HAVE YOU felt the rumble of activity in Bedford County? If you’re feeling a movement under the earth below your feet, it’s not an earthquake – it’s the massive improvement that is coming to the area! Better access to education, government transpar- ency, and access to the information you need about Bedford County is now (or will soon be) at your fingertips.
Have you heard about the new $42 million TCAT (Tennessee College of Applied Technology) Shelbyville campus expansion? A skilled workforce is needed in industries around Middle Tennessee. The diverse training that is available at TCAT Shelbyville includes everything from Administrative Office Technology, Industrial Electricity, Practical Nursing, Truck Driving, Welding Technology, and more.
“The new TCAT will be a game-changer for our region,” said State Representative Pat Marsh who worked with State Senator Shane Reeves to include the project in the state budget. The 117,000 square foot educational center will be located at 231 North Business Park and will facilitate partnerships and customized training programs that will benefit existing industries and make Bedford County more attractive for businesses looking to move to Middle Tennessee.
Many people worked together to get this project off the ground, including State Senator Shane Reeves, State Representative Pat Marsh, Governor Lee, and County Mayor Chad Graham.
As County Mayor Graham said, “The state’s decision to fund the new Tennessee College of Applied Technology/Bedford County Higher Education Center is far-sighted. This facility is an innovative way to meet Tennessee’s most critical economic challenge, workforce training. It will benefit not only Bedford County, but all Middle Tennessee.”
This new campus is important for several reasons. First and foremost, there is a waitlist of over 500 people waiting for classes at the Shelbyville TCAT campus. This new campus will enable those students to get the training they need to fast-track their careers.
There are also plans for high school students to participate in “dual enrollment” where they can earn credit for their high school graduation while attending classes at TCAT. They will be able to graduate high school and already have college credits or perhaps even a certificate from one of the diverse programs available at TCAT Shelbyville.
This type of facility aids the economic development of the individuals who receive training there and the entire region. This sounds like a win-win for everyone.
You might know the justice department moved out of the courthouse in 2019 and there is a renovation underway to better utilize the space. The pandemic really highlighted the need to have the ability to livestream meetings and meet changing technological needs for the future. The renovation will include having a large meeting room available with monitors for viewing more easily from the back of the room as well as wiring for audio and video productions.
As meetings are livestreamed and people can watch them from their homes, this can increase community engagement in local government. Helping the people of Bedford County have access to their local government officials and be aware of what is happening in their region is important to stay informed and updated. As Aung San Suu Kyi said,
“Democracy is when people keep a government in check.” Additionally, while keeping the courthouse’s 1930’s architectural style, there was an overdue need to update bathrooms and have listening devices available for public meetings to better meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements. The renovation should be complete in November 2021.
Why should you care about an updated county website? Knowledgeable citizens can be more active in their local community. The new website has ways to look at county meeting agendas and meeting minutes as well as listen to audio recordings from past county commissioner meetings.
You can also send an email or file a complaint right on the county website by clicking on the “Contact Us” link. All of the county departments are listed including their responsibilities, office locations, staff names, and phone numbers. There are bid opportunities as well as job opportunities. Looking for something to do? Check out the calendar of events and meetings.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Use the search bar at the top of each page and enter what you are looking for. Scroll down to see what your options are. If you still can’t find what you are looking for, call the office. There are still considerate humans at the Bedford County department offices to help you.
With so many purposes for the Bedford County website, it is designed to make accessing information easier than ever and promoting transparency in local government. Doesn’t that sound like a great idea?
Be sure to check out the easy-to-navigate website at: BedfordCountyTN.gov
Stay tuned for even more good news coming from the County Mayor’s office! It’s a great time to be in Bedford County, Tennessee. -GN