Pellissippi State drives workforce development and innovation with AMP!

Pellissippi State Community College has a key role in the Advanced Manufacturing and Prototype Center of East Tennessee (AMP!), one of 10 public-private partnerships that will receive federal grant funding to revitalize U.S. manufacturing and create jobs.

The grant application for AMP! resulted in the largest award—a total of $2,391,778—and was the only one from the Southeast chosen to be funded. The regional consortium’s proposal was selected through a federal multi-agency grant opportunity called the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.

The grant enables Pellissippi State to create a certificate program in Additive Manufacturing and update existing curricula. It also funds more than $250,000-plus in scholarships for students in Advanced Manufacturing courses. The college currently offers an associate’s degree in Engineering Technology, with concentrations in Civil Engineering, Electrical Construction Management, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Maintenance, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering.

The certificate will be offered through the college’s Business and Community Services Division and the Engineering Technology degree program.

Pellissippi State’s partners include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee’s Center for Industrial Services and Tech 20/20, the lead applicant on the grant.

“The way they created this opportunity at the federal level,” said Teri Brahams, “made us all come to the table to begin with and decide: how do we make the best impact? And I’m excited about that. I’m very excited about that.” Brahams is BCS’ Economic and Workforce Development executive director.

The purpose of AMP! is to lead the evolution of East Tennessee’s existing manufacturing cluster through the integration of advanced manufacturing process, equipment, programs and materials. That cluster comprises 20 counties around ORNL and within the East Tennessee Development District.

The partnership aims to connect resources and encourage collaboration, innovate and improve technologies, and develop a workforce that will drive that innovation and expand entrepreneurship.

“One of the things coming out of the effort,” said Brahams, “is a network of local businesses—small, medium and large—who are interested in exploring additive manufacturing and its applications within their own operations.”

Additive manufacturing describes the technologies that build 3D objects by adding layer-upon-layer of material, whether it be 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.

“Part of the technology that we’re going to be working with is well advanced of the marketplace right now,” said Pat Riddle, a Pellissippi State faculty member and Mechanical Engineering Technology program coordinator. “It’s had its infancy in what’s called rapid prototyping, and now it’s gone beyond that point, which was a natural progression.”

Pellissippi State was awarded $399,778 over three years through the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. Displaced and unemployed workers, veterans, and first-generation college students are all eligible for the scholarships.

In addition to classroom learning, students will have the opportunity to do hands-on lab assignments in additive manufacturing at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, located less than a mile from Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus.

For more information about the Additive Manufacturing certificate at Pellissippi State, contact Teri Brahams, BCS executive director, at (865) 539-7167. For information about Engineering Technology and other Pellissippi State programs, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.