Department of Labor awards Pellissippi State $3.8 million grant

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded Pellissippi State Community College a $3.8 million workforce development grant that will allow the college to enhance its recruitment and training of women, young adults and other underrepresented minorities in the information technology and advanced manufacturing fields.

Pellissippi State is expected to begin recruiting students from around the region through the Knoxville Area Information Technology and Engineering, or KITE, grant in January 2017. In particular, KITE will focus on young adults (ages 17-29) with barriers to gainful employment, particularly women and minorities. KITE also will be open to nontraditional college students, particularly those between the ages of 45 and 60, who are under- or unemployed and who also lack skills to obtain jobs or promotions.

“Pellissippi State leads the way in workforce development in East Tennessee,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Through KITE, we’ll partner with local employers to combine classroom instruction with on-the-job training to help boost the local economy and fill high-demand jobs with skilled employees.”

KITE will pair Pellissippi State students with a number of key regional employers, including DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, Jewelry Television, Staffing Solutions, Scripps Networks Interactive and others for on-the-job training — in the form of internships, apprenticeships or co-ops. Knoxville-Knox County CAC – Workforce Connections and KnoxWorks will provide students with interviewing, resume writing and job placement assistance.

 “KITE is going to address identified gaps in training within the fields of information technology and advanced manufacturing, including the fact that women, minorities and other underrepresented populations are often rare in these fields,” Wise said.

Additionally, a portion of the DOL grant will go toward the purchase of specialized computer equipment at Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue and Strawberry Plains campuses, where high-tech computer labs will support the college’s new Cyber Defense concentration. Other funds will augment Engineering Technology programs offered at the Blount County, Hardin Valley and Strawberry Plains campuses.

Pellissippi State was one of 39 institutions across the country to win a Department of Labor TechHire award, and the only Tennessee institution to do so. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-694-6400.


Download this press release: KITE Grant

TSBDC names Bruce Hayes as new executive director

Bruce Hayes, new executive director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center in Knoxville
Bruce Hayes, new executive director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center in Knoxville

Knoxville’s Tennessee Small Business Development Center, an affiliate of Pellissippi State Community College, has named Bruce Hayes as its new executive director.

Hayes has worked for the TSBDC for nine years as a small business counselor. He steps into his new position following the retirement earlier this year of former executive director Larry Rossini.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunities of this new position,” said Hayes, who before coming to work at TSBDC was a custom homebuilder. “I’m planning to build on the work TSBDC has been doing for years now, and add a new focus on small businesses that are already up and operating.”

Hayes has worked with numerous startup businesses like The Flower Pot and Blue Slip Winery through his work at TSBDC.

“Our mission is to encourage economic growth in Tennessee. It’s those small businesses that contribute to the economic development of the state because it’s those business owners who are hiring people and expanding,” Hayes said.

“However, current small-business owners are focused on running their business. They don’t necessarily know who to go to if they need help. We want to expand the direction of TSBDC so that we can ensure existing small business owners know we have the resources to help them. We’re not just here for startups.”

Pellissippi State’s Small Business Development Center serves Blount, Claiborne, Cocke, Jefferson, Knox, Sevier and Union counties. In 2015, it served 466 clients for a total of 2,135 counseling hours. The TSBDC helped 30 new businesses start up, create 183 new jobs and retain 1,280 jobs. The firms TSBDC aided went on to create more than $11 million in new capital investment into the local economy.

The Small Business Development Center is affiliated with Pellissippi State and partners with the college on training opportunities and workforce development.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Small Business Development Center, visit or call 865-246-2663. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-694-6400.


Download this press release: TSBDC Hayes New Director

Community invited to celebrate making at Pellissippi State’s ‘MakerPalooza’

Tinkerers, knitters, bakers, carvers, illustrators, programmers, cultivators and all kinds of makers will display and demonstrate their creations at Pellissippi State Community College’s second annual MakerPalooza on June 18.

MakerPalooza 2.0 will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Megalab of Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus, 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike. The event is free and open to everyone.

“Makerpalooza celebrates STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art and math — education and the National Day of Making,” said Sarah Graham, a planner of the event and a completion coach of the Southeastern Education and Economic Leadership Consortium grant at Pellissippi State.

“We’re excited to host a variety of makers this year from farmers to welders to knitters and everything in between,” she added. Last year’s successful and inaugural Makerpalooza also featured a variety of technical and craft creations and their makers.

Seth Giles, advanced manufacturing master lab technician in the Megalab and co-planner of Makerpalooza, said, “Makerpalooza creates an environment that rewards accomplishment — after all, who doesn’t want to show off their creations? — and also shares information with other makers on how to achieve a task or complete a project, as well as on how a creator arrived at his or her solution.”

Makerpalooza 2.0 is sponsored by Pellissippi State’s Engineering and Media Technologies department. For more information about Makerpalooza, visit

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or


Download this press release: Makerpalooza 2016

Pellissippi State launches sustainable garden, food pantry

Annie Gray
Annie Gray, program coordinator of Service-Learning at Pellissippi State, shows off lettuce grown in the Hardin Valley Campus Garden.

Pellissippi State Community College is building on a history of sustainability and service with a new campus garden and food pantry.

The garden, which is located on the Hardin Valley Campus, is not only an outdoor education and community service hub, but a supplier of local produce to the college cafeteria. A significant portion of the food produced will help low-income students at Pellissippi State.

“What makes this project unique is not only the sustainability aspect, but the emphasis on providing for students in need and educating them about healthy food choices amid real concerns about poverty,” said Annie Gray, Service-Learning coordinator and leader of this project.

The Hardin Valley Campus Garden will complement a new food pantry that will support college students who struggle with chronic hunger issues. Most of the garden’s produce — 75 percent — will supplement the food distributed through this new Pellissippi Pantry, which also will partner with Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee.

The remaining food from the garden will supplement Hardin Valley Campus cafeteria food offerings, available to anyone.

The Pellissippi Pantry will be available on all five Pellissippi State campuses in Knox and Blount counties. It will offer qualified students healthy packaged and fresh food, as well as nutrition education. It will launch for at-risk students this summer.

Research shows there’s a need for this type of outreach. A 2015 study out of the University of Wisconsin has shown that, nationally, about 52 percent of community college students experience ongoing food insecurity, or the inability to readily access healthy or nutritious food. Atlantic magazine has reported that 22 percent of community college students nationwide reported they’d gone hungry due to a lack of money.

Pellissippi Pantry will operate on a basis of confidentiality. Students will be identified to workers only by an ID and will be able to discreetly pick up food at a pre-specified time and location.

Pellissippi State has a history of launching sustainable and service-oriented gardens. In partnership with other local organizations, the college opened the Pond Gap Elementary School community garden in 2013 as part of the Service-Learning program. That community garden has been a widely-regarded success in enhancing curriculum and after-school programs and providing healthy food for Pond Gap students and their families.

For more information about how to support the Pellissippi Pantry or the Hardin Valley Campus Garden, contact the Pellissippi State Foundation at or call 865-694-6528. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-694-6400.


Download this news release: PSCC Garden Pantry

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