First year at Manchester campus starts this month WHO Manchester Instructional Service Center operated under TCAT McMinnville WHAT Industrial Maintenance Training – 1728 instructional hours (4 trimesters) for a diploma. **This program qualifies for Title IV financial aid as well as TN Promise and TN ReConnect for qualifying students. WHEN First day of classes – Feb. 26, applications are due by Feb. 19. Applications and fee schedules are available at Manchester Chamber of Commerce or online at
. WHERE Industrial Maintenance Training – 1877 Volunteer Parkway, Manchester Jeff Steers, editor Build it, and they will come. It worked for Ray Kinsella in the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams.” Local chamber members and industrialists in Manchester are hoping it works for them. As of last Thursday (Feb. 1), only three students have signed up for classes in a new Instructional Service Center in Manchester training for industrial maintenances jobs. But the 16-month industrial maintenance program is open to anyone in the community, from any county and any age. Classes are slated to start Feb. 26, at 1877 Volunteer Parkway – inside the Interstate Industrial Park – in Manchester. Under the direction and support of Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) – McMinnville, the new center allows students the opportunity to obtain a diploma through a 16-month Industrial Maintenance Program. It all started with the simple idea of reaching out into the community and finding out what the needs were. With that in mind, the Manchester Chamber of Commerce set out on a mission to bringing people together. In an effort to facilitate communication between industries in Coffee County, they established an Industrial Roundtable. At this quarterly meeting, industry plant managers and CEO’s joined with educators and state economic professionals to discuss current issues and plan for the future. At the first roundtable meeting, it was mutually agreed upon that the greatest need of local industry was a skilled workforce, and in order to meet that need, a higher education facility was in order. The next step was getting the approval and funding for an Instructional Service Center in Coffee County. TCAT-McMinnville President Dr. Warren Laux and Tennessee Board of Regents Executive Vice Chancellor James King guided chamber staff step-by-step through the process. Their focused determination and tireless efforts were ultimately met with success. Throughout the course of approximately 16 months, the Instructional Service Center was approved and awarded a $400,000 grant to purchase the needed equipment. However, there was one condition. Coffee County was responsible for coming up with a facility. Keith Hayes, chief operating officer of VIAM Manufacturing stepped up and made the new service center a reality. Hayes offered to provide a facility for the Instructional Service Center for five years at no cost, including utilities, parking, custodial services, phone and maintenance. He has also gone above and beyond by footing the bill for remodeling costs. “He believes in the program,” Dr. Laux said. “I can’t sing enough praises for him [Keith]. He’s a man of few words, but a lot of action and belief.” None of this would have happened without the unified efforts of many others. Through the additional support of Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings, State Legislators Janice Bowling and Judd Matheny, Coffee County Mayor Gary Cordell, Richard Skipper, along with the strong involvement and commitment of local industries, the new Instructional Service Center is proof that when people come together, big things can happen. Dr. Laux’s face beams as he reflects on the relationships that have been built through working together on this monumental achievement. “It’s great for the community … I’m very, very pleased,” Laux says with a smile. Freelance writer Trisha Leone Sandora contributed to this article, a portion of which was first printed in a Manchester Chamber of Commerce guide.