ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Tennessee College of Applied Technology’s (TCAT) Elizabethton campus will see more students this year than it ever has.

In a press release, TCAT Elizabethton President David Hicks said the college projected 1,050 students for the Fall trimester.

Hicks said the college set another enrollment record over the Summer. 437 students were enrolled during the Summer trimester, “a recent years record for Summer.”

He said the college’s outreach to local high school students seeking dual enrollment classes was a big driver for the record.

“Our staff have gone out and worked with our area high schools,” Hicks said. “We’ve collaborated with our curriculum, what’s being offered at high school, and what we’re teaching. Working with our area high schools has really been the impetus for that number being higher.”

Hicks said this year’s enrollment is about 400 students higher than last year’s Fall trimester.

Elizabethton City Schools Director of Schools Richard Van Huss said his district has seen that outreach and more students are taking dual enrollment classes.

“We have expanded those opportunities, thanks to TCAT, this year,” Van Huss said. “We have roughly about 140-150 students that are benefitting from that.”

While hitting the enrollment record, Hicks said TCAT is trying to accelerate its programs by allowing students to work closely with their desired career path and fill workforce demands quicker.

“For example, you can participate in a building construction program and do the full thing or you can concentrate on exit points such as plumbing, electrical, roofing,” Hicks said.

Hicks said most of the college’s 18 programs are available for dual enrollment credit, meaning some high school students can get a head start or even begin their career directly after graduation.

“If they start early enough, as early as 9th grade, they could potentially get all the way through a program in high school where they graduate from high school and have certification from TCAT,” Hicks said.

Hicks said the programs offered at TCAT are tailored to areas of need by Tri-Cities employers.

He said students are set up for success through dual enrollment.

“We have to place the students in jobs,” Hicks said. “That requirement for us ensures that not only will you receive an education, but we will place you in a job with a good wage.”

The future site of the Carter County Higher Education Center sits next door to the TCAT Elizabethton campus.

Hicks said the joint collaboration between TCAT and Northeast State Community College will provide more high school students with dual enrollment opportunities.

Van Huss said the available programs have changed the way students are able to learn.

“If we can help students push along and advance in that career, we’re excited to do that,” Van Huss said.

Hicks said TCAT’s new Boones Creek annex will be ready for students in some programs this trimester. 125 of the 1,050 students in this trimester’s enrollment will attend class there.

TCAT Elizabethton’s Fall trimester starts next Tuesday.