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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GIVE grants to help Pellissippi State expand information technology, construction and advanced manufacturing training

Instructor standing in Strawberry Plains Cyber Defense lab
Instructor Charles Nelson, standing, tells visitors about Pellissippi State’s new Cyber Defense lab on the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus on Sept. 10, 2019.

Pellissippi State Community College has been awarded two Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) grants, Gov. Bill Lee announced Nov. 7.

The funding, $999,874 for Knox County initiatives and $998,416 for Blount County initiatives, will be used to address workforce needs: information technology careers in Knox County and construction and advanced manufacturing careers in Blount County.

“We are proud to work with the General Assembly to pass the GIVE initiative and expand career and technical education for Tennessee students,” Lee said in a press release last week. “These funds directly support our workforce development efforts in distressed and at-risk counties and are a key component of our strategy to prioritize rural Tennessee.”

Both the GIVE Knox County Career Collaborative and the GIVE Blount County Career Collaborative established by the grants will address:

  • barriers to education/training access, including a lack of understanding and awareness of viable career choices and training options for high-demand fields;
  • insufficient early postsecondary education and training opportunities;
  • insufficient student support services; and
  • misalignment between education and workforce needs.

“With the number of new jobs coming into Blount County specifically, we have to do everything we can as a college to help train the next generation workforce,” said Teri Brahams, executive director of Economic and Workforce Development at Pellissippi State and project manager for the GIVE Blount County Career Collaborative. “Engaging our students from middle school through high school and college is crucial, and helping them understand pathways to college and careers is one way to do that.”

In Knox County, the Career Collaborative will focus on increasing the number of students who enroll in and complete Information Technology-related degrees and certifications in Pellissippi State’s Computer Information Technology programs, which include concentrations in Cybersecurity, Networking, Programming and Systems Administration and Management.

The grant also will be used to boost enrollment in and completion of the Computer Information Technology Technical Support Specialist, IT Network Support Specialist, IT Network Security Specialist, IT Systems Support Specialist, and IT Systems Coordinator options at Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Knoxville (TCAT).

“Training a workforce that is not only skilled in computer technology but, perhaps more importantly, is able to adapt those skills as new technology emerges is vital to all of East Tennessee,” said Business and Computer Technology Dean Michael Wolfe of Pellissippi State, who is serving as project director for the GIVE Knox County Career Collaborative. “This grant will provide the support to help students in Knox County do just that. Working together, the grant partners will immerse students from middle school through college in work-based learning environments, develop innovative pathways that result in industry-recognized credentials and increase the number of potential employees that possess a college degree.”

In Blount County, the Career Collaborative will focus on increasing the number of students who enroll in and complete advanced manufacturing and construction-related degree and certifications in Pellissippi State’s Engineering Technology program, which includes concentrations in Manufacturing, Industrial Maintenance and Civil Engineering, as well as in Pellissippi State’s Electrical Engineering Technology program.

The grant also will be used to boost enrollment in and completion of the Industrial Maintenance/Mechatronics Technology, Pipefitting and Plumbing Technology, Industrial Electricity and HVAC Technician options at TCAT.

Pellissippi State chose to address information technology, construction and advanced manufacturing careers because these local industries are struggling to meet demand.

Tennessee employed 174,346 information technology workers in 2018, a gain of more than 3,797 jobs from the year before, according to a study by the Computer Technology Industry Association. Between 900 and 1,000 openings are projected in information technology in the Knoxville region between 2020 and 2026, according to data from Jobs4TN and the Tennessee School Boards Association District Data Dashboard.

“It is evident that the projected information technology workforce needs in the region are significant, and the enrollment and graduation rates for the related education and training programs are not sufficient to meet the projected needs,” Wolfe said, noting there have been only 26 graduates in the past three years from the four associate degree program concentrations at Pellissippi State that prepare students for positions as customer support specialists, programmers, data/computer systems analysts, cybersecurity analysts and systems engineers.

Meanwhile, the average age of Tennessee construction and manufacturing workers is 56, but only one worker is replaced for every four that retire, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. A Jobs4TN Area Profile projects that manufacturing and construction industries will post 2,650 openings in East Tennessee alone between 2016 and 2026.

“Unfortunately, interest in the pursuit of construction and manufacturing-related occupations has been on a steady decline,” Brahams explained. “Misperceptions about wages, career pathways and the elimination of many vocational programs with the push for students to obtain four-year degrees have compounded the problem. Young people are considering these occupations less frequently, and parents and counselors have become equally reluctant to discuss these career paths. As a result, supply and demand gaps widen.”

Among the major strategies Pellissippi State plans to employ to meet the goals of its GIVE Knox County and GIVE Blount County Career Collaboratives are

  • enhancing and expanding career pathway programs utilizing a stackable credentials approach;
  • developing and implementing a collaborative, meaningful and structured work-based learning continuum that begins in middle school and continues through completion of postsecondary credentials; and
  • expanding access to industry recognized certification preparation and testing.

“Local employers, all three Blount County school systems, the Blount Partnership and Pellissippi State have been working together to address the workforce needs of our community, and this grant will allow us to go to the next level with our efforts,” Brahams said.

In Knox County, Pellissippi State will continue to partner with the Knoxville Chamber, the East Tennessee Local Workforce Development Board, TCAT, Knox County Schools and multiple employers.

“We’ve worked together for years to identify and address regional workforce needs and skills gaps, but this grant brings new focus to expanding career pathways and implementing a structured continuum of work-based learning experiences in Knox County,” Wolfe said.

Click here for more information on the GIVE grants announced by Gov. Lee last week.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.

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Pellissippi Preview shows prospective students what Pellissippi State has to offer

Anyone who has considered taking classes at Pellissippi State Community College has an opportunity next week to check out the school: from the academic programs offered to the financial aid available.

Pellissippi State’s fall open house, now called Pellissippi Preview, will be held 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Oct. 27, at the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Pellissippi Preview is open to prospective students of all ages.

Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. will kick off the event in the Clayton Performing Arts Center before those who attend are let loose to explore the campus at their leisure for one hour, explained Sarah Davis with Enrollment Services.

Each building on the Hardin Valley Campus will be open for the program showcase, 9:45-10:45 a.m., with maps showing participants where to find out more about the academic programs that interest them and the student services that are available at Pellissippi State.

“We hope they will go to every building and check out as many programs as they want,” Davis said, noting academic programs will be showcased in the buildings where those classes are taught.

Pellissippi Preview will feature two presentations after the program showcase ends: one on transferring from Pellissippi State to four-year colleges and universities and one on financial aid. Each of the presentations will be given twice – once at 10:45 and once at 11:25 – so that prospective students have the opportunity to attend both presentations, if they choose.

“They will get hands-on information about one of the questions we hear the most: ‘Will my Pellissippi State classes transfer?’” Davis said. “They’ll also learn more about scholarship opportunities, including Tennessee Promise for high school seniors and Tennessee Reconnect for adult learners.”

Throughout the day, participants can snag some refreshments in the college’s cafeteria or mug for the camera with fun props in a photo booth. All those who attend Pellissippi Preview will be entered in a drawing for two $250 scholarships from the Pellissippi State Foundation to attend Pellissippi State; winners will be contacted at a later date.

“This is a fun way to get on campus and see everything we have to offer – not just our academic programs, but our services as well, from Advising to Financial Aid to Student Life,” Davis said.

To RSVP for Pellissippi Preview or see the full agenda, visit www.pstcc.edu/prsvp.

To request accommodations for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State, MTSU promote smoother transfer paths for students

Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr., right, with Middle Tennessee State University President Sidney A. McPhee.

Pellissippi State Community College and Middle Tennessee State University are promoting new dual admission transfer pathways for students.

Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee signed an agreement Thursday, July 20, that would make transferring credits from Pellissippi State to MTSU seamless for students. This agreement allows students to earn an associate degree from Pellissippi State and then seamlessly complete a bachelor’s degree from MTSU in a related field, without losing credits in the transition.

The dual admission pathway applies to students who earn Associate of Arts, Associate of Science or Associate of Science in Teaching degrees at Pellissippi State. Students can enter these degree programs with the intent to transfer to MTSU, and then are admitted to both institutions simultaneously. When they complete their degree from Pellissippi State, eligible students are guaranteed acceptance to MTSU in Murfreesboro.

“Strong relationships with great universities like MTSU are critically important to our students,” Wise said. “Partnerships like this create clear pathways for students to earn degrees at Pellissippi State and then at MTSU so those students can enter the workforce in meaningful ways.”

“We are excited to initiate a partnership between Pellissippi State and MTSU that builds on what we have in common, particularly in how we prepare students for the workforce in Tennessee,” McPhee said. “MTSU and Pellissippi State have unique technical programs that will produce the skilled workforce the state needs as part of the Drive to 55.”

Drive to 55 is a state initiative that calls for 55 percent of adult Tennesseans to receive a post-secondary credential by 2025.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. For more information about MTSU, visit www.mtsu.edu or call 615-898-2300.

Female students earn engineering technology degrees through ‘Women in STEM’ grant

Makayla Edwards
Makayla Edwards
Tara Walker
Tara Walker

When Tara Walker and Makayla Edwards cross the stage at Pellissippi State Community College’s commencement ceremony on May 5, they will have a special grant, funded by NASA, to thank.

Walker and Edwards are two of 14 female Engineering Technology students at Pellissippi State to have earned scholarships funded through the Tennessee Community College Space Grant Consortium, which is part of the NSPIRES (NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System) program. The grant funds are earmarked for women and other underserved populations in STEM programs.

“I have absolutely loved the time I have spent at Pellissippi,” Walker said. “The teachers I’ve had make me want to come to class every day because they are so enthusiastic about their jobs. I do not believe, as a whole, any school has better teachers than Pellissippi. They are truly here because they want to see us learn and help us in any way they can.”

“I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without Pellissippi State and my professors,” Edwards said. “Pellissippi introduced me to 3D printing, and that helped me start my own business.”

Edwards started AMTec Fishing (an abbreviation of Additive Manufacturing Technologies Fishing) at the end of 2016. She designs and 3D prints fishing lures, then has them mass manufactured. Edwards intends to transfer to Austin Peay State University this fall, where she will study mechanical engineering.

Walker will transfer to Tennessee Technological University, where she will study chemical engineering.

“I like the engineering field because I feel like it gives me the opportunity to apply the knowledge I have gained in math and science while in college in a practical way. Chemical engineering is a fairly broad field, and there are a lot of different directions I could go with it. I would really like to work on the environmental side of chemical engineering in waste water treatment,” she said.

Walker, who graduated from Hardin Valley Academy in 2013, was not always interested in STEM fields.

“When I was in high school, I wasn’t always a very good student. But in my senior year, something clicked and I realized I needed to do well to be successful. That success mindset has continued here at Pellissippi State,” she said. “I first enrolled in an education program, but I realized it takes a very special person to be an educator and that wasn’t me.”

Walker first came to Pellissippi State as part of the tnAchieves scholarship, the precursor to Tennessee Promise — as did Edwards.

“The tnAchieves scholarship was one of my biggest reasons for originally attending Pellissippi,” Walker said. “I wasn’t sure if I would do well in college because of my not-so-stellar academic performance in high school, so I didn’t want to go to a huge university.”

 “The NASA grant brought a lot of the female engineering technology students together,” Edwards said. “It’s nice to know you’re not alone when you’re studying in a traditionally male-dominated field. It also introduced me to the community; I was able to go to local middle schools and speak to students about STEM.”

The NASA grant funds more than just scholarships for the students who earn it. Pellissippi State students have traveled to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama and to the Society of Women Engineers conference.

“At the SWE conference, I was able to speak to companies who wanted to hire female engineers,” Walker said. “Those contacts and the SWE organization may help me find companies hiring engineers when I graduate. Plus, it was amazing to see all of the accomplishments women in engineering are making.”

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

 

Pellissippi State, Carson-Newman partner on transfer pathways for students

Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr., right, with Carson Newman University Provost Paul Percy.
Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr., right, with Carson-Newman University Provost Paul Percy.

Pellissippi State Community College and Carson-Newman University are partnering to ensure transfer pathways are seamless for community college students who go on to earn their four-year degrees.

The partnership specifically targets certain transfer programs, which allow students to earn an associate degree and then transfer those credits to a four-year university. The Carson-Newman partnership will allow seamless transfer for Pellissippi State students earning an Associate of Fine Arts in Music and an Associate of Science in Teaching with a concentration for preschool through grade three, as well as the Tennessee Transfer Pathway degree in Business Administration. Students who earn those degrees from Pellissippi State can then transfer to Carson-Newman to complete bachelor’s degrees in Education, Music and Business.

Additionally, students who earn certain associate degrees from Pellissippi State can transfer to Carson-Newman and enter bachelor’s degree programs in general studies or in Pre-Nursing.

“Partnerships like this one allow community college students to more easily find their way along the path to a higher education,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., president of Pellissippi State.

“We are proud to partner with Carson-Newman University to enable our students to successfully complete a bachelor’s degree in these programs,” said Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs at Pellissippi State.

“This is a significant partnership between two great academic institutions that will benefit East Tennessee students by providing the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree. It’s a win-win all-around,” said Paul Percy, provost of Carson-Newman.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. For more information about Carson-Newman, visit www.cn.edu or call 865-471-2000.

National Science Foundation supports scholarships at Pellissippi State

The National Science Foundation has awarded Pellissippi State Community College grant funding to support a scholarship program for students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The $649,737 NSF grant will fund scholarships and support programs for students studying STEM fields at Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus. The program, Supporting College and Career Education for Student Scholarships in STEM, will provide scholarships of up to $8,500 per year to at least 24 non-traditional students with financial need. Eligible students can study transfer or career programs at Pellissippi State — the Geosciences, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics transfer programs or the Automated Industrial Systems concentration within the Engineering Technology career program.

“There will be support for students in the form of mentoring and tutoring,” said Chris Milne, professor in Natural and Behavioral Sciences and grant lead. “The students these scholarships will help will be those who aren’t already eligible for other financial aid like Tennessee Promise or HOPE.”

The SuCCESS in STEM program involves a unique “reciprocating scholarship” system in which a student who applies for the program must pay for the first semester of school with their own funds. However, students who meet the GPA requirements for the program in that first semester will not only earn the scholarship for their remaining semesters, they will be reimbursed for their initial semester of school.

“Reciprocating scholarships offer students an incentive to succeed and to start on the right track,” Milne said.

The scholarship will pay more than the average cost of tuition at Pellissippi State, which will allow students who earn it to cover the costs of books, fees and transportation costs.

The scholarship program could be in place by fall 2017; students could begin applying to participate as early as spring 2017.

The grant also will fund support services for students enrolled in the program to encourage them to graduate and, if applicable, transfer to a four-year university. The SuCCESS in STEM program will offer students the ability to learn real-world skills through internships, mentoring and job shadowing with community partners.

Funding for this grant goes through the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans, as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call 865-694-6528.

Pellissippi State offers Business concentrations for adult learners

Pellissippi State Community College is offering two new accelerated cohorts in concentrations that are part of the Business program.

Cohorts allow students to progress through a degree program together, as a cohesive unit. In accelerated cohorts, students will take classes two evenings per week for four semesters over the course of 16 months. That schedule especially caters to students with full-time jobs.

Students can study two concentrations: Accounting and Management. Both concentrations kick off in January 2017. Registration for spring 2017 classes opens Oct. 24.

Management students learn skills like supervisory management, project design, quality improvement and organizational behavior. Accounting students learn accounting techniques for payroll and taxes, as well as skills like business finance and accounting systems.

Pellissippi State offers additional support services and academic pathways that appeal to adult students — from online classes and degree programs to programs like Prior Learning Assessment, which can offer academic credit for life experiences, job training and prior education.

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

 

Download this press release: Business Cohorts

Pellissippi State launches Welding Technology program

welding student

This fall, Pellissippi State Community College announces its newest academic offering — Welding Technology, an Associate of Applied Science degree program.

Welding Technology will train students to weld in gas metal arc, gas tungsten arc, shielded metal arc, flux core welding and plate and pipe welding. The program is aligned with guidelines from the American Welding Society and the National Center for Construction Education and Research.

Graduates from the program could find career opportunities as welder fabricators, welding inspectors, pipe fitters and welding educators. Welding Technology classes are currently being offered at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley and Strawberry Plains campuses.

“Employers in our area need skilled employees who have a level of expertise in welding and engineering technology skills that an associate degree provides,” said Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs at Pellissippi State.

“Graduates from this program will have attained blueprint reading, pattern development, non-destructive testing, metallurgy, math and communication skills. They’ll have the knowledge needed to communicate with welding engineers and the design team. They will be capable of stepping into supervisory or management roles,” he added.

The Welding Technology program also will offer a collaborative partnership with Knox County Schools’ Byington-Solway Career and Technical Education Center, which serves students from Karns and Powell high schools and Hardin Valley Academy. The welding lab at Byington-Solway will be a shared resource — used during the day by high school students and in the evenings by Pellissippi State students.

One goal of this high school partnership is to create a seamless pathway from Byington-Solway into Pellissippi State’s Welding Technology program, allowing students to earn their Associate of Applied Science in Welding Technology only one year after graduating from high school. In addition, plans are in the works for Byington-Solway to become an American Welding Society Accredited Test Facility.

At the Strawberry Plains Campus, Pellissippi State and TCAT-Knoxville will pursue a similar partnership, sharing space and welding equipment for both institutions’ students in the Pellissippi State Megalab.

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

 

Download this press release: Welding Technology

Pellissippi State launches Design for Web and Print

Students at Pellissippi State Community College will have the opportunity to study a new degree concentration this fall.

Design for Web and Print, a concentration in the Media Technologies program, combines graphic design and web design in one, cross-disciplinary concentration that prepares students for careers in graphic or web design, marketing, promotions or e-commerce.

“This new concentration allows students to have their feet in different areas,” said Martha Merrill, program coordinator of Web Technology at Pellissippi State. Merrill will teach the Web Design I course offered this fall. “It’s allowing students to learn things like web design and coding, combined with the aesthetic finesse of graphic design.”

“In today’s workforce, you can’t compartmentalize what you know,” said Stewart Taylor, an associate professor in Media Technologies. Taylor will teach two courses this fall as part of the new concentration: Design Basics for Web & Print and Photoshop for Web & Print.

In four semesters, students in the program will be able to gain proficiency in programs like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, will learn to code using JavaScript, jQuery, CSS and HTML5 and will study essential elements of design for web and print publications.

Additional information about the concentration is available in the College Catalog, catalog.pstcc.edu. Students interested in the Design for Web and Print concentration can contact Pellissippi State’s Advising office at 865-694-6556.

 

Download this press release: Design Web and Print