The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded Pellissippi State Community College a grant for $4,569,689—the largest single amount the school has ever received.
The funding is part of a $474.5 million DOL effort to help community colleges around the country train the workforce and facilitate students in earning credentials. The award was announced Wednesday, Sept. 18.
The grants are to be used for the development and expansion of innovative training programs in partnership with local employers. Pellissippi State was one of only three Tennessee colleges awarded funds in the competitive process.
“We are excited and proud to have won this very competitive grant for the expansion of our workforce training programs,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “The funding will significantly enhance our efforts with business and industry partners to create more and better jobs for graduates throughout East Tennessee.”
The college wrote and submitted the grant as the leader of the Southeastern Economic and Education Leadership Consortium. The consortium includes five other community colleges in the Southeast: Northeast State Community College, Palm Beach State College and Polk State College in Florida, and Randolph Community College and Vance-Granville Community College in North Carolina.
The SEELC proposal resulted in a total of $12.7 million for use in advanced manufacturing projects.
“At Pellissippi State, we will use the grant to expand welding, machining, and manufacturing programs, with the long-term goal of ensuring that our graduates are well prepared to enter the workforce,” said Wise. Funds will be used to purchase equipment and new technology and to hire program faculty and staff.
“As a SEELC member, we will also work with national credentialing bodies to make sure our training continues to meet industry-recognized standards of excellence.”
Through the consortium, Pellissippi State will partner with organizations such as the American Welding Society and the National Institute for Metalworking Skills to offer national credentials as part of the college’s degree and certificate programs. Pellissippi State has available a wide variety of short-term training certificates that enhance job opportunities for students.
Consortium members also will work with public partners in their respective states to open the door for more students and workers to receive advanced manufacturing certificates and degrees.
The six colleges that make up the SEELC are leaders in partnering in regional workforce development and education, and the six were specifically chosen to represent economic and demographic diversity. Each SEELC member is located in a state in which governors and other community leaders are working to improve economic development and workforce system change.