditional occupational programs.

"That amount of funding could be life-changing for career and technical education students, especially at colleges that creatively decide to focus on special populations in the use of the funds," said Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings in a news release. "I look forward to seeing how the colleges make a difference in the lives of their students and their communities with this funding."

Michael Tinsley, assistant vice chancellor for student success at the Board of Regents, said the recipient colleges submitted a broad list of equipment, services and programs that they plan to use the funding for.

These include career and technical education camps for students, professional development, industry certification exams and training equipment for programs including automotive and diesel technology, building construction, computer information technology, cosmetology, culinary arts, dental assisting, digital graphic design, heating ventilation and air conditioning, mechatronics, nursing and welding.

— Compiled by Andy Sher

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