Tennessee offers guarantee for tech, community college programs


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - Diana MacDonald and Christy Dunn have a big chapter test coming up for their prerequisite nursing class at Tennessee College of Applied Technology Murfreesboro.

The two women are Certified Nursing Assistants who hope to become Licensed Practical Nurses to better serve their patients.

“I love the work I do," MacDonald said. "I love the people I work with. I want to move up and expand on that."

“You get that connection with them," Dunn said. "They’re like our family when we’re at work."

Thousands more Tennessee tech school students can feel more confident in their education thanks to a new state warranty program.

Starting next year, 13 Tennessee community colleges and 27 tech schools will offer free re-training for students whose employers report an insufficient skill set within a year of graduation. They’ll even receive a program warranty card.

“When we give you a certificate, it means something, it means you are a welder, you are a cosmetologist, you are a computer information technology person that can go out and perform a certain set of skills,” said Mark Lenz, president of TCAT Nashville.

Lenz said the warranty shows how much the system cares about students’ success, requiring administrators to put their money where their mouth is.

“If you can’t pass your national or state exam, we feel like we failed you, and so within a year we retrain you at no cost just to make sure you get that employment," Lenz said. "That’s why you came to us. You came to us to get these skill sets.”

For someone to be eligible, all they need is documentation from an employer saying the person they hired lacks the skills the institution tried to teach.

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