Northeast State, Eastman named as AACC award finalists

The American Association of Community Colleges has selected Northeast State Community College and Eastman Chemical Company as finalists for the 2013 AACC Award of Excellence in the Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership category.

The award honors collaborations between community colleges and business and industry that have achieved notable, multi-year success in advancing economic prosperity and the learning excellence of students.

The AACC recognized the successful collaboration between Northeast State and Eastman particularly through RCAM.

“This prestigious honor puts Northeast State in the vanguard of community colleges nationwide, distinguishing it as a model of progressive practice and innovation,” said Dr. Warren G. Bumphus, AACC president.

Nomination materials cited several Northeast State/Eastman collaborations including:

• Creation of 10 web-based courses in support of the chemical process operations program. The curriculum was developed using subject matter experts from Eastman who collaborated with a software development team located at Northeast State’s Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing (RCAM).

• Development of scholarships for students majoring in advanced manufacturing fields. Eastman played a vital role in establishing the College’s Workforce Development Scholarship in 2008. The scholarship has awarded funds to more than 380 students majoring in electrical technology, electromechanical technology, machine tool technology, welding/metal fabrication, and chemical process operations. Since the start of the program, 231 students have graduated from Northeast State.

RCAM trains tomorrow's skilled manufacturing workers.
RCAM trains tomorrow’s skilled manufacturing workers.

• Development and construction of the RCAM. In partnership with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development; Eastman, Domtar, the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, the City of Kingsport, and Northeast State formed the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) to established RCAM, a 26,000 square-foot facility that combines classroom, online, and hands-on instruction in advanced manufacturing skill areas. Operating under a shared leadership model between Eastman, Northeast State, and AMP, RCAM opened in fall 2009 with about 150 students and now enrolls over 400.

“Without a doubt, Eastman Chemical is an outstanding corporate partner,” said Dr. Janice Gilliam, Northeast State president. “You will not find a more community oriented corporation than Eastman. We are honored by the AACC’s recognition of our long and successful partnership which has resulted in a variety of training, facilities, and financial aid beneficial to the region’s industries and workforce.”

The AACC will announce five category winners at the organization’s annual convention, which is set April 23 in San Francisco.

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