NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ More than 9,000 Tennessee adults have signed up for free technical college education under a new statewide grant that covers tuition.

WPLN-FM reports ( ) a program called Tennessee Reconnect was instituted by the state to help citizens earn degrees. It also has helped publicize the state’s 27 colleges of applied technology.

Students at technical colleges earn certificates and degrees in fields including welding, cosmetology and information technology.

Tennessee Board of Regents Associate Vice-Chancellor Carol Puryear says the program has been successful for the schools, which had been struggling to achieve recognition among the public.

Tennessee Reconnect’s executive director Mike Krause says the tuition-free grant is ongoing.