BLOUNTVILLE – Renovation efforts are continuing for a downtown Kingsport facility to house Northeast State Community College’s Auto Body Certificate and General Technology Associate Degree programs.
As envisioned, the auto body technology program will instruct students on how to repair and rebuild auto bodies involved in accidents and collisions. Students will receive state-of-the-art training in areas such as welding, metal fabrication, refinishing, auto painting, and repair estimation.
The facility is the former Free Service Tire Company building located on Center Street in Kingsport. Northeast State Foundation purchased the building with a $400,000 donation from Kingsport businessman Pal Barger. The facility will be known as the Pal Barger Regional Center for Automotive Programs.
The Foundation recently initiated a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment and that report is currently under review. Northeast State has purchased more than $300,000 in state-of-the-art equipment to refurbish the facility and envisions starting classes in fall 2011.
The auto body program was approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents in July 2010 and the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools gave approval in December 2010. The U.S. Department of Education recently approved eligibility of federal financial aid for students.
Potential students interested in admission to the Auto Body Technology certificate and the General Technology degree may contact the Office of Admissions and Records at 800.836.7822 or e-mail admissions@NortheastState.edu.
Closing the completion gap and meeting Tennessee's workforce demands
By Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan
The most important contribution we can make for the benefit of all Tennesseans is to champion our students' success.
The Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010 has set the stage for the Tennessee Board of Regents to advance public higher education in Tennessee. The act has attracted national attention as a catalyst for transformational change, and the Tennessee Board of Regents is poised to lead the nation's college completion agenda.
The TBR is uniquely charged with educating and training the workforce and future leaders of our state and nation. Some 46 campuses, more than 200,000 students, and 15,500 full-time employees comprise the TBR. Our institutions are located in almost every county in Tennessee, offering a variety of degrees and services and providing credentials to more than 22,000 Tennesseans each year.
The state of Tennessee has clearly defined the role public higher education should play in fulfilling the state's public agenda. The charge is clear, and the TBR is prepared to meet those expectations.
Already, we have worked with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to develop a funding model based on student outcomes, developed campus graduation plans with bold degree targets for every college and university, and redesigned developmental and remedial education programs.
We are in the process of creating straightforward pathways that allow students to easily transfer and progress from the technology centers to the community colleges, and from community colleges to universities. We are creating a comprehensive statewide community college system to coordinate programs and services. Our universities are becoming more mission-specific and developing campus plans to increase retention and graduation.
We recognize not every student plans to attend a college or university, but those who do should have the access and support to be successful. Those who don't should have equal access to quality job skills training.
TBR institutions serve all those needs by offering high school students dual-enrollment and dual-credit programs to pave their way for skills training and/or college-level work. We provide a variety of options ranging from four-month job skills training certificates to four-year college degrees and beyond. We offer programs encouraging adults with some post-secondary education to complete their degrees, and for displaced adults who want to enhance their skills to prepare for a new career.
Our campuses are also developing partnership programs with employers ranging from small local industries to large corporations (like Volkswagen, Wacker and Hemlock) to prepare our citizens for the kind and variety of jobs that are needed now and in the future.
To meet immediate workforce needs, our 27 Tennessee Technology Centers have become a national model for student success and labor demands. With a 75 percent completion rate and 83 percent placement rate, TTC students enter the workforce quickly with the preparation employers need – often at salaries above entry levels. Those success rates are most remarkable when we consider that 45 percent of TTC students report annual household incomes less than $12,000, and 70 percent less than $24,000.
The TTCs provide accredited, hands-on technical training and skills development in a variety of fields depending on the workforce needs of the state and communities. Programs vary from four to 22 months and enable students to enter high-skill and high-wage jobs like computer information technology, welding, precision machining, and nursing.
Today's economy demands a workforce with enhanced skills and education beyond high school. As more of our state's citizens strive to increase their training, heighten their abilities and sharpen their knowledge, the Tennessee Board of Regents is answering the call.
John Morgan was elected the seventh chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents last fall after serving as Deputy to the Governor and having served the State of Tennessee in a variety of roles for more than 30 years, including a 10-year stint as Comptroller of the Treasury. This op/ed appeared in the April 6, 2011 edition of The Tennessean.
The Wizard of Oz production lands at Northeast State
Grab those ruby slippers and get your tickets now to see The Wizard of Oz on stage in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts at Northeast State Community College April 7-10!
Directed by Elizabeth M. Sloan, the musical version of Oz brings Dorothy Gale, the Wicked Witch, Toto, and the Wizard himself to life. Stepping into the iconic role of Dorothy is Shelby Cade, who fully understands how big those ruby slippers are to wear.
The Lion (Charlie Schill), Dorothy (Shelby Cade), Scarecrow (Tyler Alley), and Tin Man (Joshua O'Bryan) make their way to the Emerald City.
"This is a role I wanted to play since I was three years old," says Cade who graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi last year with a bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance. "It is a little nerve-wracking only because there is so much expectation."
A seasoned performer, she has played leading roles in The Importance of Being Earnest, Noises Off, Doubt, A Parable, and Crimes of the Heart. Shelby also performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as part of the Irene Ryan Acting Competition.
The story follows much of the movie and Baum's traditional story about Kansas, the tornado, and Dorothy's fateful trip over the rainbow where she meets a slew of colorful characters and snags a snazzy pair of ruby slippers. When not fighting off the Wicked Witch of the East (Dani Trinkle), Dorothy befriends the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion all of whom join her quest to the Emerald City hoping their own wishes might be granted by the Wizard of Oz (Derek Smithpeters).
In addition to Sloan's direction, Oz includes singing and dancing into the production. Northeast State music instructor Tawana Teague heads up the musical numbers while fellow Humanities faculty member Louise Dickson brings her wealth of dance experience as the play's choreographer.
Joining Cade to form the yellow-brick-road-traveling quartet are actors Tyler Alley (Hunk and Scarecrow), Charlie Schill (Zeke and the Lion) and Joshua O'Bryan (Hickory and the Tin Man).
Alley is a Theatre major at Northeast State who performed in College's production of Dracula last fall. Needless to say winning the Scarecrow role marks the highlight of his career thus far.
"When I found out I got the role I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest," he says. "I got into character as much as possible because I want this to be my career."
O'Bryan is also earning a degree in Theatre from Northeast State. His theatrical roles include productions of Chess, Godspell, and The Sound of Music. He drew inspiration from Baum's book about Hickory's unrequited love for a woman in Kansas as a metaphor of the Tin Man's longing for a heart.
"I didn't care what part I got, I just wanted to work with Elizabeth and to learn," says O'Bryan, who earned an internship this summer with the illustrious Barter Theater. "Having a deep understanding with both characters in Oz and Kansas makes you work harder as an actor but also expands your abilities so much."
Schill, a one-time engineering student and now theatre major at East Tennessee State University, has performed in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Come Rain or Come Shine, and Lysistrata. He tackled the demanding dual roles in Oz while picking up a few singing tips and dancing steps well.
"It has really opened my eyes to think, 'Yes, I can do this,'" says Schill. "Every actor makes his or her role their own; it is about putting all the components together."
The Wizard of Oz ranks as one of the largest and most elaborate productions ever staged at Northeast State. Sloan directs both flying monkeys and a crew of Munchkins, many of whom are first-time kid actors making their stage debut. The production's award-winning technical director, and Northeast State alumnus, Brad McKenzie – and Cade's fiancée – oversees the production's visual aesthetic.
"The elements of this production have pushed all of us to bring our collaborative creativity to the table. We have all learned so much," said Sloan, who took the reins of Northeast State Theatre in 2009.
Actors often note Sloan's credentials as a performer and teacher as a driving force in attending Northeast State's theatre program. She performed in more than 30 productions as a member of the Barter Theatre's Equity Acting Company. She is a current member of the Actor's Equity Association and East Tennessee Repertory Theatre.
Cast and crew members for Oz number more than 70 people. Perhaps Schill best summed up the merry old Land of Oz experience best when describing the production and how his colleagues felt about theatre.
"It is so wonderful to be able to work with people who put their heart and soul into it," he says. "If you are not shooting for the stars, what are you doing with your life?"
Northeast State Theatre's production of The Wizard of Oz runs April 7-9 at 7:30 p.m. and April 9-10 at 2:00 p.m. in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts.
Tickets are $10 general admission, $8 for students and seniors, $6 for children under 12. Northeast State students with valid student identification get one free ticket. Tickets can be purchased online now at www.northeaststate.edu. For more information, contact Northeast State Theatre via e-mail at emsloan@NortheastState.edu.