Last year, Pellissippi State Community College enhanced its reputation as a leader in manufacturing education, marked the graduation of its first Nursing class, and achieved full state approval for its Nursing program. Nursing is offered at the Blount County Campus in Friendsville and the Magnolia Avenue Campus in Knoxville.
This year, the college is poised to build on its academic programs, as well as on its student participation in study abroad—already the highest of any U.S. community college.
Supporting students in completing college and increasing access to and placing graduates in good jobs serve as key priorities in 2013, said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president.
“We continue to focus on helping students complete their studies in both transfer programs and career/technical fields that lead to outstanding transfer opportunities and excellent jobs,” Wise said.
Pellissippi State also is reviewing its distance education program to find ways to provide additional pathways to degree completion.
“We’re going to change the way we use distance education—and this will certainly affect Blount County—to help students at our site campuses complete career and transfer degrees on those campuses,” Wise said.
Manufacturing education and training
At the state-of-the-art Manufacturing Tech Lab, the Blount County Campus has experienced an uptick in apprenticeship training through the college’s Business and Community Services Division and Engineering Technology degree program. For example, Cherokee Millwright revived its apprenticeship program with the consultation and expertise of BCS. BCS and Engineering Technology also developed curricula and training for Y-12 machinist apprentices at the Hardin Valley Campus.
This past year, the college played a key role in creating a national curriculum for the Automotive Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative. AMTEC is a collaboration of colleges and industry to better prepare skilled technicians and manufacturing engineers for work in auto manufacturing and technology. The curriculum contribution helped Pellissippi State land two federal grants to fund manufacturing education, training and workforce development in East Tennessee.
“These types of advanced manufacturing programs, they really feed into what seems to be a growth in manufacturing in the local economy,” Wise said. “In terms of our career programs, that’s exactly where we need to be.”
The first grant came through the U.S. Department of Labor in September. The Labor Department awarded $15 million to an educational consortium that included Pellissippi State. The grant provides a minimum of $760,000 to each consortium member during a three-year period.
The award funds manufacturing job training to fill a shortage of skilled workers locally. The goal of the grant meets a long-term ambition, one that dovetails with Pellissippi State’s mission: to help transform manufacturing education.
The funding will boost instructional capacity, pay for equipment and technical support, and improve online delivery of the college’s Engineering Technology classes.
A few weeks after the Labor Department grant was announced, Pellissippi State learned it was the recipient of a second federal grant for manufacturing education.
The college plays a key role in the Advanced Manufacturing and Prototype Center of East Tennessee (AMP!), one of 10 public-private partnerships to receive a total of $20 million to revitalize U.S. manufacturing and create jobs. Pellissippi State’s partners on the grant include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee’s Center for Industrial Services and Tech 20/20, the lead grant applicant.
The regional consortium’s proposal was selected through a federal multi-agency competition called the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.
The grant enables Pellissippi State to offer a certificate in Additive Manufacturing and update existing curricula. It funds more than $250,000 in scholarships for students in Advanced Manufacturing courses.
Additive manufacturing describes the technologies that build 3D objects by adding layer-upon-layer of material, whether the material is plastic, metal or concrete. Using 3D printers, companies can create prototypes quickly, with less waste and cost than traditional methods. In addition, additive manufacturing is being used more and more to make finished products.
The certificate will be offered through BCS and Engineering Technology.
Study abroad by American students has more than tripled over the past two decades. During the 2010-11 academic year, 174 Pellissippi State students studied abroad, making the college the top two-year school in the U.S. in terms of the number of study abroad students.
The numbers come from the most recent Open Doors Report, published annually by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
A key factor in Pellissippi State’s study abroad success is its robust scholarship program. Funded through the international education fee, study abroad scholarships at Pellissippi State total more than $300,000 each year.
“Our study abroad programs are designed to help students earn credits towards degrees and to develop a broader understanding of the world in which they study, live, and work,” said Wise.
“Scholarship support allows our students to travel to places they might never have imagined. Very often they come back better students and citizens and with a much better sense of who they are and what they want to do.”