The Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Nashville, or TCAT Nashville for short, was formerly known as the Tennessee Technology Center at Nashville and the Nashville State Area Vocational-Technical School. The College is accredited by the Council of Occupational Education. The College has a long and rich tradition in serving the residents of the Middle Tennessee. Since its origin at Hume-Fogg Vocational-Technical School in the fall of 1940. Under the Smith-Hughes Act, Hume-Fogg was designated a Vocational-Technical School.
During WWII the facility was utilized twenty-four hours a day. The major purpose of Vocational-Technical Education from 1940-45 was the training of workers, many of whom were female, for the aircraft defense plants, shipyards, and other industrial plants. These ladies were characterized as Ruby the Riveters in recruiting illustrations. Many of the trainees went on to work in manufacturing airframes and ammunition for the war effort. In 1945, at the end of World War II, there was a need to train or re-train the returning veterans and other workers in a greatly expanding economy. During that time period, approximately 21,000 workers and 4,000 veterans received training in various fields at Hume-Fogg Vocational-Technical School.
With the passage of the Federal Vocational Education Act of 1963, the state of Tennessee enacted companion legislation, which provided for a system of State Area Vocational-Technical Schools. The State Department of Education in 1964 contracted with the Davidson County Board of Education to operate the State Area Vocational-Technical School at Hume-Fogg Vocational-Technical School. This operation continued until 1968.
In January 1968, the administration of the Nashville State Area Vocational-Technical School was transferred from the Davidson County Board of Education to the State Department of Vocational-Technical Education. A new facility was built on an eighty-five acre tract at 100 White Bridge Road. The transition of classes to the Nashville State Area Vocational-Technical School from Hume-Fogg Vocational-Technical School was accomplished in approximately four months.
By April 1968, one hundred students in Office Occupations, Drafting, Machine Shop, Radio and Television, and Cosmetology were established in the new facility. The first group of students graduated in the fall of 1968.
In August of 1980, a new building was constructed to meet the growing needs of the institution. On June 29, 1982, the campus was dedicated to Matt Lynch, a state labor leader and former member of the school’s General Advisory Committee. In 1983, the General Assembly passed legislation, which transferred the governance of the State Area Schools from the State Board of Vocational Education to the Tennessee Board of Regents.
In 1988, the school secured the use of the TVA Training Facility located at 7204 Cockrill Bend in order to offer special industry training courses. Two years later, the school entered into a five-year lease agreement with Tennessee State University to establish the TVA facilities extension campus for the school. The school renovated the TVA training facility at Cockrill Bend in order to begin two new training programs in 1990: Truck Driving and Aviation Maintenance Technology. In 2017 ownership of the property was transferred from Tennessee State University to the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Nashville.
In order to provide adequate facilities to accommodate the fast expansion of automotive training, a new building was constructed. The Automotive Technology building was completed in February 1992. The building was named after Charles Malin, the first Supervisor of the Nashville State Area Vocational-Technical School to be named a Director of the Tennessee Technology Center. In 1997 a campus wide remodeling project was completed by updating the existing buildings and adding two new buildings to the Nashville campus.
In 1994, the General Assembly passed legislation to change the name of the State Area Vocational-Technical Schools to “Tennessee Technology Centers”. Dr. Johnny Williams was named the Director in 1999. In 2009 Mr. Mark Lenz was selected to be his successor to become the third Director of the Tennessee Technology Center. Then in 2013 the schools were renamed again to “Colleges of Applied Technology”. The latest name change better describes the level of career and occupational training available at TCAT’s. In 2015 Mr. Lenz was named the College’s first President.
In 2005 the school entered into an agreement with Robertson County to occupy and renovated a 5000 square foot building located at 104 7th Avenue West in Springfield Tennessee. In the Spring of 2006 Cosmetology classes began in Springfield to meet the needs of local high school students who were graduating programs in Robertson County Schools with only 500 of the 1500 hours of training needed to test for a state license. The Springfield Campus program has won the most Gold Medals per capita in Skills USA contests.
In 2013 TCAT Nashville entered into an agreement with Sumner County Schools to occupy a former Vocational High School 40,000 square foot building at 602 South Broadway in Portland Tennessee. The site houses the state’s first technical high school. It is named the Sumner County Middle Technical College High School. The school opened in the Spring of 2014 with Machine Tool, Welding and Computer Information Technology programs suited to meet the industrial training needs in the area. Since then five more programs have been added with a capacity for 160 students.
In the Fall of 2017 ground was broken on the TCAT Nashville main campus to construct a new Diesel Mechanics training facility. Construction of the 15,654 square foot building was completed in the late Fall of 2018. The building can facilitate the training of 50 students, or 2 classes of 25 students each. Classes began in the Summer of 2019.
At this time, TCAT Nashville is one of top colleges of the twenty-seven Colleges of Applied Technology in the state, providing hands on college accredited, highly skilled, low-cost occupational, dual enrollment opportunities for area high schools, and workforce development training for Tennessee residents. The college offers multiple day and evening classes in 22 different programs in transportation and manufacturing, human services, and allied health programs. TCAT Nashville’s graduates excel in their career choices. The college has a close working relationship with area businesses and industries who support the institution through cash and in-kind donations, participating on program advisory committees, and by providing cooperative paid learning opportunities for the students. A new Allied Health training building is planned for further expansion on the main campus. The college and its 4 sites continue under the leadership of President Lenz.