MEETING DEMAND

Corporate Training Center in new Blount County Building will increase training opportunities for clients

MegaLab Director Andy Polnicki, left, teaches a class of Timken Company employees at Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

Education shouldn’t stop once you enter the workforce.

At Pellissippi State, it doesn’t have to.

Pellissippi State’s Business and Community Services partners with more than 85 clients each year to provide training for their employees, either on site or on one of the College’s five campuses.

A Corporate Training Center planned for Pellissippi State’s new Blount County Workforce Development Center will help take that training to the next level, with 3,250 square feet of dedicated space that can be divided into three separate rooms.

“Space is always at a premium on our campuses,” explains Teri Brahams, executive director of Economic and Workforce Development for Pellissippi State. “And while BCS has a couple of dedicated spaces already, the demand outstrips our classroom availability.”

BCS can provide any training that a company needs for their employees, she says – from emergency management technician training for AMR & Rural Metro to hydraulic and pneumatic training for Timken Company. BCS assists with apprenticeship programs for both Massey Electric and Danny Davis Electrical Contractors and brings in specialized equipment to train employees of Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC/Y-12 National Security Complex and ProNova Solutions. BCS also trains Newell Brands’ employees on supervisory and leadership skills and provides DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee space to train their employees in leadership and management skills.

“Pellissippi State provides us the opportunity to utilize their Blount County Campus to hold our management trainings in an academic environment,” says Lisa Matthews, DENSO’s section leader for Talent Management. “Being off-site in the Pellissippi State classrooms allows the leaders to focus on the training.”

During the 2017-18 academic year, BCS trained more than 4,000 individuals – and those trainings could take half a day, one day, a whole week or multiple weeks over the course of an academic year, Brahams notes. That’s one reason a Corporate Training Center will be beneficial.

“For example, right now DENSO is using both the BCS room and the community room on our Blount County Campus for ongoing leadership and supervisory training,” she explains. “That means that other Blount County companies that request assistance from us are limited simply due to space.”

“We spend a lot of time on the Blount County Campus,” Matthews agrees, explaining that many of the DENSO management training sessions last eight hours a day for five consecutive days. “We’ve increased the number of classes due to the company’s growth locally; currently we’re on the Blount County Campus two to three weeks each month. It’s the perfect place for us.”

A Corporate Training Center won’t just provide more space, Brahams adds – it will provide better space.

“The space that we use for training is different than our classrooms on the academic side,” she explains. “On our Blount County Campus, our community room was designed in pods – groups of five, in this case – to encourage teamwork. And there isn’t an instructor station, which would limit instructors to only one wall for projecting presentations. The Corporate Training Center has been designed with those elements in mind.”

DENSO employees use Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus for ongoing leadership and supervisory training.

The Corporate Training Center will give clients more flexibility – not only by being able to divide the room into three separate training spaces, but also by including a culinary prep space.

“That will allow us to use that space for events as well, whether those events are for the College, for a company or for a community organization,” Brahams says. “That space will be available for rental in that way.”

Clients already are responding positively to the news that a Corporate Training Center will be included in Pellissippi State’s Blount County Workforce Development Center, she adds.

“Being limited by space can increase issues of being able to deliver training to employees in a timeframe the clients want,” Brahams says. “This Corporate Training Center will open up additional opportunities for us.”

Even clients like Massey Electric, which holds its apprenticeship classes on site, are excited about the opportunities in the new Blount County Workforce Development Center, which is expected to open in fall 2021.

“A lot of companies don’t have a place to train on site, so it will be nice to have this Corporate Training Center close by,” says Rick Heath, director of Training and Safety for Massey Electric. “I know that our return on investment here is huge. You’ve got to grow your own people.”

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The Corporate Training Center will give clients more flexibility – not only by being able to divide the room into three separate training spaces, but also by including a culinary prep space. “That will allow us to use that space for events as well, whether those events are for the College, for a company or for a community organization,” Brahams says. “That space will be available for rental in that way.” Clients already are responding positively to the news that a Corporate Training Center will be included in Pellissippi State’s Blount County Workforce Development Center, she adds. “Being limited by space can increase issues of being able to deliver training to employees in a timeframe the clients want,” Brahams says. “This Corporate Training Center will open up additional opportunities for us.” Even clients like Massey Electric, which holds its apprenticeship classes on site, are excited about the opportunities in the new Blount County Workforce Development Center, which is expected to open in fall 2021. “A lot of companies don’t have a place to train on site, so it will be nice to have this Corporate Training Center close by,” says Rick Heath, director of Training and Safety for Massey Electric. “I know that our return on investment here is huge. You’ve got to grow your own people.”