Pellissippi State expands Culinary Arts program into Blount County with new Culinary Institute

Two Culinary Arts students prepping in the kitchen
Pellissippi State Culinary Arts students prep food for an event on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus in November 2019.

A $250,000 gift from the Blackberry Farm Foundation is paving the way to expand Pellissippi State Community College’s Culinary Arts program into Blount County.

The new Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center on the college’s Blount County Campus will include a 4,700-square-foot Culinary Institute, including a teaching and demonstration kitchen and a baking center.

The Culinary Institute will support not only Pellissippi State’s students seeking an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts, but also will be located adjacent to the Workforce Development Center’s Corporate Training Center and Lobby so that Culinary Arts students can support the community at events and pre-event functions held on the Blount County Campus.

“Blackberry Farm Foundation is excited to continue to invest in our already successful relationship with Pellissippi State,” said Matt Alexander, Blackberry Farm president, noting Blackberry Farm provides internships for Pellissippi State’s Culinary Arts students. “The restaurant and hospitality industries provide so much opportunity for advancement, as well as lifelong careers. We believe it is important for us to expand our impact on the industry and help create pathways to careers in culinary arts.”

“This expansion of Pellissippi State’s Culinary Arts program into Blount County will not only benefit local college students who want to prepare for a career in Culinary Arts, but also will provide dual enrollment opportunities with local high schools that offer Culinary Arts classes,” added Dean Michael Wolfe.

Currently, Pellissippi State’s Culinary Arts program is based on the college’s Division Street Campus in Knoxville, with students using the kitchen facilities at the nearby University of Tennessee. The Culinary Institute in the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center marks Pellissippi State’s first on-campus facilities dedicated to Culinary Arts and will allow the program to offer additional concentrations such as baking.

Pellissippi State also is looking at offering a one-year certificate program to prepare students for casual dining careers, in keeping with Gov. Bill Lee’s workforce education priorities.

“With the support of local employers, Pellissippi State will develop pathways to culinary degrees that include significant amounts of work-based learning,” Wolfe said.

An artist rendering of the outside of the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center
This artist rendering, courtesy of BarberMcMurry Architects, shows the new building planned for Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus.

Construction of the Culinary Institute at the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center is expected to cost $1.9 million, with an additional $525,000 set aside for outfitting the institute with the necessary equipment. Pellissippi State plans to employ new full-time faculty members and a kitchen technician to staff the Culinary Institute.

The Culinary Arts program at Pellissippi State is offered as a cohort, in that students begin and progress through a degree program as a united group. The Culinary Institute on the Blount County Campus will have the capacity to enroll 20 students in the daytime cohort and 20 students in the evening cohort, with full enrollment capped at 80 full-time students progressing through the program concurrently over the two years it takes to complete the Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts.

Pellissippi State’s Culinary Arts program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation. Graduates certify through the National Restaurant Association in food production and sanitation, and graduates of ACF-accredited programs such as Pellissippi State are certified as ACF culinarians upon graduation.

To learn more about Pellissippi State’s Culinary Arts program, contact Chef Joseph Blauvelt, program coordinator, at jsblauvelt@pstcc.edu or 865.971.5246, or contact Pellissippi State’s Admissions office at admissions@pstcc.edu or 865.694.6400.

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Pellissippi State offers Career in a Calendar Year for Medical Office occupations starting in 2020

Student in scrubs in front of files at a doctor's office
You could be ready to work in a medical office by this time next year with Pellissippi State’s Career in a Calendar Year for Medical Office, which launches in January.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2020 is to start a new career, Pellissippi State Community College has options to help you meet that goal in just 12 months.

Pellissippi State is launching Career in a Calendar Year in January for Medical Office, a concentration in the college’s Administrative Professional Technology program.

By attending accelerated classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights as well as some online courses, students who start in January can earn two certificates in the medical office field by December.

“This format appeals to many of our students,” said Program Coordinator Regina Buckley.

Students who take the prescribed three classes in spring 2020, two in summer 2020 and four in fall 2020 will finish the calendar year with their two certificates, as well as 27 credit hours toward an associate degree in Medical Office, a concentration in the Administrative Professional Technology program.

While 27 credit hours is shy of the 60-61 hours needed to complete the associate degree, students who complete the 27 hours will have two Pellissippi State certificates that enable them to work in the medical office field: Medical Insurance Coding and Reimbursement and Electronic Health Records Specialist.

They also will have the education and skill set required to sit for three national certifications: National Healthcareer Association Certified Billing and Coding Specialist, Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist and Microsoft Office Specialist.

These certificates and national certifications can springboard students to medical office careers such as coding, billing and insurance specialist; compliance specialist; electronic health records specialist; hospital unit coordinator; office manager and scheduler.

“Medical offices depend on health care administrators, those important people who are tasked with nonclinical patient care,” Buckley said.

The 27 hours of Career in a Calendar Year count toward Pellissippi State’s associate degree in Administrative Professional Technology as well. Those students who wish to go on to complete the associate degree can choose from traditional, online or accelerated classes.

The associate degree program also provides a built-in internship in a medical office setting to give students real-world experience before graduation.

The deadline to apply to Pellissippi State for spring 2020 is Jan. 13. Classes begin Jan. 21. To apply, visit www.pstcc.edu/admissions.

For more information about studying Medical Office at Pellissippi State, contact Regina Buckley at rbuckley@pstcc.edu or 865.694.6413.

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