Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus
For many years, Pellissippi State Community College has measured its economic impact in East Tennessee. Since 1997, the college has contributed an estimated $3.6 billion in economic impact to Knox and Blount counties. Additionally, there have been approximately 122,245 jobs generated over the past 20 years as a result of the college’s presence.
In its most recent economic impact study, Pellissippi State reports a combined economic impact of $1.3 billion for the years from 2012 to 2017, as measured by the value of business volume, jobs and individual income in Knox and Blount counties that is tied to Pellissippi State.
“Since 1974, this college has had an integral place in East Tennessee that is measured not just by economic impact, but by social impact. We at Pellissippi State are devoted to changing the lives of everyone who steps through our doors,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Our greatest impact will always be that made by our students and graduates as they pursue their dreams and give back to our community.”
According to the American Association of Community Colleges, associate degree graduates can expect to earn about $470,800 more over their work lifetime than if they only had a high school diploma. For Pellissippi State’s 1,455 graduates in academic year 2016-2017, this means an additional $685 million in lifetime earnings and $2.8 million in additional annual tax payments that benefit the economy.
The 2012-2017 economic impact report also studied the business volume and individual income impact of Pellissippi State on the local economy:
- $617 million in business volume impact from 2012-2017, $481 million of which came from non-local revenues such as state appropriations, grants, contracts and federal student financial aid revenues
- $649 million in personal income impact over the past five years, including $518 million from new or external funds
Pellissippi State expenditures created and sustained an estimated 42,479 jobs, 32,000 of which were created by external or new funds, from 2012-2017. The college itself employed 2,801 full-time employees during the five-year period.
Of the college’s $1.3 billion in total impact over the past five years, the majority — $999 million — can be attributed to the infusion of new, non-local revenues. Every single dollar of local revenue that comes into Pellissippi State generates an estimated annual return on investment of at least $6.20, comprising $3.02 in local business volume plus at least $3.18 in individual income.
“This total economic and social impact would likely not have occurred without the presence of Pellissippi State in the area,” said educational consultant Fred H. Martin, who conducted the study.
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.
Pellissippi State Community College’s Excellence in Teaching Award winner, Judith Sichler, will speak at the college’s fall commencement ceremony Dec. 15 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Commencement begins at 7 p.m. Approximately 490 students will graduate this fall.
Sichler is the 2017 recipient of the college’s Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognizes innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact a faculty member has had on students. Sichler has integrated unique and interactive learning opportunities into her anthropology classes that aim to increase engagement and inspire students.
Sichler worked as an archaeologist before coming to teach at Pellissippi State in 2010. Today, she teaches cultural anthropology courses and has embedded Service-Learning components into them. She also teaches a cultural anthropology study-abroad course in South Africa.
“The best decision I ever made was to teach full-time,” Sichler said. “My favorite class to teach is cultural anthropology because I ask students to ponder human diversity. I really want them to talk to each other. I want them to debate perceptions and talk about how and why cultures are different, and what the basis for those differences are.”
In Blount County, Thomas and Melody Smith raised two children and emphasized the importance of a college education to them — although they did not have a college degree themselves.
After their children graduated, the opportunity for Thomas or Melody to enroll in college seemed like a pipe dream. They both had jobs, children and then grandchildren, and they had already worked hard to afford college for their children. It seemed that financial and time constraints would always keep them from a college degree.
Then, earlier this year, they began to see billboards for Reconnect Now at Pellissippi State Community College. Thomas and Melody jumped at the chance.
“When we heard about Reconnect Now, I researched it and told my husband that we would be crazy to pass this up,” Melody said. “It’s our chance to better ourselves as people and at our jobs.”
“We could not have afforded college for ourselves without Reconnect Now,” Thomas said.
Reconnect Now is Pellissippi State’s last-dollar scholarship that covers the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for qualified adults for the 2017-18 academic year. Participating, qualified students will roll into Tennessee Reconnect when it launches in fall 2018.
Melody, who is a receptionist at Helen Ross McNabb Center Outpatient Services, is studying Administrative Professional Technology with a Medical Office concentration. Thomas, who works for DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, is studying Engineering Technology with a concentration in Automated Industrial Systems.
“I work at DENSO in manufacturing, and a lot of the stuff they’re doing now I am still training on. There are people on my line who do engineering work, and that’s what I’d like to do. I can learn at Pellissippi the technology skills needed to use these new machines,” Thomas said. “I’ve gone as far as I can without a degree, and I’d like to do something different.
“I wish I had come back to college sooner, though I have had a learning curve when it comes to computers and all of that. The last time I was in school, we had spiral notebooks and pencils. The teachers have been wonderful to answer questions and offer tutoring. It’s been really good,” he added.
“It has been tough sometimes to be back in school after 35 years, but it feels good; it feels like an accomplishment,” Melody said. “I think the first few weeks we were both wondering what we had gotten ourselves into! Now we’re into a routine. We know we can do it.”
Both have learned new computer skills as they progressed through their classes, and have found help through resources like tutoring and mentoring in the Educational Resources Center at Pellissippi State. They have also found support from their son and daughter — and even their grandchildren. The couple, married for 31 years, returned to school at the same time their granddaughters, both six years old, entered kindergarten and first grade.
“They were so nervous to start school, so we were able to tell them that we were starting school, too. The only difference is that we don’t take a big yellow school bus to school,” Melody said. “When they have quizzes the same week I do, they will call to ask me how I did on my test. They ask me how many answers I missed and tell me what they missed. I tell them that we can both study and work harder and do better next time.
“Our children, family and friends are so encouraging. They call to check on us, support us and ask if we need help with homework. They are very proud of us and recognize what a huge step this is for us.”
For Melody and Thomas, Reconnect Now has opened the door to a life they did not think was possible for them, though they spent years ensuring it was available for their children. They do not take the opportunity lightly.
“It feels good to take a chance. We can do this. We’re not going to give up,” Melody said.
For more information about Reconnect Now at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/reconnect or call 865-694-6400.
Enjoy holiday cheer at Pellissippi State Community College’s hugely popular Holiday Spectacular musical concert, offered in two performances, 6 and 8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 7.
The Holiday Spectacular is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances, cultural celebrations, lectures and fine arts exhibits.
For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.