Private preschool establishes Early Childhood Education scholarships for Pellissippi State students

Pellissippi State folks accepting check from Goddard School representatives
The Goddard School of Knoxville will fund scholarships for Early Childhood Education majors at Pellissippi State. From left are
Natural and Behavioral Sciences Dean Kane Barker; Assistant Professor Lizzie Kelly; Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator J. Hope Denny; Anoula McCarren, co-owner of The Goddard School of Knoxville; Tonya Ray, curriculum director; and Kayla Suter, operations director.

A fundraiser by The Goddard School of Knoxville will provide up to 22 scholarships each year for students majoring in Early Childhood Education at Pellissippi State Community College.

The Goddard Luau, held Aug. 24, raised $3,500, which the private preschool used to establish The Goddard School Scholarship and Program Support. The program will fund $75 scholarships for Early Childhood Education majors at Pellissippi State.

“Here at The Goddard School, we know how important the foundation of learning is, and we want to help give our community high quality early childhood educators,” said Anoula McCarren, co-owner of The Goddard School of Knoxville with her husband, Don. “The Goddard School uses the most current academically endorsed methods to ensure that children have fun while learning the skills they need for long-term success in school and in life.”

The Goddard School presented Pellissippi State with the donation on Oct. 2, the same day the Goddard School Scholarship and Program Support was established through a memorandum of agreement with the Pellissippi State Community College Foundation, a nonprofit that develops financial resources to support the educational, cultural and service goals of the college.

Any future donations from The Goddard School will be deposited in the fund, which will provide student support in the form of scholarships, but also may be used to support Early Childhood Education technology and program needs.

“The Goddard School is an invaluable partner with our Pellissippi State Early Childhood Education program,” said Associate Professor and Program Coordinator J. Hope Denny. “The staff provide support by hosting students in field experiences, serve as representatives on our advisory board, and are strong advocates for this program in general. Their generosity is a crucial support to many of our students who need financial assistance in meeting fieldwork requirements. These scholarships will help our students be successful – not only in their coursework, but also in their careers.”

In order to qualify for one of the scholarships provided from the Goddard School Scholarship and Program Support, students must:

  • Major in Early Childhood Education and enroll for a minimum of 6 hours;
  • Complete a Foundation Scholarship Application;
  • Demonstrate financial need; and
  • Have a grade point average of 2.0 or higher.

Priority will be given to students in need of financial support of required fieldwork for the Early Childhood Education Program, such as the cost of background checks.

Pellissippi State offers both a certificate and an associate degree in Early Childhood Education. Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Early Childhood Education program at Pellissippi State prepares students to deliver programming for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and primary-age children (birth through age 8) and their families.

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

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TBR honors Blount County Economic Development Board for philanthropy

Fred Lawson accepts matted and framed TBR Chancellor's Award
Blount County Economic Development Board Chairman Fred Lawson, center, accepts the Tennessee Board of Regents’ Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy from Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr. and Regent Danni Varlan on Thursday.

The Blount County Economic Development Board was honored Thursday with the Tennessee Board of Regents’ Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy.

The board was nominated by Pellissippi State Community College for its early pledge of $1 million on behalf of Blount County and the cities of Alcoa and Maryville to support the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center that will be built on Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus.

“The Economic Development Board was founded as the Blount County Industrial Development Board more than 50 years ago with the vision to attract good jobs so that young people wouldn’t have to leave Blount County,” said Regent Danni Varlan before presenting the award to Economic Development Board Chairman Fred Lawson at Blount Partnership. “With shared space for high school dual enrollment, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, Pellissippi State and incumbent worker training, the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center will ensure that students are ready to enter the workforce with great local employers such as Arconic, Blount Memorial Hospital, DENSO and Clayton Homes.”

The $16.5 million Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center is being funded by a public-private partnership: $5.5 million raised by the Pellissippi State Community College Foundation, $5.7 million from TCAT Knoxville capacity expansion funds and $5.3 million from the state.

“This is a different path than most of our projects take,” noted Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “State building projects usually wait on a list for about 18 years. The conversations we’ve had with business and industry leaders and (Blount Partnership CEO and President) Bryan Daniels indicated that, with the job growth in Blount County, we were pretty sure we didn’t have 18 years to wait.”

Varlan agreed.

“Blount County is just rocking it,” she said. “Since 2012, Blount County has added 6,000 new jobs and $2.9 billion in capital investment.”

In addition to receiving the Chancellor’s Award, the Economic Development Board got a sneak peek at plans for the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center on Thursday. The plans by BarberMcMurry Architects have not been shared publicly because they will not go to the state building commission for approval until October, Wise explained.

“The principal layout is large open teaching spaces, similar to our MegaLab at the Strawberry Plains Campus, because we wanted to build in flexibility,” Wise said. “When students walk out to train, they get the feeling they are walking out onto the floor at one of our industry partners. That flexibility is important because my guess is that advanced manufacturing won’t be done the same way 10 years from now.”

Varlan praised the flexibility reflected in the plans and connected that flexibility with how higher education has changed over the years.

“It’s very important to us at TBR to make sure our workforce is competitive,” she said. “The whole idea of our community and technical colleges is to be open and nimble. We don’t know what’s coming down the road, but we have to be ready to teach it. Now we ask communities, ‘What do you need?’ The whole point is that our students can get out of school and get a job.”

Blount County Economic Development Board with Chancellor's Award
Several members of the Blount County Economic Development Board were on hand at the Blount Partnership Thursday for the presentation of the Tennessee Board of Regents’ Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy. From left are Bob Booker of DENSO, Monica Gawet of Tennessee Marble, Joe Dawson, Regent Danni Varlan, Blount County Economic Development Board Chairman Fred Lawson, Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., Greg Wilson of First Tennessee Bank and Matthew Murray of the University of Tennessee.

The 51,000-square-foot Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center will include proposed Pellissippi State programming for Computer Information Technology, Culinary Arts and Engineering Technology concentrations such as Automated Industrial Systems and Industrial Maintenance.

The building also will house a Corporate Training Center that will be available to businesses who want to train their workers off site, for training Business and Community Services provides to local employers and to the community for events.

“It can be divided into three areas for smaller groups, or we can open it up with theatre seating for 234 or round tables for banquets accommodating around 210,” noted Teri Brahams, Pellissippi State’s executive director for Economic and Workforce Development.

TCAT’s portion of the building is slated to include programming for Industrial Electrical Maintenance, Machine Tool Technology, Pipe Fitting and Welding to start, Wise said, while dual enrollment opportunities with Alcoa, Maryville and Blount County schools will continue to grow.

“We’ve done a lot and had a lot of conversations about this, and one of the things that’s exciting is now it’s time to execute that planning and have something really special here in Blount County,” Wise said. “It’s going to be a great facility to teach in, to learn in and to work in.”

Pellissippi State plans to break ground on the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center this winter and fully occupy the building by fall 2021.

“We wouldn’t be here without the support of the people in this room,” Wise said.

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

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Building Tomorrow’s Success: Regions Foundation first contributor to support both new buildings planned for Pellissippi State

Regions Foundation presents donation to Dr. Wise
Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., left, accepts a $100,000 donation from Rob Stivers, Knoxville Market Executive for Regions Bank, and Marta Self, Executive Director of the Regions Foundation, on Aug. 30, 2019. The gift will be used to build the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus and the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center on the college’s Blount County Campus.

Two new buildings planned for Pellissippi State Community College got a significant financial boost Friday as the Regions Foundation presented the Pellissippi State Community College Foundation with a $100,000 grant — $50,000 for the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus and $50,000 for the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center on the college’s Blount County Campus.

This dual investment distinguishes the Regions Foundation as the first contributor to support two areas of The Campaign for Pellissippi State, a $10 million campaign to support designated building, program and student initiatives. The Regions Foundation is a nonprofit initiative of Regions Bank dedicated to supporting community investments that make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

“The Regions Foundation is committed to helping students be in the best position to begin a rewarding career as they graduate,” said Marta Self, Executive Director of the Regions Foundation. “So our focus naturally aligns with the goals of Pellissippi State in establishing these new learning centers. This is a place where the ambition and potential of students will be met with the experience and insights of skilled educators who can guide them on the path to rewarding careers.”

“Education and workforce development are crucial to the continued success of East Tennessee,” added Rob Stivers, Knoxville Market Executive for Regions Bank. “The programs here at Pellissippi State are designed to train and equip students not only for the jobs of today, but also for the jobs of tomorrow. We believe that as more people gain access to tools and training that will help them succeed on the job, we will see more inclusive growth and prosperity throughout our area.”

Regions Foundation’s contribution will establish the Regions Foundation Computer Lab and Math-Science Classroom within the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science and the Regions Foundation Computer Science Classroom within the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center.

Additionally, Regions Bank will be collaborating with Pellissippi State to develop a Regions Bank Capstone Project for Business Students concentrating in Accounting or Management.

“Regions Foundation’s gifts will help Pellissippi State generate career opportunities and economic stability for Knox and Blount County residents through investing in expanded, enhanced and modernized STEM-related and workforce development training programs,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “These donations will impact our students whether they are seeking associate degrees, transfer pathways to four-year universities or professional certificates to help further the careers they’ve already chosen.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., speaks at Pellissippi State
U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., speaks at Pellissippi State on Aug. 30, 2019, about how having a good education is the basis of a good economy.

Congressman Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., joined Regions Foundation, Regions Bank and Pellissippi leaders Friday in addressing the benefits of workforce development and illustrating how effective programs, like those at Pellissippi State, are fueling the East Tennessee economy.

“Pellissippi State Community College is an asset to our region,” Burchett said. “Having good jobs is the foundation for a strong economy, and I appreciate everything Pellissippi State does to advance STEM programs, trade certificates and workforce development in our community. I also want to offer a big thank you to the Regions Foundation for its generous support of these programs.”

Pellissippi State announced Feb. 1 plans to build two new buildings.

The 82,000-square-foot Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on the Hardin Valley Campus will help Pellissippi State, the largest community college in Tennessee with 10,894 students, meet demands for classrooms and lab spaces that have increased due to Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, last-dollar scholarships that provide two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in Tennessee.

The Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science will include 18 classrooms, six computer labs and nine science labs, as well as a teacher education center for the college’s Early Childhood Development and Teacher Education programs.

Pellissippi State broke ground on the center for math and science in May and expects to open the new building for classes in fall 2021.

The new 53,000-square-foot Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center on the Blount County Campus will be used by Pellissippi State and Tennessee College of Applied Technology to help fill the area’s needs for highly skilled, college-educated employees.

Pellissippi State’s part of the workforce development center is expected to house a Smart Factory MegaLab featuring Industry 4.0 curriculum and offer classes in Computer Information Technology, Culinary Arts, Electrical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology. Meanwhile, TCAT’s part of the new building is expected to include classes in Industrial Electrical Maintenance and Welding, Machine Tool Technology and Pipe Fitting.

In addition to traditional college classes, the workforce development center also will allow Pellissippi State to enhance its partnerships with K-12 schools in Blount County, offering dual enrollment classes for high school students, focusing on high-demand career skills, and to increase its industry partnerships with a new corporate training center that will give local companies extra space and opportunity to train their employees at Pellissippi State.

Pellissippi State expects to break ground on the workforce development center later this year and open to students in fall 2021.

For more information about the Campaign for Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/campaignforpellissippistate. For more information on Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

About Regions Foundation
Regions Foundation is an Alabama nonprofit corporation. It is exempt from Federal income tax as an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Regions Foundation is funded primarily through contributions from Regions Bank. It engages in a community grantmaking program focused on priorities including economic and community development; education and workforce readiness; financial wellness; and related initiatives fostering inclusive growth across the communities it serves.

About Regions Financial Corporation

Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $128 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services.  Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest, and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,500 banking offices and 2,000 ATMs. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.

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DENSO grant to benefit Pellissippi State’s Electrical Engineering Technology students

DENSO presents IndustryReady 2.0 grant on Blount County Campus
An IndustryReady 2.0 grant from DENSO North American Foundation will provide Pellissippi State with the necessary supplies and modules to build three instrumentation and process control training systems, similar to the one shown in the background here, for the college’s Electrical Engineering Technology students. From left are Jack Helmboldt, president of the DENSO North American Foundation; Assistant Professor Kristi Leach; Emilie Denson, section leader for Human Resources at DENSO; instrumentation instructor Lane Whiteside; Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr.; and Brian Crawford of DENSO’s North American Talent Acquisition Team.

A $48,125 grant from DENSO North American Foundation – the philanthropic arm of DENSO, the world’s second largest mobility supplier – will help Pellissippi State Community College students become the highly trained workforce this region needs.

The IndustryReady 2.0 grant will provide the college with the necessary supplies and modules to build three instrumentation and process control training systems for Pellissippi State’s Electrical Engineering Technology students.

“Blount County is one of the fastest growing counties in Tennessee in terms of job growth per capita, and employers in the county are adding hundreds of jobs each year, increasing the demand for highly skilled, college-educated employees,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Pellissippi State is working to fill that need, and support from partners like DENSO helps us to provide the high-tech equipment necessary for talented students to complete their education and fill these jobs.”

The DENSO funding and this new equipment is expected to:

  • Enhance the development of essential skills necessary for Blount and Knox county workers to succeed in today’s workforce;
  • Enhance the college’s capacity to offer training that is closely aligned with industry standards; and
  • Address the high-demand for Engineering Technology, Industrial Maintenance and Automated Industrial Systems workers in the region.

“Investing in tomorrow’s workforce is critical to ensuring we have individuals who are equipped to help DENSO fulfill its vision of creating software and products that enhance safety and reduce environmental impact,” said Jack Helmboldt, president of the DENSO North American Foundation. “Through these grants, we hope to create a generation of innovators who inspire new value for the future of mobility.”

This grant, which DENSO officials presented to Wise on Wednesday, Aug. 28, at Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus, builds on a $25,000 IndustryReady grant awarded to the college last July.

That DENSO funding allowed Pellissippi State to purchase one instrumentation and process control training system (IPCTS) that provides realistic pressure, level and flow training experiences for the college’s Electrical Engineering Technology students with an automation concentration – the very students who often go on to work at DENSO.

Pellissippi State Assistant Professor Curtis Holmes, center, supervises students in the Integrated Robotics class as they use some of the DENSO-funded equipment on the college's Blount County Campus on Aug. 28, 2019.
Pellissippi State Assistant Professor Curtis Holmes, center, supervises Integrated Robotics students as they use some of the DENSO-funded equipment on the college’s Blount County Campus on Aug. 28, 2019.

The college’s two instrumentation classes began using the equipment during the 2019 spring semester.

“Before we had a lot of sensors – to test for levels, pressures, etc. – that worked separately,” explained Assistant Professor Kristi Leach. “This system is tying everything together, and it can connect to our program logic controllers.”

Leach said she had wanted this equipment since she started teaching at Pellissippi State in 2011. The expense was prohibitive until DENSO chipped in.

Funding for grants such as this one is awarded through the Pellissippi State Foundation, which develops resources to support the educational goals of Pellissippi State. The Foundation provides scholarships and emergency loans to students, improves facilities and secures new equipment for the college.

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

DENSO is looking to hire engineering talent across North America, particularly in Tennessee where it recently invested $1 billion as it continues its pursuit to shape and improve future mobility solutions for all. Positions are available in a variety of roles and locations. Those interested in working with new technologies and collaborating with global teams to create safe and efficient vehicles can apply at www.densocareers.com.

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Blount Memorial pledges $100,000 to new workforce development center

BMH officials present big check to Pellissippi State officials
Blount Memorial Hospital CEO Don Heinemann and BMH Board of Directors President Robert Redwine, from left, present Pellissippi State Dean of Nursing Angela Lunsford, President L. Anthony Wise Jr. and Foundation Board of Trustees Vice Chair Andy White with a $100,000 donation for the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center on Aug. 15.

The Blount Memorial Hospital board of directors has pledged $100,000 to help build the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center on Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County Campus.

“The role that Pellissippi State is playing in helping to develop a versatile workforce in our community is so important to our community’s future and the continued economic development we want to see in Blount County,” said Robert Redwine, president of the Blount Memorial Hospital board of directors. “At Blount Memorial, we certainly see the impact it’s making, as a number of our clinicians and employees have come to us through Pellissippi State. But it isn’t just health careers that Pellissippi State is focused on in our community. Instead, the college’s programs focus on providing individuals the skills needed to do a variety of jobs, and that’s what helps to balance the workforce development in our community and hopefully keep our county’s unemployment numbers low.”

The Pellissippi State Foundation is raising money for the $16.5 million project, which Barber McMurry Architects are designing. Denark Construction expects to break ground this winter on the 53,000-square-foot building that will be used by Pellissippi State and Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville to help fill the area’s need for highly skilled, college-educated employees.

“Blount Memorial Hospital was built by the people of Blount County for the people of Blount County, so it’s no surprise that Blount Memorial is continuing its long legacy of supporting programs that will benefit the people who live and work right here in Blount County,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., who accepted the $100,000 donation on Thursday at the hospital. “Even in this time when we so often read about community hospitals closing, it’s commendable that Blount Memorial continues to support its community.”

Blount Memorial has supported Pellissippi State since 1993 and has given three major gifts to the college. The first – $15,000 gifted in 2001 – established the Blount Memorial Nursing Scholarship while the second – $150,000 pledged in 2010 – was used to establish a nursing classroom on the college’s Blount County Campus.

This third gift will help make the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center a reality.

“All of Blount Memorial’s gifts to Pellissippi State have helped lead to great jobs and successful careers for Blount County’s children and grandchildren,” Wise said.

Pellissippi State’s part of the workforce development center is expected to house a Smart Factory MegaLab featuring Industry 4.0 curriculum and offer classes in Computer Information Technology, Culinary Arts, Electrical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology. Meanwhile, TCAT’s part of the new building is expected to include classes in Industrial Electrical Maintenance and Welding, Machine Tool Technology and Pipe Fitting.

In addition to traditional college classes, the workforce development center also will allow Pellissippi State to enhance its partnerships with K-12 schools in Blount County, offering dual enrollment classes for high school students, focusing on high-demand career skills, and to increase its industry partnerships with a new corporate training center that will give local companies extra space and opportunity to train their employees at Pellissippi State.

“We have a longstanding history with Pellissippi State, and we’re honored to continue this relationship by supporting its efforts to continue training and educating Blount Countians in health care careers, as well as the trades,” said Blount Memorial Hospital CEO Don Heinemann. “We know that the demand for health care services is only going to grow, both here locally and nationally, and we applaud Pellissippi State for its vision to focus on these needs, but also those careers that serve as support services to all areas of business and industry in our community. The addition is more than a new building on campus. This workforce development center will open doors for a brighter future for so many in our community.”

Pellissippi State expects to open the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center to students in fall 2021. For more information on the building or to make a donation in support of the project, visit www.pstcc.edu/campaignforpellissippistate/workforce.

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

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Clayton, Clayton Foundation donate $500,000 to Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center

Dr. Wise accepts two $250,000 checks from Clayton
Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., center, accepts donations for the new Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center from Clayton Director of Philanthropy Susan Brown, left, and Clayton Foundation Managing Director Michell Clayton, right, on Aug. 7 at Clayton’s home office in Maryville.

Two longtime supporters of Pellissippi State Community College have continued their philanthropy with generous donations to construct the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center on the college’s Blount County Campus.

Clayton, headquartered in Maryville, and the Clayton Foundation each have pledged $250,000 to the project for a total commitment of $500,000.

Clayton Foundation Managing Director Michell Clayton and Clayton Director of Philanthropy Susan Brown presented Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. with the donation commitments Wednesday at Clayton’s home office in Maryville.

“These gifts are a continuation of a long partnership with Clayton and the Clayton Foundation to educate Blount County students and prepare them to enter the local workforce with the skills they need to create a bright future for themselves and their families, right here in Blount County,” Wise said.

The Clayton donations to The Campaign for Pellissippi State will help build the new workforce development center, a $16.5 million project that Denark Construction expects to break ground on this winter. The 53,000-square-foot building that is being designed by BarberMcMurry Architects will be used by Pellissippi State and Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville to help fill the area’s need for highly skilled, college-educated employees.

Pellissippi State’s part of the new building is expected to house a Smart Factory MegaLab featuring Industry 4.0 curriculum and offer classes in Computer Information Technology, Culinary Arts, Electrical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology. Meanwhile, TCAT’s part of the new building is expected to include classes in Industrial Electrical Maintenance and Welding, Machine Tool Technology and Pipe Fitting.

“The workforce development center represents a unique, integrated approach to workforce development with a K-12 partnership, offering duel enrollment classes for high school students, focusing on high-demand career skills; a TCAT partnership, which will give that college its first footprint in Blount County; and industry partnerships developed to meet local demands, including a new corporate training center that will give local companies extra space and opportunity to train their employees at Pellissippi State,” Wise added. “This effort supports great jobs and successful careers for our children and grandchildren right here at home in Blount County.”

The Clayton Foundation, which works to make a difference in the lives of families, organizations and communities, has supported Pellissippi State since 1990. Its first major gift to Pellissippi State was $800,000 in 2008 to support the college’s Blount County Campus and its Clayton Performing Arts Center on its Hardin Valley Campus in Knoxville.

Clayton, whose mission is to help hardworking families achieve the dream of home ownership, has supported Pellissippi State since 2003. The company’s first major gift to the college was $200,000, pledged in 2008 to support the Blount County Campus.

“This workforce development center will provide so many opportunities for students to grow and prosper with training for the modern trade environment,” Brown said. “We are thrilled to join with the East Tennessee business community in support of Pellissippi State’s efforts to meet such an important need.”

Pellissippi State expects to open the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center to students in fall 2021. For more information on the building or to make a donation in support of the project, visit www.pstcc.edu/campaignforpellissippistate/workforce.

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

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Pellissippi State names new Blount County building in honor of Ruth and Steve West

Steve and Ruth West
Steve and Ruth West attend the Big Reveal on Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus on Feb. 1, 2019. Pellissippi State announced at the event that it would build two new buildings, one of which is being named for the couple.

Pellissippi State Community College’s new building on its Blount County Campus will be christened the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center.

“Ruth and Steve West have been longtime supporters of Pellissippi State’s mission to educate and provide vital workforce development,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Their generous spirit has made a lasting impact on the college and the Blount County community. We are honored that the new Workforce Development Center will bear their name.”

The Tennessee Board of Regents, which governs 13 community colleges and 27 technical colleges across the state, approved the name request at its quarterly meeting June 21.

“It is an honor,” Steve West said Thursday. “We’ve been involved with Pellissippi State for a long time here in Blount County, and Ruth served on the Pellissippi State Foundation board for some time.”

The Wests’ donation to The Campaign for Pellissippi State will help build the new Workforce Development Center, a $16.5 million project. The 53,000-square-foot building will be used by Pellissippi State and Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville to help fill the area’s need for highly skilled, college-educated employees.

“I was on the Blount County Industrial Board for 20 years, and we brought a lot of diverse companies in and continue to do so,” said West, who also served as mayor of Maryville from 1999 to 2003. “But it’s not like it was when I was young. A good attitude and willingness to learn is not enough. We need more specialized training to fill these jobs.”

Pellissippi State’s part of the new building is expected to house a Smart Factory MegaLab featuring Industry 4.0 curriculum and offer classes in Computer Information Technology, Culinary Arts, Electrical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology.

Meanwhile, TCAT’s part of the new building is expected to include classes in Industrial Electrical Maintenance and Welding, Machine Tool Technology and Pipe Fitting.

Ruth and Steve West seated in an auditorium, laughing
Ruth West, in red, and Steve West, beside her, laugh with others at the Big Reveal on Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus on Feb. 1, 2019.

West said he expects “the depth and breadth” of the programs offered in the Workforce Development Center to help the community in more than one way.

“I look at people my age, and their kids had to move away for jobs, and now their grandkids are all over the country,” he said. “Plus, kids are coming out of college with $30,000 in debt and a nonstarter for a career, whereas the kids in our Pellissippi State welding program, for example, can get a job in any city in any state and be making good money. We need to be talking to our young people and letting them know that these two-year programs Pellissippi State offers are smart options.”

Pellissippi State expects to break ground on the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center later this year and open the building to students in fall 2021.

In the meantime, the Pellissippi State Foundation has raised $9.3 million of its $10 million goal to build not only the Workforce Development Center on the Blount County Campus, but also the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus. The campaign also will expand Pellissippi State’s Media Technologies program and support funds that help students and faculty.

For more information about The Campaign for Pellissippi State or to make a donation, visit www.pstcc.edu/campaignforpellissippistate.

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Pellissippi State unveils improvements to Blount County Campus library

Ed Harmon unveils his name above the library on the Pellissippi State Blount County Campus
William “Ed” Harmon, right, unveils his name above the library on the Pellissippi State Blount County Campus on Wednesday, June 19, assisted by Blount County Campus Librarian Will Buck, left.

Panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains, natural light from a semicircle of nine large windows and shorter shelving accessible to those who use wheelchairs are among the changes students will discover when they visit the library on Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County Campus.

The improvements were unveiled Wednesday during a ceremony naming the library in honor of Pellissippi State donor William “Ed” Harmon, who has committed $100,000 to help build the Blount County Workforce Development Center on Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus.

“The space is just transformed,” said Dean of Library Services Mary Ellen Spencer. “It looks so much larger.”

Blount County Campus Dean Holly Burkett agreed.

“The library is, by far, the most open, most naturally lit and most inviting area on this campus,” she said.

Three large shelves previously dominated the library, blocking not only the light from the room’s soaring windows, but also the line of sight from the service desk to the library’s computers, which were located around the perimeter of the room.

“When a person was struggling or needed help, we couldn’t see them,” Spencer said, adding that the library’s glass display cases also were hidden from view by the large shelves.

Removing the tall shelving and replacing it with shorter stacks that fit beneath the windows along the wall not only flooded the room with natural light, but also made the library collections accessible to those who use wheelchairs.

Meanwhile, the library’s computers were moved to a different area of the room, closer to the printer and to the service desk, and existing furniture was rearranged to make the library “much more student-friendly” and conducive for collaboration. Students who don’t want to use one of the library’s desktop computers can check out laptops or tablets and use them at four-top tables located throughout the library.

“The space looks twice as big; it’s night and day,” Spencer said. “We’re very excited to show off this inviting, welcoming atmosphere.”

William "Ed" Harmon and Blount County Campus Dean Holly Burkett pose inside the newly improved Blount County Campus library.
Ed Harmon and Blount County Campus Dean Holly Burkett pose inside the newly improved Blount County Campus library on Wednesday, July 19. In the background you can see the shorter shelving, which not only allows natural light to flood the room from the massive windows, but also is accessible to those who use wheelchairs.

Naming the library in honor of Harmon was a natural fit, as the Maryville native has been supporting Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus since 2004, when the college was located in the old Bungalow School. In fact, much of the framed artwork located throughout the Blount County Campus was donated by Harmon, said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr.

“It means a lot to me,” Harmon said at the unveiling ceremony Wednesday. “I have been blessed with so many friends, and I appreciate you all coming.”

Harmon’s most recent gift to the college –  $100,000 to build the Blount County Workforce Development Center – will benefit not only Pellissippi State, Wise noted, but also the community.

“Our students who graduate from here stay here,” Wise said, noting the Blount County Workforce Development Center will include alignment with Alcoa City, Maryville City and Blount County schools; Tennessee College of Applied Technology; and the college’s industry partners. “We are all in this together to create great jobs and careers for the people who want to live and work here.”

For more information on the Blount County Workforce Development Center or to make a donation in support of the project, which Pellissippi State hopes to break ground on by the end of this year, visit www.pstcc.edu/campaignforpellissippistate/workforce.

For more photos of the event, check out Pellissippi State on Facebook.

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Pellissippi State breaks ground for Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on Hardin Valley Campus

17 people wearing hard hats shovel dirt in a ceremonial groundbreaking
Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, eighth from left, joins Pellissippi State to break ground on the new Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus May 15. The Tennessee Board of Regents approved the name of the building May 14, and the name was announced, to Haslam’s surprise, at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Pellissippi State Community College broke ground today on a new academic building on its Hardin Valley Campus and announced that the building has been named the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science.

As governor of Tennessee from 2011 to 2019, Haslam was key to establishing Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, last-dollar scholarships that provide two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in Tennessee.

“We would not be here today without the leadership of Bill Haslam, who made it a priority to increase the number of college graduates in our state and responded with programs like Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, which have opened doors for more students to continue their education at community colleges,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “A recent study by the Postsecondary Education Research Center at the University of Tennessee showed that Tennessee Promise already has increased retention and graduation rates for full-time, first-time freshmen at Pellissippi State, and we know anecdotally that Tennessee Reconnect is helping adults without degrees achieve their dreams of obtaining a college education as well. We are honored to have Bill Haslam’s name on this building.”

The new 82,000-square-foot Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science will help Pellissippi State, the largest community college in Tennessee with 10,894 students, meet demands for classrooms and lab spaces that have increased due to Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect.

The Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science, which will be located on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus in Knoxville, will include 18 classrooms, six computer labs and nine science labs, as well as a teacher education center for the college’s Early Childhood Development and Teacher Education programs.

Pellissippi State expects to open the new building for classes in fall 2021.

The total project cost for the construction of the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science is $27 million, and Tennessee’s community colleges are required to provide a minimum of 10 percent match for all state building projects. Significant progress has been made toward the $2.7 million fundraising goal due to generous contributions from donors such as the Haslam Family Foundation; Pilot Flying J; UT-Battelle; Oak Ridge Associated Universities; UCOR, an AECOM-led partnership with Jacobs; and Stowers Machinery Corporation.

For more information about the Campaign for Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/campaignforpellissippistate. For more information on Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

UT-Battelle donates $150,000 to Pellissippi State to support new center for math and science

ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia and Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. with a ceremonial check for $150,000
ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia, left, presents Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. with a UT-Battelle donation to the college’s new center for math and science in December 2018.

UT-Battelle LLC, which manages and operates Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy, has pledged $150,000 to support Pellissippi State Community College’s new center for math and science on its Hardin Valley Campus.

“I would say – if I were to look at my own life experience, career experience – that education in STEM opens you up for an adventure of a lifetime,” ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia told Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. when Wise visited ORNL to receive the donation. “I think the opportunity for community colleges generally, but particularly for Pellissippi State, is to prepare your students not just for the jobs that are available today but, in partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to prepare students for the rapidly changing job opportunities and the job market of tomorrow.”

As the largest DOE multiprogram open science laboratory, ORNL’s mission is to deliver scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs that accelerate the development and deployment of solutions in clean energy and global security while creating economic opportunities for the nation. Signature strengths in neutron scattering, high-performance computing, advanced materials, and nuclear science and engineering are the foundation for the lab’s broad research and development portfolio.

“Pellissippi State is fortunate to have a world-class national laboratory in our backyard,” Wise said. “Our student interns and alumni can be found in all corners of the organization. ORNL serves as an advocate for the technical skills and value of community college graduates, and Pellissippi State looks forward to continuing to build on our relationship with ORNL that has existed since the early days of State Technical Institute.”

ORNL partners with Pellissippi State by providing internships to students in a variety of fields. Meanwhile, ORNL operates DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility not far from Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, allowing Pellissippi State students a unique opportunity to see advanced manufacturing and materials science at work – as well as the practical application of the research that is happening at ORNL.

“Sometimes it seems like it’s a long way from the community college to ORNL, but in a lot of ways, it’s really not, because we hope we can provide foundational learning experiences that may eventually support the work you do as well,” Wise told Zacharia.

Zacharia agreed, noting that a large number of ORNL employees got their starts at Pellissippi State.

“I joined the laboratory in the welding group and ended up leading the world’s premier computing facility – and only because when opportunities were presented to me, rather than asking myself, ‘Should I do it?’ I just said, ‘Why not?’” Zacharia said in response to Wise’s request for his advice for STEM students. “Someday I’d like to see a student who started out at Pellissippi State Community College be the director of this laboratory.”

Pellissippi State will break ground on the new center for math and science at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 15, on its Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The 82,000-square-foot building will include 18 classrooms, six computer labs and nine science labs, as well as a teacher education center.

Pellissippi State expects to open the $27 million building for classes in fall 2021.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s two new buildings and the campaign to build them, visit www.pstcc.edu/campaignforpellissippistate. For more information on Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

For more information about ORNL, visit  www.ornl.gov. To read the conversation between Zacharia and Wise in its entirety, visit https://sites.pstcc.edu/connections/2019/04/29/conversation.

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