Issue 575: 5 / 19 / 2015

Southwest Workforce Development Town Hall Meeting

Pictured (L to R) are ...

Pictured (L to R) are Dexter Muller, Sen. Mark Norris, Joann Massey, Sen. Reginald Tate, Naomi Earp and Nathan Essex.

It was Southwest’s first Town Hall Meeting on Workforce Development held May 6 in the Farris Auditorium on the Macon Cove Campus. Wooing the crowd with mention of the Memphis Grizzlies’ previous night win over the Golden State Warriors during the NBA playoffs, Executive Director of Workforce Development Naomi Earp, quickly diverted attention to the Town Hall Meeting agenda. "We are here to talk about the Trade Adjustment Assistant Community College and Career Training or TAACCCT,  for short. TAACCCT is about the good news that we want to share. … IRT is just the beginning. It's just the first step. While we are very proud of IRT, we don't want the community to think it is the be-all and the end-all. TAACCCT is about going the next step," said Earp.

The purpose of the Town Hall Meeting was to discuss how TAACCCT job training initiatives prepare program participants for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations. “TAACCCT grants,” explained Earp, “are capacity-building grants that allow schools like Southwest to buy the kind of equipment that’s incredibly expensive; to hire the kind of instructors that we would normally not be able to reach.”

Kaitlyn Keplinger, of Colonial Middle School, sang Wind Beneath My Wings, followed by Southwest President Nathan L. Essex’s greetings to the local citizens, community leaders, and elected officials in attendance, including State Senators Mark Norris and Reginald Tate, Theresa Hill – representing Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, Bartlett Chamber of Commerce President John Threadgill and Semi-Retired Greater Memphis Chamber Senior Advisor for Community Development Dexter Muller, among others.

In the spirit of what Earp called the “Essence of Essex,” President Essex was presented two awards: one by Southwest IRT Program Manager Kim Barnett in honor of his efforts toward the successful completion of 1,058 IRT graduates; the other by Muller who outlined three significant statistics regarding workforce development in the Mid-South; namely, there are 1) 16, 300 vacant jobs in the city of Memphis today, 2) 40,000 people are unemployed, and 3) 196,779 people living in poverty in the Memphis Metro Area – “That’s more than the entire city of Chattanooga,” Muller stated. “Nate has set the stage to change the lives of those 40,000 people,” said Muller in his recognition of Essex’s leadership of Southwest (impacting public and private sectors) and his collaborative efforts with Mid-South Community College, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, University of Memphis, and Shelby County Schools.

Interim Provost Barbara Roseborough gave an overview of the college and its services, after which the TAACCCT grant team: Ron Wells, Continuing Education (CE) director; Amy Shead, CE director for IRT; Dr. Bob Hoguet, Dept. of Labor Advanced Mfg., Mech. and Quality Consortium Grant coordinator; Joann Massey, coordinator for the Transportation and Logistics Grant; and Dr. Antonio Jennings, coordinator for the Workforce Solutions Grant.

The Town Hall Meeting concluded with members of the audience, representing various community-based organizations and government agencies, i.e., Roderick DeBerry, manager, PILOT/Economic Development for the Shelby County Trustee's Office, participating in the question and answer session.

View the Town Hall Photo Gallery

Southwest to Present an Original One Man Play as a Part of the Memphis in May Celebrations

Our Freedom and Yours, written by Southwest Associate Professor of Communications, Graphics and Fine Arts Levi Frazier Jr., is a moving play based on the life of Ira Frederick Aldridge (July 24, 1807 – August 7, 1867), an American and later British stage actor who made his career largely on the London stage and in Europe, especially in Shakespearean roles. The show is a part of the Memphis in May celebration and will be performed in the Southwest Theatre on the Union Avenue Campus on May 27- 29.

Our Freedom and Yours takes place in Lodz, Poland, the night before Aldridge’s last performance was to take place. The title of the play is based off a famous mantra of patriotism in Poland. Aldridge is the only actor of African-American descent among the 33 actors of the English stage honored with bronze plaques at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon.

The actor portraying Aldridge is Delvyn Brown, who has performed at Hattiloo Theatre, Playhouse on the Square, Theatre Memphis, and the Evergreen Theatre. He has also performed outside of Memphis in Atlanta. Brown is the recipient of a 2013 Ostrander Award (Memphis's equivalent of the Tony's).

Southwest Associate Professor of Communications, Graphic and Fine Arts Evelyn Little is the director and Adjunct Instructor Sheila Darras is the set designer and technical director.

Our Freedom and Yours

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Southwest ITS Division Launches New and Redesigned Website

By Joshua Conway
Director of Client Services

Southwest's Information Technology Services (ITS) department is excited to announce the launch of the all new and redesigned Information Technology Services website.

You can view the website at

According to Brian Stuckey, member of the ITS web development team, “We have taken the time to develop and prepare a site that implements significant changes that provide a streamlined and enhanced experience.”

Michael Boyd, executive director of ITS, states “Our redesign greets you with a rotating selection of new and intriguing ITS Initiatives, a crisp and cleanly designed Interface, and a Service List that gives you direct access to your needs. This site will be your centralized location for all of the services ITS offers.“

The website has been specifically designed to be a hub that eliminates the need to search multiple pages and locations when you are looking for a specific service. You will find these offerings and more:   

Over time, ITS will be incorporating even more features to further enhance your experience while using the site. We are confident that you will be delighted with the new website. ITS and Communications and Marketing have worked very hard to provide you with a site that blends form and function with a fresh new experience that aims not only to inform you, but to also teach you new skills.

If you have any feedback or suggestions for the new site, please contact us at

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Business and Criminal Justice Holds Advisory Committee Meeting

Dean of Instruction Mike Stephens welcomed attendees to the Business and Criminal Justice Advisory Meeting convened by Committee Chair and Associate Professor for Business and Legal Studies Sindy Abadie on April 17. Stephens highlighted the importance of the Advisory Board to the programs at Southwest and ultimately to student success.

He explained the Tennessee Promise Scholarship and provided details regarding the search and selection for a new president for the college. He also discussed the Business and Workforce Development Grant, explaining the importance that the Workforce Development Program plays in the local economy and informed the assembly that the College will be adding a new Business and Industry Training Center on the Macon Cove Campus.

Presentations were made by the following:

Director of Career Services Brenda Williams - discussed the services that Career Services offers to the business community. She mentioned the career fairs held during that week and explained the employee search options available through Southwest. Williams also discussed internship programs, urging all board members to consider offering internships.

Business Department Chair Wesly Fox -  introduced himself to the group and conveyed the importance of creating partnerships with the Advisory Board and asked the members to consider internship opportunities for Southwest students. Fox highlighted a partnership the Business Department has with the Memphis Business Journal. He also recognized Adjunct Instructor Roy Evans for serving the community by teaching at the prison.

Business Program Coordinator Ashley Geisewite - informed the assembly about the Fast Track Management, A.A.S. Degree program. She explained that a new cohort was starting up in the 2015 fall semester and announced that the Business program had added three new courses: BUSN 1320-Business Calculations, BUSN 1330- Entrepreneurship, and BUSN 1360- Applications for Business.

Criminal Justice Program Coordinator Eddie Baker - discussed activities for the 2014-15 Academic year, including a dinner held in conjunction with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department that included the presentation topic, “Active Shooter,” among others. He indicated that the Criminal Justice Club has provided additional learning and networking opportunities for students. As well, JSI, Inc., a non-profit corporation, will hold a 2015 summer camp in which the Criminal Justice program will be offering up to four dual-enrollment courses to qualified high school students. Baker also discussed the new layout for the A.A.S. Criminal Justice degree.

Advisory Board members convened into breakout sessions to complete and discuss the surveys given to them upon arrival. Abadie directed the members to the new course information included in their survey packet, explained the importance of Student Learning Outcomes, and asked that the board review these outcomes and vote for approval or make recommendations.

Abadie adjourned the meeting following the completion of the surveys.

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Unistar-Sparco Computers, Inc. Named Tennessee 2015 8(a) Small Business of the Year

Soo-Tsong Lim

Soo-Tsong Lim

Some of the members of ...

Some of the members of the Unistar-Sparco team.

Unistar-Sparco Computers, Inc. is excited to announce it was selected as the Tennessee 2015 8(a) Small Business of the Year by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). With over 566,000 small businesses across the State of Tennessee, the company was given this award for its hard work, innovative ideas, and dedication to its community. Nominated by the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at Southwest Tennessee Community College, the SBA recognized the company’s achievements and role in driving the economic growth in the Volunteer State. Rory Thomas, executive director of the TSBDC, shared with Unistar-Sparco Computers, Inc., “Well deserved award! …glad the great work that you all do is being recognized!”

Upon receiving this accolade, Soo-Tsong Lim, president of Unistar-Sparco Computers, Inc., humbly stated, “This is quite an honor! I would like to thank the Unistar-Sparco team for their hard work and dedication. Such an award would not be possible without the efforts made by each of our team members. When we work together, we achieve great things.”

About Unistar-Sparco Computers, Inc.

An ISO/IEC 20000-1:2011 certified company, Unistar-Sparco Computers, Inc. is a dynamic IT solution provider devoted to the highest level of excellence. In an effort to be one of the top, most trusted and recognized providers, Unistar-Sparco Computers is committed to empowering the world to achieve more with less and will not stop until the customer is happy. An offering of cutting-edge technologies combined with outstanding customer support and great value ensures that customers' requirements are not merely met, but rather are exceeded. With more than 22 years of experience and exponential success, Unistar-Sparco Computers is a thriving organization that satisfies the ever-changing IT needs of the public sector, education, and commercial customers worldwide.

For more information, visit or call toll-free at 1.800.840.8400.

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Burroughs-Cook, McKinnie and Nelson Sign With Four-Year Universities

Southwest sophomore basketball players Jonathan Burroughs-Cook, DeAndre McKinnie and Dominic Nelson have signed National Letters of Intent to continue their education and basketball careers at four-year universities.

Burroughs-Cook, a guard from Ridgeway High School, who transferred to Southwest after playing his freshman season at the College of Charleston, signed with the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Burroughs-Cook was the Saluqis' second leading scorer with a 13.5 average, and was selected first team All-TCCAA.

McKinnie, a guard from Bolivar, Tennessee, signed with the University of North Alabama. McKinnie was the top scorer off the bench this season with an 11.4 average and led the team with 39.5 percent three-point shooting.

Nelson, a center from Harlem, New York, signed with Southeastern Louisiana University. After starting part-time as a freshman, Nelson was a post presence off the bench as a sophomore, and led the team with 1.7 blocked shots per game.

They join previously signed sophomores Rasheed Brooks (University of Mississippi) and Lavontae Waldon (Alabama State University).

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