CHS Tech Education gets state grant

By SARALYN NORKUS Staff Writer
Posted 8/28/17

Cleveland High School’s Career and Technical Education program was recently awarded a grant nearing $160,000 from the Tennessee Department of Education.

Following a three-year campaign to …

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CHS Tech Education gets state grant

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Cleveland High School’s Career and Technical Education program was recently awarded a grant nearing $160,000 from the Tennessee Department of Education.

Following a three-year campaign to increase CTE funding, Education Commissioner Candice McQueen announced the state would be awarding $15 million to help schools purchase new equipment.

“The State Department of Education was limited with their funding sources, so we approached our legislators and campaigned for three years,” explained Cleveland CTE supervisor Renny Whittenbarger.

“Some of our equipment in our schools across the state is so primitive, it is hard for us to teach relevant technology. Yet, we weren’t getting enough state funding to purchase those big items.

“This is vital to the longevity of our program — if we don’t get some type of consistent, sustainable funding, I’m afraid to say what will happen to CTE at the secondary level as far as teaching on relevant equipment,” Whittenbarger continued.

The grant awards averaged around $125,000, but Cleveland High will be receiving $159,999. The grant has been split between its mechatronics and health science programs.

Whittenbarger currently has three purchase orders waiting to be placed, with $6,088 earmarked for diagnostic medicine equipment; $46,463 going toward the purchase of 52 new computers to be split between health sciences and mechatronics; and a $107,447 advanced mechatronics system.

“It’s very important, not only to have mechatronic equipment, but to have new, updated and the most leading-edge equipment that they are using in manufacturing,” said CHS engineering teacher Ben Williams.

“It really allows students to not just simulate what they are learning or what they need to know, but allows them to gain that hands-on, applied knowledge.”

Having already received a donated FANUC robot from Gestamp, Cleveland’s mechatronics students will have the opportunity to learn two more programming languages, Allen Bradley and Siemens.

“The state recognizes Siemens certification as a state certification for students to get college credit with. When the students leave our program, they will be well-versed in three different PLC programming languages,” Whittenbarger said.

As soon as the Cleveland CTE purchase plans are approved by the state, the order process will move quickly. The CTE supervisor added that the big, advanced mechatronics system would take around three to four months to reach the high school.

saralyn.norkus@

clevelandbanner.com

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