Rising country music star to perform free concert after manufacturing showcase at Pellissippi State

Courtney Cole in front of the ocean
Rising country music star Courtney Cole will perform a free concert April 10 on Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus, as part of Country Music Television’s Empowering Education tour.

Those interested in careers in manufacturing have a chance to learn more about local job opportunities and catch a free concert at Pellissippi State Community College next month.

Pellissippi State is one of four Tennessee community colleges on Country Music Television’s Empowering Education tour featuring rising star Courtney Cole, a Belmont University graduate who has been named one of CMT’s Next Women of Country.

A manufacturing showcase will start at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, in the lobby of Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus, followed by the free concert at 6 p.m. in the campus’ West Chevrolet Auditorium.

Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus is located at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Friendsville. While the concert is free, tickets are required, as seating is limited.

“We want folks to come out, maybe who have never set foot on our campus, to learn more about the manufacturing careers available right here in our community as well as the manufacturing programs we offer at Pellissippi State,” said Blount County Campus Dean Holly Burkett.

The manufacturing showcase will highlight resources available to students to pursue the initial education and training required to break into a manufacturing career as well as resources available for those who wish to advance their careers with their existing employers, she noted.

Representatives of local companies – including DENSO, Newell Rubbermaid, Cherokee Millwright, Massey Electric, ICC International and Arconic – will be on hand to answer questions, as will representatives from Pellissippi State and Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville, which will inhabit a portion of the new Blount County Workforce Development Center planned for Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus.

The 62,000-square-foot Workforce Development Center, which the college plans to break ground on in December, will include a Smart Factory MegaLab; a Corporate Training Center for training the employees of the college’s more than 30 employer partners; and Pellissippi State programming for computer information technology, culinary arts, industrial maintenance, mechanical engineering technology, and robotics and industrial automation. Meanwhile, TCAT Knoxville will offer machine tool technology, pipe fitting, industrial electrical maintenance and welding and a variety of healthcare programming.

“My excitement is that not only will Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus be able to offer associate degrees, but also these technical trades that the Blount County community needs,” Burkett said, referencing the 5,500 new jobs Blount Partnership has announced since 2011. “Many times our Tennessee Promise scholarship students come to college because they know it’s a great opportunity, but they don’t know what they want to do. Now they can choose to pursue a program that will transfer to a four-year institution or go with one of our many career programs that prepares them to enter the workforce as soon as possible. It’s a total win-win.”

CMT joined forces with TBR – The College System of Tennessee – for the Empowering Education tour in an effort to increase the number of work-ready residents in the state. Those who attend the concert after the manufacturing showcase will hear success stories from two Pellissippi State students and two TCAT Knoxville students as well as from the artist, who is a vocal advocate for education.

“As someone who graduated from college in Tennessee, I am thrilled to be working with CMT and TBR to spread the message of the potential education has to change your life,” said Cole, who has opened for Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney and Thomas Rhett. “I can’t wait to tour the state, put on a really fun show and encourage people to follow their dreams.”

CMT Empowering Education’s goal is to connect Tennesseans with ways to further their education and develop their skills in order to achieve their dreams. It also supports the state’s “Drive to 55” mission to increase the number of Tennesseans with a post-high-school degree or certificate to 55 percent of the state’s population by 2025. Achieving that goal will require 800,000 more Tennesseans getting the training and skills needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.eduFor more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

###

Benefit performances of “The Vagina Monologues” to help victims of violence

Oil panting by Jennifer Brickey
“Private Places,” an oil on canvas painting by Jennifer Brickey, an associate professor of studio art and art history at Pellissippi State, is being used to help advertise the upcoming benefit performances of “The Vagina Monologues” at the college.

Pellissippi State Community College is using art to bring awareness of violence against women with two theatre performances that benefit the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee.

Women faculty and students will perform a staged reading of Eve Ensler’s play, “The Vagina Monologues,” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, and at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the West Chevrolet Auditorium on the college’s Blount County Campus, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Friendsville.

A $10 donation is suggested at the door, as the performances are part of V-Day, a global activist moment to end violence against all women and girls. However, Associate Professor Grechen Wingerter said Pellissippi State will turn no one away because the messages in the play are powerful.

“Women in all walks of life have been affected by violence,” said Wingerter, who is directing both performances at Pellissippi State. “If we haven’t experienced violence personally, we know someone who has.”

“The Vagina Monologues,” which debuted in 1996, broke new ground. Based on dozens of interviews Ensler conducted with women, the play addresses women’s sexuality and the social stigma surrounding rape and abuse. After every performance, Ensler found women waiting to share their own stories of survival, leading Ensler and a group of women to establish in 1998 the nonprofit V-Day, which stages benefit performances of “The Vagina Monologues” and “A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer: Writings to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls,” also by Ensler, every February.

To date, the V-Day movement has raised more than $100 million and funded more than 13,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Indian Country and Iraq, according to the V-Day website.

“All our readers are women or identify as women because these are all real stories from real women,” Wingerter noted. “These are stories of women who have not had power. In some situations, women are considered second-class citizens. Race, gender, sexuality, religion – all of that plays a part. And we will keep telling these stories until the violence stops.”

Wingerter warns that “The Vagina Monologues” is an adult-oriented show that tries to break the taboo of talking about women’s bodies. Parental discretion is advised.

“Some of these stories have tough language, and some have tough subject matter,” she said. “We say the word ‘vagina’ a lot, as well as its many euphemisms. You may be uncomfortable. Our readers may be uncomfortable. But we have to learn not to be afraid to say the word ‘vagina.’”

While the issues are serious, some stories have taken a comedic or light-hearted approach, leading to moments of laughter that allows audiences to let some of that tension go, Wingerter added.

“I hope both our students who are participating and those who come to see the play will take away that their voices matter, that their experiences matter,” she said. “Let’s look at how often those in the minority are told that their voices are not important. ‘The Vagina Monologues’ empowers women to speak out, that there are people who will listen.”

A talk-back session will be held after each performance, allowing those in the audience and the readers to discuss what they’ve seen and heard, as well as their own experiences.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.eduFor more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

###

Pellissippi State hosts play about Underground Railroad

Poster for "Oh Freedom"
Pellissippi State will host “Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad” on two of its campuses this month.

Pellissippi State Community College will host free performances of “Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad” on two of its campuses this month, and the public is invited.

The one-act play will be performed by The WordPlayers at 12:25 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the college’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave., Knoxville, and at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, at the college’s Blount County Campus, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Friendsville.

Each performance is approximately 50 minutes.

Written by Peter Manos, “Oh Freedom! The Story of the Underground Railroad” combines the stories of the men and women who were active in the fight against slavery with songs of the period, according to a description on The WordPlayers’ website. Famous participants like Harriet Tubman and Harriet Beecher Stowe are represented, but so are lesser known heroes of the movement like John Rankin, whose house on a hill above the Ohio River was a beacon for freedom for many escaping bondage; the mysterious “Peg Leg” Joe, who moved among the plantations teaching slaves to escape and “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” a song designed to show them the way; and Henry “Box” Brown, who had himself put in a box and mailed to freedom by general post.

“Knowledge about our American history, on all levels, is extremely important,” said Magnolia Avenue Campus Dean Rosalyn Tillman and Blount County Campus Dean Holly Burkett in a joint statement. “Sharing this knowledge in this entertaining way enlightens our students and our community about this history.”

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

###

Pellissippi State expands with new buildings planned for Hardin Valley and Blount County campuses

Artist rendering of new science and math building
Pellissippi State plans to break ground on a new science and math building on its Hardin Valley Campus this spring and open it for classes in fall 2021.

Pellissippi State Community College has announced today its largest expansion in 44 years.

Pellissippi State, the largest community college in Tennessee with 10,894 students, announced plans to build a science and math building on its Hardin Valley Campus in Knoxville and a workforce development center on its Blount County Campus in Friendsville.

“Today is a historic day at Pellissippi State,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Never before have we had two capital projects occurring simultaneously. Never before have we set a $10 million fundraising goal. And never before have we engaged so many volunteers in the process.”

The new 82,000-square-foot science and math building will help Pellissippi State meet demands for classrooms and lab spaces that have increased due to Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, last-dollar scholarships offered to high school seniors and adults without college degrees, respectively.

“Pellissippi State’s general biology lab is in use for 12 hours a day, five days a week, with most labs at full capacity,” said Kane Barker, dean of Natural & Behavioral Sciences. “Many students need this course and other math and science classes in order to graduate on time. This new building will double the capacity for many of our core courses.”

Meanwhile, Blount County has experienced $2.8 billion in new capital investment and announced 5,500 new jobs since 2011, according to the Blount Partnership. Pellissippi State’s new 62,000-square-foot workforce development center will help fill the area’s need for highly skilled, college-educated employees.

“This new building will allow us to expand our Engineering Technology, Computer Information Technology and Culinary Arts associate degree programs and certificates,” said Teri Brahams, executive director for Economic and Workforce Development for Pellissippi State. “We would not be here today without DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee’s commitment to expansion and employment in Blount County and their advocacy on behalf of manufacturing in our state.”

Pellissippi State plans to break ground on the new science and math building this spring and open it in fall 2021. The college plans to break ground on the workforce development center in December 2019, and classes will start there in fall 2021.

The total project cost for the construction of the new science and math building is $27 million while the total project cost for the construction of the workforce development center is $16.5 million.

Pellissippi State is responsible for $2.7 million for the new science and math building, which is primarily funded by the state, and $5.5 million for the workforce development center, which also is being funded by the state and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville, which will occupy part of the building.

Other funding priorities announced Friday include $800,000 to expand Pellissippi State’s Media Technology program, specifically the Audio Production Engineering concentration, as well as $1 million to help support students through scholarships and emergency assistance and to help faculty through funding individual departments and programs, professional development opportunities and new equipment and technology updates.

Part of Friday’s announcement was that the Pellissippi State Foundation already has raised $8 million of its $10 million goal, thanks to significant contributions from donors such as the Haslam Family Foundation; Ruth and Steve West; Blount County, the City of Maryville and the City of Alcoa in partnership with the Industrial Development Board; Pilot Flying J; Arconic Foundation; Clayton Family Foundation; Clayton Homes Inc.; UT-Battelle; DENSO North America Foundation; Oak Ridge Associated Universities; UCOR, an AECOM-led partnership with Jacobs; William Ed Harmon; and the Thompson Charitable Foundation.

For more information about the Pellissippi State’s two new buildings and the campaign to build them, visit www.pstcc.edu/campaignforpellissippistate/. To view the video shown at today’s event, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1gYaZL8Oqg&feature=youtu.be.

For more information on Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

###

Joy Bishop receives Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy

Pellissippi State Foundation Board Member Receiving TBR's Chancellor's Award
(L-R) Ginger Hausser, TBR associate vice president for Institutional Advancement, Joy Bishop, Regent Danni Varlan, PSCC President L. Anthony Wise

 

The Tennessee Board of Regents has presented the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy to Maryville’s Joy Bishop in recognition of her support of Pellissippi State Community College.

The award is part of TBR’s Excellence in Philanthropy Awards recognition program that began in 2003 to recognize individuals, companies and organizations who donate their resources, finances and personal time to TBR institutions. TBR is the governing body for Tennessee’s 13 community colleges and 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology.

“I am honored to receive this award. I believe in the community college concept, and I particularly support Pellissippi State and its Blount County Campus. Dr. Wise, the faculty and the staff at Pellissippi State have added a great deal to all five of their campuses. I’m just so proud to be a member of the Pellissippi State Foundation Board of Trustees,” Bishop said.

Bishop has been a long-time supporter of Pellissippi State. She provided leadership in two of Pellissippi State’s major gift campaigns, which have resulted in the establishment and the expansion of the college’s Blount County Campus.

“Joy’s financial commitment to the college is just the tip of the iceberg in measuring her impact. She is a natural-born fundraiser who is not shy about asking others to support our institution,” said L. Anthony Wise, president of Pellissippi State.”

Most notably, she also was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Leg-Up Child Care Assistance Program, a program that provides free child care to a number of qualified Pellissippi State students who are single parents. The program is a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Human Services, Pellissippi State and state-licensed child care centers in East Tennessee.

Program participants must be enrolled in a minimum of six credit-hours, have a 2.0 or better grade-point-average and be working toward a certificate or associate degree program. Leg-Up pays the full cost of weekly child care, after-school costs, registration fees and various activity charges for children between six-weeks-old and age 13.

The financial burden on single parent-students to provide child care while they work, attend school, and take care of their children, is a major factor in determining whether a student will successfully complete college. The annual cost of providing one child with year-round care can exceed $10,000 a year, and many of Pellissippi State’s student-parents have more than one child. Students participating in Leg-Up have shown improved class attendance, better grades and a lower dropout rate.

Bishop says the inspiration for the Leg-Up Program began on a 12-hour plane flight to Southeast Asia with friend Carolyn Forster. The women were on a trip to Vietnam and had a lot of time to think and talk about ways to help the students at Pellissippi State.

“We realized that the cost of child care was a real problem, especially for single parents,” said Bishop. “So we said, ‘We can do something about that,’ and we came up with a plan. We would get the business community to support us, and we would select only highly-motivated students and provide them with mentors in addition to the child care.”

Bishop formed a committee, which included Holly Burkett, the dean of Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus, did some research on the cost of day care, and wrote out a plan to take to the state.

“Dr. Wise and I went to see the DHS commissioner. [Former] State Senator Doug Overbey [Maryville] met us at the commissioner’s office. Commissioner Hatter was aware of how much child care was a barrier to some students. She was impressed someone was working to do something to keep single parents in school and approved the plan,” Bishop said.

Bishop is quick to share the credit for the success of Leg-Up with her fellow committee members: Marty Black, Jim Proffitt, Carolyn Forster, Ellie Morrow, Gaynelle Lawson, Steve West, Mark Johnson, Greg McLean, Tammi Ford, Tom Bogart, Pam Wolf and Holly Burkett.

In September 2016, Pellissippi State hired Le’John Ellis to manage the program, which has grown steadily and, now, provides quality child care free of charge for 39 student-parents with 60 children in Knox and Blount counties.

“I think Le’John fell from heaven,” Bishop said. “Everyone needs someone to give them a leg up once in their lives. I’m so proud of Leg-Up. It’s perfect, just perfect.”

Bishop, a native of Texas, graduated from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Federal Executive Institute. She spent 30 years in the U.S. Air Force as a civilian and was the first woman to receive an appointment to the Senior Executive Service. Bishop retired in 1990 as one of the highest ranking civilians in the Air Force and put her roots down in Blount County. She then started her own consulting firm, the Emerald Group, which helped underdeveloped countries. Joy serves her community as a member of Maryville Church of Christ, Blount Partnership, Maryville Kiwanis Club, Blount County Library, Maryville College Advisory Board, Clayton-Bradley Academy and Clayton Center for the Arts.

“Joy’s work in the community and with Pellissippi State is transformative. When it comes to volunteering, Joy brings plenty of passion and positivity to the table. Her creativity, motivation and vision inspires all that engage with her. It is an honor to nominate Joy Bishop for the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy,” Wise said.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State hosts Bob Booker for African American Read-In Week

Pellissippi State Community College will celebrate African American literature during a read-in week Feb. 12-16 at each of its campuses.

Local historian Robert J. “Bob” Booker will discuss the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Knoxville during a special presentation at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 15, in the Magnolia Avenue Campus community room. The presentation is free to attend and open to the community.

Booker is a prominent Civil Rights activist who organized downtown Knoxville sit-ins as a student. He was the first African American elected to the Tennessee state legislature from Knoxville in the twentieth century and was instrumental in establishing the Beck Cultural Center. He is currently a Knoxville News Sentinel columnist and the author of the recently-published “An Encyclopedia: Experiences of Black People in Knoxville, Tennessee 1844-1974.”

At all five Pellissippi State campuses, students and employees will share their favorite texts by African American authors during read-ins — essentially a collection of marathon reading events:

  • Blount County Campus — 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Feb. 14, lobby
  • Division Street Campus — 9:40 a.m.-5 p.m., Feb. 15, lobby
  • Hardin Valley Campus — 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Feb. 16, Goins Building rotunda
  • Magnolia Avenue Campus — 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Feb. 12, lobby
  • Strawberry Plains Campus — 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Feb. 13, lobby

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at one of these events, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Reconnect Now at Pellissippi State allows spouses a path to better selves

Melody and Thomas Smith
Melody and Thomas Smith

In Blount County, Thomas and Melody Smith raised two children and emphasized the importance of a college education to them — although they did not have a college degree themselves.

After their children graduated, the opportunity for Thomas or Melody to enroll in college seemed like a pipe dream. They both had jobs, children and then grandchildren, and they had already worked hard to afford college for their children. It seemed that financial and time constraints would always keep them from a college degree.

Then, earlier this year, they began to see billboards for Reconnect Now at Pellissippi State Community College. Thomas and Melody jumped at the chance.

“When we heard about Reconnect Now, I researched it and told my husband that we would be crazy to pass this up,” Melody said. “It’s our chance to better ourselves as people and at our jobs.”

“We could not have afforded college for ourselves without Reconnect Now,” Thomas said.

Reconnect Now is Pellissippi State’s last-dollar scholarship that covers the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for qualified adults for the 2017-18 academic year. Participating, qualified students will roll into Tennessee Reconnect when it launches in fall 2018.

Melody, who is a receptionist at Helen Ross McNabb Center Outpatient Services, is studying Administrative Professional Technology with a Medical Office concentration. Thomas, who works for DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, is studying Engineering Technology with a concentration in Automated Industrial Systems.

“I work at DENSO in manufacturing, and a lot of the stuff they’re doing now I am still training on. There are people on my line who do engineering work, and that’s what I’d like to do. I can learn at Pellissippi the technology skills needed to use these new machines,” Thomas said. “I’ve gone as far as I can without a degree, and I’d like to do something different.

“I wish I had come back to college sooner, though I have had a learning curve when it comes to computers and all of that. The last time I was in school, we had spiral notebooks and pencils. The teachers have been wonderful to answer questions and offer tutoring. It’s been really good,” he added.

“It has been tough sometimes to be back in school after 35 years, but it feels good; it feels like an accomplishment,” Melody said. “I think the first few weeks we were both wondering what we had gotten ourselves into! Now we’re into a routine. We know we can do it.”

Both have learned new computer skills as they progressed through their classes, and have found help through resources like tutoring and mentoring in the Educational Resources Center at Pellissippi State. They have also found support from their son and daughter — and even their grandchildren. The couple, married for 31 years, returned to school at the same time their granddaughters, both six years old, entered kindergarten and first grade.

“They were so nervous to start school, so we were able to tell them that we were starting school, too. The only difference is that we don’t take a big yellow school bus to school,” Melody said. “When they have quizzes the same week I do, they will call to ask me how I did on my test. They ask me how many answers I missed and tell me what they missed. I tell them that we can both study and work harder and do better next time.

“Our children, family and friends are so encouraging. They call to check on us, support us and ask if we need help with homework. They are very proud of us and recognize what a huge step this is for us.”

For Melody and Thomas, Reconnect Now has opened the door to a life they did not think was possible for them, though they spent years ensuring it was available for their children. They do not take the opportunity lightly.

“It feels good to take a chance. We can do this. We’re not going to give up,” Melody said.

For more information about Reconnect Now at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/reconnect or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State invites Blount County community to ‘Take Back the Night’

Pellissippi State Community College invites the community to “Take Back the Night” at a rally, speak out and vigil from 5:30-8:30 p.m., Oct. 19, at the Blount County Public Library.

Take Back the Night is an international campaign to raise awareness of domestic, relationship and sexual violence. The Blount County event will feature a rally and walk that will start at the Blount County Public Library and process up and down Broadway Avenue. Also at the library, the Maryville Police Department will demonstrate safety and self-defense techniques, and community agencies will present resources for victims of domestic, relationship and sexual violence. The event’s main speaker is from the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee. The event is not suggested for those under age 18.

“Take Back the Night can be empowering and healing,” said Kim Thomas-LaRue, director of Student Life at Pellissippi State and planner of the event. “We hope to bring about awareness of domestic violence — and if we can help even one person, then this night will be a success.”

The Blount County Public Library is located at 508 N. Cusick Street in Maryville.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. For more information about the Blount County Public Library, visit www.blountlibrary.org or call 865-982-0981.

Pursue lifelong learning at Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus

Explore Appalachian history, learn more about investing or even master basic digital photography skills through lifelong learning classes at Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County Campus throughout the month of September.

Two classes in the “Our Appalachia” series will explore the history and biology of East Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Each class will grant attendees 1.2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs), which may count towards teacher continuing education requirements.

  • Critters in the Coves and on the Crags — Wildlife in the Great Smoky Mountains, 6:15-8:15 p.m., Tuesdays, Sept. 12-Oct. 24. Cost is $89 plus a $15 materials fee. Learn the lore and legends regarding wildlife in the Smokies.
  • Family, Faith & Freedom — The Scots-Irish in the Southern Mountains, 6:15-8:15 p.m., Mondays, Sept. 11-Oct.23. Cost is $89 plus a $15 materials fee. Explore the heritage of the Scots-Irish in Appalachia.

Other non-credit courses offered beginning in September:

  • Basic Digital Photography, 6:15-8:15 p.m., Thursdays, Sept. 14-Oct. 12. Cost is $119. Learn the basics of exposure, composition, lighting and color theory. Bring your own digital SLR or point-and-shoot camera with manual mode.
  • Demystifying Investing, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 28. Cost is $39. Explore the investment tools and strategies that can help you reach your financial goals.

For more information about lifelong learning at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs or call 865-539-7167.  To request accommodations for a disability for one of these classes, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State has record enrollment in fall 2017

Students in Courtyard

Pellissippi State Community College will see record enrollment this fall.

When classes begin August 28, approximately 11,571 students will walk onto Pellissippi State’s five campuses — which reflects an increase in enrollment of about 10.4 percent over the same day last year.

This fall, the college launched Reconnect Now, a last-dollar scholarship for qualified adult students that covers tuition and mandatory fees. About 2,706 students are eligible for Reconnect Now funding.

The college’s previous record high enrollment was 11,260 in 2011. Pellissippi State has been the largest community college in Tennessee since 2015.

“Our pilot of Reconnect Now has proven that adults in Tennessee have waited for an opportunity like this,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Pellissippi State is proud to open the doors of education to everyone.”

Headcount enrollment is up at all five of Pellissippi State’s campuses in Knox and Blount counties, and is up almost 50 percent online.

“Covering the cost of tuition and fees does not meet all of the needs of adults with jobs, families and lives outside of school,” Wise said. “We have expanded the classes and programs we offer online, in the evenings and on weekends to fit adults’ schedules, and we’re pairing adult learners with support services like free child care for qualified single parents, credit for prior learning and even an academic fresh start if they’ve tried college before unsuccessfully.”

Pellissippi State’s Reconnect Now program will last through summer 2018. Next fall, qualified Reconnect Now students at Pellissippi State will transfer into the state’s Tennessee Reconnect scholarship program.

The official enrollment numbers for the semester will be determined and released on September 11.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.