Arconic provides grant to Pellissippi State to aid manufacturing education

Check presentation from Arconic to Pellissippi State on Oct. 19, 2018
Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., left, and Pellissippi State Foundation Executive Director Aneisa Rolen, right, accept a $25,000 grant from Jeff Weida, plant manager at Arconic Tennessee Operations, on Friday in Alcoa.

A $25,000 grant from Arconic Foundation will help Pellissippi State Community College teach middle and high school students about the careers available to them in manufacturing.

The grant, which was awarded July 25 and announced Friday, will support Pellissippi State’s efforts to bring the Dream It. Do It. Tennessee initiative to Blount County.

“Pellissippi State has a rich tradition of working closely with the local manufacturing community to prepare our students with the skills they need to succeed in this rapidly evolving workplace,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., who accepted the grant from the Arconic Foundation on Friday as he toured Arconic’s North Plant with high school students, teachers and counselors from the Alcoa, Maryville and Blount County school systems. “To be able to reach out to middle and high school students, as well as to introduce them to these in-demand careers as they start thinking about what they want to do after graduation, is a next step Pellissippi State is excited to take.”

Dream It. Do It. Tennessee was co-founded by the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services to respond to an ongoing need to fill the hundreds of job vacancies each year in advanced manufacturing. Nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs likely will be available over the next decade, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

Dream It. Do It. Tennessee is designed to create awareness among young people and those who influence their career decisions about the training and job opportunities that exist in advanced manufacturing today. Careers highlighted on the Dream It. Do It. Tennessee website – along with their average salary in Tennessee and the level of education needed for an entry-level position – include machinist, electronics engineering technician, industrial designer, electrician, welder, chemical engineer, computer hardware engineer, assembler and mechanical engineer.

“Arconic creates products that shape industries and solve our customers’ toughest challenges – those that require ingenuity and engineering and technical expertise from the brightest minds,” said Jeff Weida, plant manager at Arconic Tennessee Operations. “That’s why Arconic and Arconic Foundation continue to partner with educational institutions like Pellissippi State, to expose students to a wide array of STEM career opportunities.”

Plant manager talking to students
Jeff Weida, plant manager at Arconic Tennessee Operations, talks to Blount County students about advanced manufacturing careers Friday in Alcoa.

Pellissippi State’s Dream It. Do It. Blount County initiative will include outreach activities in middle and high schools as well as a Young Manufacturers Academy designed to engage students in hands-on learning with industry partners and Pellissippi State faculty.

Pellissippi State’s goal is to engage 185 Blount County students in the initiative.

Middle school students chosen for the Young Manufacturers Academy will participate next spring in a four-hour block of activities at Pellissippi State focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and manufacturing career pathways, while their parents will be invited to the Blount County Campus to learn more about career opportunities in advanced manufacturing.

Meanwhile, high school students chosen for the Young Manufacturers Academy will be immersed in manufacturing for one week next summer, with morning tours to industry partners’ facilities and afternoon sessions with Pellissippi State faculty.

“Alcoa City Schools is excited to participate in Pellissippi State’s Dream It. Do It. program sponsored by the Arconic Foundation,” said Director of Schools Brian Bell. “With our recent introduction of an advanced manufacturing pathway for high school students, this initiative will serve to further expand the strong partnership between Alcoa City Schools, Pellissippi State and Arconic. We are dedicated to providing early postsecondary opportunities for students that lead to high-skill, high-wage, high-demand jobs, including those in advanced manufacturing, in our community.”

Pellissippi State will work with the Boys & Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley along with faith-based and community-based agencies in Blount County to identify participants for the Young Manufacturers Academy.

For more information on Dream It. Do It. Tennessee, visit For more information on Pellissippi State, visit the website at or call 865.694.6400.