Oak Ridge Associated Universities, a longtime partner of Pellissippi State Community College, has pledged $100,000 to support Pellissippi State’s new center for math and science on its Hardin Valley Campus.
ORAU President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Page and ORAU Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer Eric Abelquist presented Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. with the donation March 14.
“We are excited to be able to help Pellissippi State realize its vision for a new science and math building on the Hardin Valley Campus,” Page said. “It’s exciting to think how many young scientists, engineers and mathematicians this new building will serve in the coming years.”
ORAU, which manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education for the U.S. Department of Energy, demonstrates their commitment to science, technology, engineering and math education and the STEM workforce through its support of Pellissippi State – both financially and through countless hours of volunteer time and expertise assistance.
Through the support of ORAU, Pellissippi State offered an annual middle school mathematics contest for 18 years. More than 10,000 students from 32 East Tennessee schools participated in the annual event, which was free for them to enter.
ORAU also partnered with Pellissippi State to offer an Advanced Manufacturing Internship, a six-week program designed to prepare students to enter this high-tech workforce, and provided scholarship support to Pellissippi State students, who worked as math tutors during their time at the college.
“ORAU serves as a key partner, as they lend their research capabilities and specialized experts to make a positive impact in our community,” Wise said. “Together, we are shaping the next generation of this region’s scientific and technical workforce.”
Pellissippi State will break ground on the new math and science center 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.
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,ticketsare 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 email@example.com. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.
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.
Pellissippi State Community College students brought holiday cheer – and 45 bikes – to Tennessee School for the Deaf this month, as Gay Baker’s American Sign Language classes led two days of “Toy Story”-themed activities for TSD elementary and middle schoolers.
“This is a perfect partnership,” said Sue Ivey, dean of students for TSD’s middle and high schools. “Gay’s students get real live experience with deaf students, and they always bring activities that are educational, age appropriate and fun. The students don’t even know that they’re learning!”
“This is their final project, which is why it falls during finals week,” explained Baker, who has been teaching ASL at Pellissippi State since January 1998. “It stresses team building and collaboration effort, and it exposes them to authentic experiences with deaf students.”
On Dec. 10, Pellissippi State students presented a “Toy Story”-inspired play for the TSD students; introduced them to deaf role models such as cowboy Clint Thomas, who graduated from Georgia School for the Deaf; and guided them through rodeo/carnival games inspired by the “Toy Story” character Woody, tossing toy snakes into boots and “shooting out” tin cans with Nerf guns.
Activities on Dec. 11 centered around the “Toy Story” character Buzz Lightyear and Pellissippi State’s Common Academic Experience theme of “Inner Space | Outer Space.” TSD students learned about deaf #StudentAstronaut winner Julia Velasquez, deaf NASA engineer Johanna Lucht and the deaf college students, known as the Gallaudet Eleven, who helped NASA understand the effects of gravitational changes on the human body.
Afterwards TSD students moved through eight learning stations with games such as planet Twister and Comet Ball, a riff on Dodge Ball, and activities like playing the board game Operation while wearing space gloves or taking a turn on an inversion table to mimic the motion sickness some experience in space.
“This has been really good, really fun,” signed TSD eighth grader Lizzie Parker. “There have been lots of things to do, like tasting different kinds of space food that an astronaut would eat. I really liked it.”
Seventh grader Teya Stafford signed that she liked learning about constellations and then getting to create her own while sixth grader Shequita Morris signed that she liked learning about Mars.
“We learned how to make rockets, too,” Morris signed, indicating the propulsion station where students mixed vinegar and baking soda in plastic bottles. “I learned all about space and the different planets and black holes.”
At the end of the night, TSD students gathered outside to watch Pellissippi State students launch a small rocket, but that wasn’t the biggest surprise the college students had in store for them. Pellissippi State’s ASL, Please! club presented each residential elementary and middle school student with a bicycle to keep on the TSD campus.
“Every year they ask us what we need,” Ivey explained, noting Pellissippi State’s ASL students have provided everything from lotion, toothbrushes and toothpaste for the students to larger items such as winter coats and beanbag chairs for the student union. “This year we requested bikes because we’re starting a bike club, and when we did an inventory last spring, our bikes here are in terrible shape.”
The ASL, Please! club gathered 45 bikes: 20 donated by Kickstand Community Bike Shop, six donated by DreamBikes and 19 donated by community members who responded to a post by a student’s mother in a neighborhood Facebook group. The Epilepsy Foundation of East Tennessee chipped in 45 helmets.
“Our club has been working really hard for you guys for this special surprise,” Baker signed to the anxiously awaiting children before the Pellissippi State students rode in on the bikes to shocked expressions and excited cheers. One TSD student jumped right up and hugged ASL, Please! President Stephen Roberts, who has been leading mission trips to a deaf village in Jamaica for four years.
“This has been amazing,” said Pellissippi State student Brandon Owens, who is majoring in interpretation. “I always think it can’t get any more fun, but it does. Interpreting was not my original major, but I just fell in love with the ASL classes and with this community.”
This was Pellissippi State student Lucille Wright’s first experience with TSD.
“This has been fascinating because I’ve never been around deaf kids before,” she said. “They are all so happy to have us and willing to help. We’re in ASL I so they actually are helping us learn.”
Indeed, Baker stressed that the interaction with the deaf community is one of the most important things Pellissippi State students take away from their ASL classes.
“One of the most vital things about the final project at TSD is that it gives our ASL students exposure to one of our country’s indigenous languages as well as another culture,” she says. “ASL helps our students be aware of accessibility, equality and diversity.”
And that pays off for their futures, Ivey noted.
“A lot of Pellissippi State students have become teachers here, and some are now in administration, having worked their way up,” she said. “Pellissippi State ASL students become some of our most well-rounded employees because they understand deaf culture and the importance of the language.”
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. For more photos of the Dec. 11 event at TSD, see the photo gallery below. Clicking on any of the photos in this story or in the gallery will lead you to high-resolution versions that can be downloaded for your use.
Community college students from across the state will have their art work displayed at Pellissippi State Community College in the first show of its kind.
The Inaugural Tennessee Intercollegiate Juried Student Exhibition will be on display Nov. 19-Dec. 7 in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville.
Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and the exhibition is free and open to the public.
“We at Pellissippi State and Tennessee’s community colleges believe strongly in our students, and that’s why we are teaching at a community college,” said Herbert Rieth, associate professor of art. “We bend over backwards to help their needs and pave their way to a four-year college.”
Rieth and Nathanial Smyth, art faculty and department chair at Volunteer State Community College, had the idea for an intercollegiate juried student exhibition at a conference a couple of years ago, Rieth explained.
“Being community colleges, there is not as much rivalry because we’re more regionally based,” Rieth said. “Not only did we think it would be fun for us to see what other programs are doing, but many students want to become professional artists, and we thought this would be a way for students to go through the process of applying for a juried exhibition to see what that’s like.”
Current and former students at Tennessee’s 13 community colleges were invited to enter works generated the past two years in studio art classes. There was no cost to enter.
Seven community colleges had students participate, with 103 works submitted. Peter Hoffecker Mejia, a visiting assistant professor of art at the University of Memphis and a former Pellissippi State student, served as juror, choosing 22 works for the exhibition.
“Twenty-one students made it in, including seven from Pellissippi State, so it’s an honor to get in there,” Rieth said. “There’s a little bit of everything we were allowing: photography, painting, drawing, design, sculpture, blacksmith, print making, collage. It’s quite a survey.”
A closing reception and awards ceremony will be held 3-5 p.m. Dec. 7. Three places and two honorable mentions will be awarded, with gifts donated by David Lusk Gallery, located in Memphis and Nashville, and Jerry’s Artarama in Knoxville.
Pellissippi State also will purchase the winning art work for $500, which the student will receive. The art work then will go on display at the college.
The exhibition is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State series. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.
A $25,000 grant from Arconic Foundation will help Pellissippi State Community College teach middle and high school students about the careers available to them in manufacturing.
The grant, which was awarded July 25 and announced Friday, will support Pellissippi State’s efforts to bring the Dream It. Do It. Tennessee initiative to Blount County.
“Pellissippi State has a rich tradition of working closely with the local manufacturing community to prepare our students with the skills they need to succeed in this rapidly evolving workplace,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., who accepted the grant from the Arconic Foundation on Friday as he toured Arconic’s North Plant with high school students, teachers and counselors from the Alcoa, Maryville and Blount County school systems. “To be able to reach out to middle and high school students, as well as to introduce them to these in-demand careers as they start thinking about what they want to do after graduation, is a next step Pellissippi State is excited to take.”
Dream It. Do It. Tennessee was co-founded by the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services to respond to an ongoing need to fill the hundreds of job vacancies each year in advanced manufacturing. Nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs likely will be available over the next decade, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.
Dream It. Do It. Tennessee is designed to create awareness among young people and those who influence their career decisions about the training and job opportunities that exist in advanced manufacturing today. Careers highlighted on the Dream It. Do It. Tennessee website – along with their average salary in Tennessee and the level of education needed for an entry-level position – include machinist, electronics engineering technician, industrial designer, electrician, welder, chemical engineer, computer hardware engineer, assembler and mechanical engineer.
“Arconic creates products that shape industries and solve our customers’ toughest challenges – those that require ingenuity and engineering and technical expertise from the brightest minds,” said Jeff Weida, plant manager at Arconic Tennessee Operations. “That’s why Arconic and Arconic Foundation continue to partner with educational institutions like Pellissippi State, to expose students to a wide array of STEM career opportunities.”
Pellissippi State’s Dream It. Do It. Blount County initiative will include outreach activities in middle and high schools as well as a Young Manufacturers Academy designed to engage students in hands-on learning with industry partners and Pellissippi State faculty.
Pellissippi State’s goal is to engage 185 Blount County students in the initiative.
Middle school students chosen for the Young Manufacturers Academy will participate next spring in a four-hour block of activities at Pellissippi State focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and manufacturing career pathways, while their parents will be invited to the Blount County Campus to learn more about career opportunities in advanced manufacturing.
Meanwhile, high school students chosen for the Young Manufacturers Academy will be immersed in manufacturing for one week next summer, with morning tours to industry partners’ facilities and afternoon sessions with Pellissippi State faculty.
“Alcoa City Schools is excited to participate in Pellissippi State’s Dream It. Do It. program sponsored by the Arconic Foundation,” said Director of Schools Brian Bell. “With our recent introduction of an advanced manufacturing pathway for high school students, this initiative will serve to further expand the strong partnership between Alcoa City Schools, Pellissippi State and Arconic. We are dedicated to providing early postsecondary opportunities for students that lead to high-skill, high-wage, high-demand jobs, including those in advanced manufacturing, in our community.”
Pellissippi State will work with the Boys & Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley along with faith-based and community-based agencies in Blount County to identify participants for the Young Manufacturers Academy.
For more information on Dream It. Do It. Tennessee, visit www.dreamitdoittn.com. For more information on Pellissippi State, visit the website at www.pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.
Pellissippi State Community College’s student psychology club will address the opiate epidemic in East Tennessee with speaker Neil Morgenstern, a drug prevention coordinator for Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas. The public is invited to hear the presentation on April 25 at 1 p.m. at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus, 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike.
Morgenstern will show the film “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict” and then discuss its main themes. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI co-produced the film, which is a documentary chronicling the lives of several opiate addicts in their fight against their opiate addiction.
Morgenstern is a coordinator with HIDTA, an agency whose mission is to enhance and coordinate drug enforcement efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies within high drug areas in Appalachia. He is a former DEA agent and is part of an area task force battling this epidemic. The task force is comprised of members from the Knoxville Police Department, the DEA, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Knox County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Knox County Prosecutor’s Office.
Pellissippi State’s Counseling Services and the Criminal Justice program are co-sponsors of the event. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pellissippi State Community College has joined community colleges across the country this week in signing a formal pledge to increase its focus on entrepreneurship and its economic impact on the community.
The National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship spearheaded the nationwide pledge. NACCE is an organization of educators, entrepreneurs and business development professionals focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges.
Among other things, Pellissippi State pledges to create internal and external teams dedicated to entrepreneurship and to increase entrepreneurs’ engagement with the college.
Pellissippi State supports entrepreneurship, in part, through the efforts of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, an affiliation of the college. They collaborate to offer training opportunities and workforce development in Blount, Claiborne, Cocke, Jefferson, Knox, Sevier and Union counties.
“Our college has always been entrepreneurial in spirit, in our support for the growth of the local economy and workforce, and also in our work with students,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., president of Pellissippi State. “Our partnership with NACCE reaffirms that commitment to develop the people, the businesses and the resources of our region.”
In 2017, Pellissippi State’s TSBDC served 364 clients, helped 33 new businesses start up, created 111 new jobs and retained 233 jobs. The firms that TSBDC aided went on to create more than $47.8 million in new capital investment into the local economy.
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.
In December, Pellissippi State Community College and Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville signed an agreement that will allow TCAT students in qualified courses to also earn credit from Pellissippi State.
Seven TCAT Knoxville programs have courses which allow transfer credit toward a degree at Pellissippi State. TCAT Knoxville students can now transfer between six and 24 hours toward an associate degree in Welding Technology; Electrical Engineering Technology; Mechanical Engineering Technology; Computer Information Technology with a concentration in Networking; or Engineering Technology with a concentration in Civil Engineering or Industrial Maintenance.
“Agreements like this one streamline higher education for students,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Partnerships like ours with TCAT Knoxville are demanded by regional industrial partners, who need qualified workers in high-skill jobs.”
“Working with the staff at Pellissippi State and TCAT Knoxville, we have created an educational path for regional students to articulate a TCAT technical diploma toward an associate degree at Pellissippi State,” said TCAT Knoxville President Dwight Murphy. “This model program will allow the two institutions to train the kind of skilled employees that regional industries need.”
Pellissippi State and TCAT Knoxville have a model program already active at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus. TCAT hosts its Welding program early in the day, followed by welding classes taken by dual-enrolled high school students from the Career Magnet Academy, followed by Pellissippi State’s Welding Technology students later in the day. All of the students use the same lab, classroom and equipment.
Pellissippi State and TCAT Knoxville will continue to expand their partnership to meet more local workforce needs, and plan to repeat the successful arrangement in Blount County.
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.
The Gene Haas Foundation has awarded $15,000 to the Pellissippi State Community College Foundation to support the Engineering Technology program.
The grant will fund scholarships for students studying the Manufacturing concentration and pursuing the National Institute for Metalworking Skills machinist credential. The NIMS credential certifies the student’s skill against national standards. The credential commonly is used to recruit, hire or promote workers in the manufacturing industry.
This is the second time the Gene Haas Foundation has awarded a grant for scholarships to Pellissippi State. The grant goes through the Pellissippi State Foundation, which works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans and to improve facilities and secure new equipment. For more information about the 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.