Issue 311: 9 / 21 / 2009
Local citizens from Somerville, Tennessee, elected officials, and governmental agencies from Middle and West Tennessee came on September 16 to support the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Workforce Investment Network (WIN)/Southwest Tennessee Community College office. The new shared facility, located at 116 West Market Street in the town square of Somerville, sits just across the street from the Tennessee Career Center-Fayette County Affiliate Site, which also houses classes for Southwest Tennessee Community College.
The impetus behind opening the new WIN office was the need for expanded services to meet the growing demand for jobs, job training skills and education, in order to stimulate the economy in Fayette County. Also to help meet these demands, the program director's position for the Tennessee Career Center-Fayette County Affiliate Site, held by Molly McCarley, has been increased from part- to full-time. "I will be working with many service providers to assist our clients in upgrading their skills for the workforce. The partnership with Southwest will enable us to move forward to provide greater educational opportunities for the citizens in Fayette County," said McCarley.
Russell C. Shelton, executive director of community and corporate relations for Southwest, has office space in the WIN/Southwest office. Shelton was assigned to head an initiative to build a Southwest Tennessee Community College Center in Fayette County in order to make higher education more accessible for the local citizens. An educational consortium was developed to promote the construction of the center. Shelton says the primary members of the consortium are Southwest, the University of Tennessee at Martin, The University of Memphis, the Tennessee Technology Center at Whiteville and local public and private school systems, along with county and city officials, State Senator Dolores Gresham and State Representative Barrett Rich.
In his greetings during the ribbon cutting ceremony, Southwest President Nathan Essex stressed the importance of building a center in Fayette County. "This is going to be a powerful tool to attract industry, raise educational levels, and to create a better quality of life for citizens here," said Essex.
Currently, the residents of Fayette County have to drive to either Memphis or Jackson, Tennessee, to get a postsecondary degree said Representative Rich, who expressed support for building a Southwest Center in Fayette County. "One thing I am so excited about is all of you coming here today and gathering the steam and the momentum for us to have a college campus right here in Fayette County to give residents of Fayette and surrounding counties the opportunity to get an education right here. It is exciting for me and I promise you this: that it is an initiative of mine and Senator Gresham to go to Nashville and fight for funding for this campus," announced Rich.
State Senator Gresham, chair of the Senate Education Committee declared, "I can tell you, as chairman of the senate education committee, that this is an extremely important move not only for this local area but for the state of Tennessee."
Fayette County Mayor Rhea "Skip" Taylor commented on benefits a Southwest Center would have for the citizens in Fayette County regarding jobs and the growth of their economy. "The Southwest Center by itself would be a magnet for all sorts of jobs in the county; we already have several ventures going on with this railroad project in Piperton and the industrial mega site. With Memphis coming out, this would be just one more gem we can offer folks, employers and residents as a benefit and as a service."
Shelton said progress is being made toward getting a center constructed. He is optimistic that an announcement will be made before October regarding a feasibility study. "We have received an offer of land; however the feasibility study will assist in determining the best location for the campus site. This may require the purchase of land."
The cost, Shelton said, may vary, depending on the construction start date. "We anticipate building a 20,000 to 25,000-square-foot facility. Again, the feasibility study will assist in determining the cost," said Shelton. He said the consortium is currently working with USDA rural development primarily to help fund the project. "Once the feasibility study is completed, we will start a fund-raising campaign that will include grants, corporate and individual donations," Shelton stated. There is no projected completion date at this time.
View Ribbon Cutting Ceremony photo gallery.
Reprinted from the Commercial Appeal
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
By Juanita Cousins
Larry Jackson doesn't want to wait eight years to become a doctor. He needs money now to pay for his education and support his family.
"I want a career that I can obtain quickly and allows me to practice in the medical field," said Jackson, 26. "Being a paramedic, you get to see the immediate effects of what you are doing."
Associate professor Gerald Foon (left) demonstrates life-saving techniques on a simulator dummy for students in the paramedics program at Southwest Tennessee Community College. A record 65 students are enrolled in the program.
Jackson completed a fast-track emergency medical training program at Southwest Tennessee Community College during the summer and has taken a year off from studying biochemistry at the University of Memphis to become a certified paramedic through Southwest.
Enrollment in the college's paramedics program is the largest since its inception 35 years ago, said Glenn Faught, director of emergency medical technology programs.
This fall's class of 65 students is more than double the enrollment five years ago. Last fall, the program accepted 40 of 90 applicants.
Students can become certified paramedics in as little as one year, completing 500 hours of field training on real-life patients, said Allied Health Department chairman Dr. Darius Wilson.
Most students work already in the medical and first-responder professions and balance their full-time jobs with 16 hours of paramedics class a week. Firefighters, who must have paramedic certification within three years of employment with Memphis Fire Department, make up about half of students.
Their classroom, on Southwest's Union Avenue campus, is crowded with plastic body parts, a built-in ambulance and life-like mannequins that speak and have a pulse.
Students use the aids in simulated emergencies. By spring, they are expected to have enough classroom experience to work on real trauma victims.
Evan Motely, a 24-year-old EMT with the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency, said he became interested in Southwest's program when paramedics responded to a car accident that left his leg broken.
"After they gave me a pain reliever, I was in the ambulance looking at these guys the same age as me, and I was like, 'How do I get your job?'"
Applicants for Southwest's program must have an EMT Tennessee license, complete an anatomy course and pass seven hours of testing in EMT knowledge, basic reading and arithmetic. Each then has a 15-minute interview before a board of doctors, nurses, firefighters and paramedics.
A record number of 135 people applied for the program in August. Only 85 qualified for the interview.
Southwest paramedic graduates have a 95 percent placement rate and the majority find work in Shelby County.
"It's something that the person who gets into this field obviously cares about their fellow man and has a tremendous amount of compassion," said associate professor Gerald Foon. "They are the unsung heroes of the medical profession."
Southwest held its Annual Fall Welcome Back Bash and Career Fair recently on the Union Avenue and Macon Cove campuses. Though the economy is struggling, employers from different segments of the business community were recruiting.
Among them was FedEx Ground, a subsidiary of the FedEx Corporation. Queen N. Foster, hub recruiter for the FedEx Ground-Mississippi Valley HR Area, indicated that, although their parent company experienced some layoffs earlier, they are still growing. "No, the layoffs did not include FedEx Ground at all; we are one of the subsidiaries of the FedEx Corporation that is still growing," said Foster. According to Foster, the company’s volume is slowly picking up but not compared to what it used to be. "Our hiring needs vary and there is really no specific number. Basically, for every package handler who quits or is terminated, we have to replace them immediately."
Also on hand was the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce which recently launched the OppCity.com website, a joint venture between the chamber and the Gentry Development Group (an HR search firm), funded by Brother Industries in Bartlett. "Southwest supports OppCity.com, an online employment and education initiative that connects job seekers and businesses in the Memphis metropolitan area," said Brenda Williams, director of career services for Southwest. Consultants for the Bartlett Area Chamber attended the Macon Cove Campus Career Fair in order to introduce the OppCity.com website to Southwest students.
The Flinn Broadcasting Corporation was recruiting for an account executive. Keith Parnell, continuity director/compliance officer for Flinn, said they fill openings as they become available. "We are not currently creating new positions as we have in the past. We do, however, like to have up-to-date resumes and applications on file so that we can fill future openings if they come about," said Parnell.
The effects of the economy were evident by the number of recruiters who participated in the career fair this year. About half of the number of venders as in previous years participated, but Williams remains optimistic. "On the positive side, if not all, most of the employers who did attend the Career Fairs are currently hiring, one of them exclusively from Southwest," she stated.
Southwest's Career Services Department provides comprehensive career-related services to students, graduates, and alumni in addition to area employers.
The Constitution of the United States was signed on September 17, 1787, and that date was established officially as Constitution Day by the U.S. Senate in 2004, amending a previous designation of the date as Citizenship Day. By law, all publicly funded educational institutions now observe the day with educational programming on the history of the American Constitution. At Southwest, the nature of the celebrations is guided by the imagination of students, staff and faculty, and includes a variety of activities.
Students, staff and faculty recently gathered at all Southwest locations to commemorate the day with the screening of a video portraying the work of the 39 statesmen – two of whom later became U.S. presidents – who, according to the Charters of Freedom - Constitution of the United States Web site, created and signed a document that was to become a prototype for practically every democracy thereafter created. All later Constitutions show its influence; it has been copied extensively throughout the world. Following the screening, those attending were presented flag lapel pins and enjoyed refreshments.
The video outlined the ways in which its designers arrived at its various articles, including those most familiar to us today: the number of chambers, the responsibilities and duties of each, and how senators and representatives, judges and presidents were to be chosen. Serious conflicts arose from the outset of the Constitutional Convention, especially between those representing the small and large states, and so, the Constitution, a work of many minds, stands as a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise.
For interesting sidelights on the creation of the Constitution, go to; http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_q_and_a.html
View photo gallery of Southwest Constitution Day activities.
"We got off to a good start last week with our Common Ground sessions," says Gill Center Director Patsy Anderson. "But due to some confusion about sign-up information, we are holding registration open for a new session to begin October 12."
The additional late fall session will meet Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. through November 30. As with all Common Ground sessions, it is free to all, with friends, family and community participation welcome. Register by visiting the Common Ground Web site; or stop by the Gill Center and pick up a registration form. The deadline to register is October 2. For additional information, contact Mary Park at (901) 333-5307 or Shannon Little at (901) 333-5628.
Common Ground is a forum for discussion of ideas for development and implementation of specific recommendations on how to improve community race relations. Sessions originally scheduled will continue on Tuesdays through November 3, except during fall break. The new group session will continue through November 30, with the exception of fall break dates, October 19 and 20.
Southwest's English Department sponsored a Writing Center Workshop for English and developmental studies faculty September 11 in the Macon Cove Campus Library Auditorium. Brenda Robertson, the director of the University Writing Center at the University of Mississippi, was the presenter.
Knowing the faculty's interest in the process of establishing a writing center, Robertson designed the workshop to answer community college issues. These included topics such as open enrollment, the non-traditional student, English as a Second Language, peer tutors vs. faculty tutors, funding, and the community's needs.
Memorials have been established in memory of the following by Southwest Tennessee Community College faculty and staff, with contributions received through the Southwest Foundation:
- Ms. Addie Jefferson, mother of Ms. Trena Jefferson Hall – Gill Center Library
- Mr. Andre Turner, brother of Ms. Brenda Townsend and Mr. Michael Townsend and brother-in-law of Mr. Vincent Eason – Maxine A. Smith Center Library
The Southwest Saluqis Men's Basketball Team participated in the 2009 First Annual Memphis Grizzlies Coaches Clinic on September 12. The clinic was open to middle and high school basketball coaches, and was a new initiative by the Grizzlies. Our players were asked to be the "demonstration" team for drills.
Southwest Head Basketball Coach and Athletic Director, Verties Sails Jr. was asked to participate in this clinic and give his tips on full-court defense. In addition to Coach Sails, the other facilitating coaches included: Lionel Hollins, Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach; Josh Pastner, University of Memphis Head Coach; Melissa McFerrin, University of Memphis Lady Tigers Head Coach; Ben Jobe, formerly of Southern University; and Barry Hecker, Grizzlies Assistant Coach.
Coach Sails stated this was a great experience for his team. This is a new team for the 2009-2010 season with only one player returning from last year. When asked if he learned anything special, Coach Sails responded, "It was an affirmation of what we have been doing. The same drills that are being taught at the college and professional level are the same drills we have been doing for years."
Team members executed brief drills presented by several coaches. Power forward and center Nicholas Livisay said, "Fundamentals are important, ball handling is important, and there are no shortcuts." His most difficult drill was 2-ball dribbling, and his favorite presenter was Ben Jobe, because it was fun running lanes. The team members were exposed to techniques in passing, running, and maximizing ball handling to produce points. Not only did they learn skills from coaches, but the team was more than excited to be playing in an NBA-level facility in the Grizzlies Practice Facility at the FedEx Forum.
See more photos in gallery.