Clayton, Clayton Foundation each donate $250,000 to Pellissippi State Community College for Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center

Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. (center) accepts donations from Clayton Director of Philanthropy Susan Brown (left) and Clayton Foundation Managing Director Michell Clayton for the new Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center on the Friendsville Campus. The check presentation was Aug. 7 at Clayton’s home office in Maryville.

With another $500,000 in contributions from local supporters of Pellissippi State Community College, a new workforce development center is nearing it funding goal.

Last week, Clayton and the Clayton Foundation each pledged $250,000 toward the $16.5 million Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center on the college’s Blount County campus.

The Wests donated $1 million toward the project, but details of other naming recognition for donors has not been finalized, according to the college.

The Clayton donations bring to $9.26 million the amount raised toward a $10 million fundraising goal called the Campaign for Pellissippi State Community College, to support the workforce center in Friendsville and a $27 million science and math building on the Hardin Valley campus in Knoxville, as well as other programs.

Most of the funding for the buildings is being provided by the state.

Clayton Foundation Managing Director Michell Clayton and Clayton Director of Philanthropy Susan Brown presented Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. with the donation commitments on Aug. 7 at the business’s home office in Maryville.

“These gifts are a continuation of a long partnership with Clayton and the Clayton Foundation to educate Blount County students and prepare them to enter the local workforce with the skills they need to create a bright future for themselves and their families, right here in Blount County,” Wise said in a news release announcing the donations.

Opening fall 2021

Denark Construction expects to break ground this winter on the 53,000-square-foot workforce development center being designed by BarberMcMurry Architects.

Pellissippi State’s part of the new building is expected to house a Smart Factory MegaLab to train workers for the next wave of the industrial revolution, with high-tech systems.

Classes will include computer information technology, electrical and mechanical engineering technology, as well as culinary arts.

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology also will offer such classes as industrial electrical maintenance and welding, machine tool technology and pipe fitting.

“The workforce development center represents a unique, integrated approach to workforce development with a K-12 partnership, offering dual enrollment classes for high school students, focusing on high-demand career skills; a TCAT partnership, which will give that college its first footprint in Blount County; and industry partnerships developed to meet local demands, including a new corporate training center that will give local companies extra space and opportunity to train their employees at Pellissippi State,” Wise said. “This effort supports great jobs and successful careers for our children and grandchildren right here at home in Blount County.”

Clayton’s first major gift to the college was $200,000, pledged in 2008 to support the Blount County campus.

The Clayton Foundation has supported Pellissippi State since 1990 and in 2008 gave $800,000 to support the Blount County campus and the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley campus.

For more information on the building or to make a donation in support of the project, visit state/workforce.

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