Pellissippi State Community College has received a grant from the Trinity Health Foundation of East Tennessee to study the feasibility of a new program for certified ophthalmic technicians.
The grant, one of 26 the Trinity Health Foundation awarded this year, is for the college’s proposal “New Insight: Seeing a Brighter Future with Ophthalmic Technician Training.” The $15,000 funding was announced at a luncheon for grant recipients June 3.
Pellissippi State will spend the next year exploring the need for both a degree and a certificate program for certified ophthalmic technicians aimed at meeting eye-care needs in rural East Tennessee. COTs work under the supervision of an ophthalmologist, a physician specializing in medical and surgical eye problems, to perform clinical evaluations and office tasks like vision tests and photography.
“With an aging population, it’s anticipated that the demand for accessible eye care will continue to grow, too,” said Lisa Stamm, dean of Nursing at Pellissippi State and the person who will oversee the exploratory study. “If this study demonstrates that there is a significant need in our area for certified ophthalmic technicians, Pellissippi State would seek additional grant funding to get approval for that new program, start the curriculum and equip a training lab.”
Only one other college in Tennessee, Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, offers training in ophthalmic technology.
“Nationally, the need for COTs is expected to grow by 36 percent by the year 2020,” Stamm said. “Creating more ophthalmic technicians will increase access to eye care in East Tennessee.”
The grant study will include employer surveys to local optometrists and ophthalmologists to assess the need for a COT program, as well as visits to other higher education institutions that have similar programs. If the program is deemed needed and is approved, Pellissippi State will work with an advisory board of eye-care professionals to provide input on curriculum, student learning outcomes, and effectiveness of the program.
The $15,000 in funding is a phase-one, exploratory grant from Trinity Health Foundation. Pellissippi State will be eligible to apply for a phase-two, implementation grant, worth $150,000, which could provide enough money to equip a laboratory to train certified ophthalmic technicians.
The grant funds are processed through the Pellissippi State Foundation, which works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call (865) 694-6528. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.
A $10,000 donation to the Pellissippi State Community College Foundation by local affiliates of the National HealthCare Corporation is earmarked for the purchase of state-of-the-art teaching equipment for the college’s Nursing degree program.
The equipment includes a bed with a headwall containing electronic patient monitors and is to be used in the simulation lab at the Strawberry Plains Campus.
The donation was presented to the Pellissippi State Foundation by Ray Blevins, senior regional vice president of the NHC, Eastern Region, June 12. L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president, and Peggy Wilson, executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation and vice president of College Advancement, accepted the check. The Foundation works on the college’s behalf to provide student scholarships and emergency loans, as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment.
“The Nursing department is very grateful for NHC’s support,” said Lisa Stamm, dean of the program at Pellissippi State. “We currently have students completing clinical rotations at NHC Farragut, and we appreciate the many opportunities NHC continues to provide for our students, in addition to this gracious gift.”
The donation was made by NHC Farragut, NHC Fort Sanders, NHC Knoxville, Holston Health and Rehabilitation Center, and NHC Oak Ridge. NHC affiliates operate long-term health-care centers, as well as home-care programs, independent living centers and assisted living communities throughout the country.
Pellissippi State’s Nursing degree program began in 2010 and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Each of the college’s five campuses in Knox and Blount counties offers pre-nursing courses, and the Nursing program is offered at the Blount County, Magnolia Avenue, and Strawberry Plains campuses.
The program runs two years, and students graduate with an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree. They are then prepared to take the national licensure exam to become a registered nurse.
Pellissippi State also offers a fast-track degree option through the Bridge to Registered Nurse program that allows licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and paramedics to enter nursing school following the successful completion of one summer transitional course. The college partners with other schools to offer the RN to BSN path for students interested in going on for a bachelor’s degree.
To find out more about the Pellissippi State Foundation, including opportunities to give, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call (865) 694-6528.
Pellissippi State Community College celebrated its first cohort of students completing an industry-specific workforce development program in late May.
The short-term certificate program was designed for Keurig Green Mountain Inc. employees to train them to install, troubleshoot and maintain industrial electrical systems. The curriculum was built through partnerships between Pellissippi State’s Engineering and Media Technologies department and Business and Community Services division with Keurig Green Mountain’s continuous learning department.
“We are pleased to work with our local employers to provide the training and education their employees need to be successful and productive,” said Teri Brahams, executive director of Economic and Workforce Development. “We can do that by either fully customizing a solution or packaging existing course offerings to accomplish the company’s workforce development needs.”
In this case, 14 Keurig employees earned 10 credits toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Electrical Engineering. The specialized Keurig certificate is based on Pellissippi State’s Electric Systems Technology certificate.
The Pellissippi State program serves as the model for similar partnerships Keurig Green Mountain is launching across the country with other community colleges.
The 14 graduates are Kevin Anderson, Marshall Boyd, Stanley Burgin, Robert Coleman, John Fronczak, Damien Kerr, John LaForge, Tim Mabry, Daniel North, Teddy Phillips, Rodney Reynolds, Josh Sicotte, Stephen Strader and Jeremiah Williams.
To learn more about the college’s workforce training opportunities, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs or call (865) 539-7167. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.
Pellissippi State Community College welcomes adult students to apply for a new, “last-dollar” scholarship to cover mandatory tuition and fees.
The Pellissippi Adult Learner Scholarship is open to adults ages 24 and older. PALS, like Tennessee Promise, is last-dollar, meaning it covers tuition and fees once other financial aid, like grants or other scholarships, has been applied.
“With the implementation of the Tennessee Promise scholarship, students who come to Pellissippi State right out of a Tennessee high school have unprecedented access to affordable higher education,” said Rebecca Ashford, vice president of Student Affairs. “Pellissippi State wants to provide that kind of affordability to adult students. The creation of this scholarship is a step toward meeting that goal.”
The priority deadline to apply for financial aid is July 15. Individuals can apply for PALS online at www.pstcc.edu/adult. They must first complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
In order to qualify for PALS, applicants must meet the age criteria, must be first-time freshmen and must qualify for in-state tuition. Priority will be given to students with an expected family contribution to their college education of $3,800 or less, though other students are welcome to apply.
Students who receive the scholarship must maintain a 2.0 GPA, must submit a degree plan with an advisor, and must enroll in at least 6 credit hours each fall and spring semester. The scholarship doesn’t cover summer semesters.