Pellissippi State offers path to engineering tech bachelor’s degree

When President Barack Obama visited East Tennessee in January, he introduced America’s College Promise and launched a manufacturing innovation hub—both with ties to Pellissippi State Community College.

“We’re launching these hubs around the country, and the concept is simple: We bring businesses, research universities, community colleges, and state, local, and federal governments together, and we figure out, where are some key opportunities for manufacturing in the future, how do we get out in front of the curve, how do we make sure everybody is working together,” Obama said during his speech at Techmer PM in Clinton.

Pellissippi State has provided workforce development training for Techmer PM in recent years. The College and Techmer PM also are partners in a $15 million U.S. Department of Labor grant awarded to the Multi-State Advanced Manufacturing Consortium. The funding is directed toward helping workers who are displaced, unemployed or underemployed, particularly those in the manufacturing industry.

Pellissippi State has launched a number of programs and courses designed to meet those needs.

One of those initiatives is the College’s articulation agreement with Austin Peay State University in Clarksville. Under the partnership, a student can earn an associate’s degree in Engineering Technology through Pellissippi State, then a bachelor’s degree in either Manufacturing Engineering Technology or Mechanical Engineering Technology through Austin Peay—without ever leaving the Hardin Valley Campus.

“I think our partnership with Austin Peay is one that will help close the gap in manufacturing skills in the region,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “It allows our students to move seamlessly from a community college to a four-year university to earn an applied bachelor’s degree, then enter the workforce with much-needed job skills.”

The program’s first 15 students are set to graduate from Pellissippi State this year. They’ll enroll at Austin Peay in the fall as juniors.

Students in the program first earn an Associate of Applied Science degree from Pellissippi State, then continue on to earn a Bachelor of Science from Austin Peay. All four years of classes are taught at the Hardin Valley Campus, by both Pellissippi State and Austin Peay faculty.

The program is designed for working students, and it meets the demand for engineering graduates with a bachelor’s degree in East Tennessee.

“Other opportunities like this do not exist in this region,” said Pat Riddle, Pellissippi State’s Mechanical Engineering/Engineering Technology program coordinator. “Pellissippi State and Austin Peay provide local employers with trained, educated professionals with a bachelor’s degree credential.”

“It’s important that we deliver the academic portion and the follow-up: that our graduates are able to find meaningful job opportunities in the fields they’ve studied,” said William Cox, executive director of the School of Technology and Public Management at Austin Peay.

Registration for fall courses at Pellissippi State, including those in the Engineering Technology partnership with Austin Peay, begins in April.

For more information about the partnership program, contact Cindy Fowinkle, an assistant professor and program coordinator of Engineering Technology at Austin Peay at Pellissippi State, at (865) 694-7651. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.