MTSU and Walters State Community College are partnering to help fill a rising demand for concrete industry professionals among large-scale construction projects nationwide.
Students can enroll this fall to begin earning the associate degree portion of a Concrete Industry Management program at Walters State in Morristown, Tennessee, and transfer to MTSU to complete a bachelor’s degree.
“The concrete industry has supported the CIM program at MTSU for 20 years with time, talent and treasure,” said Dr. Heather Brown, MTSU Concrete Industry Management chair.
“They recognize the need to have community college partnerships to continue to attract passionate people to enter their business.
“The industry continues to fund transfer majors with a one-year scholarship of $2000 to help make the transition to MTSU a little easier,” Brown added. “We then help to make the career connection with graduates and employers all over the Southeast.”
MTSU concrete officials already are discussing an identical partnership with Roane State Community College, said Niclole Green, marketing and recruiting coordinator for the MTSU concrete program.
Walters State is the only Tennessee Board of Regents community college offering an Associate of Applied Science degree in concrete technology.
The two-year portion of the Walters State program uses MTSU’s curriculum, syllabus, books and other materials, said Tom Sewell, dean of Walters State’s Division of Technical Education.
“They can complete the associate degree with us, then go to Murfreesboro and put in another two years,” Sewell said.
Students working at the associate degree level can expect to be more on the production side of the business, Sewell said, adding that most jobs require concrete workers to relocate as projects are completed.
“These jobs are mostly centered in larger cities,” he said, “but even Knoxville has a lot of large construction projects with improvements at the University of Tennessee to the stadium, dorms and other structures.”
The Walters State program should initially attract between 10 and 20 students, Sewell said. He added that even if it draws 50 students in the first years, “we will have the space and the instructors we need.”
Bachelor’s degrees in the MTSU Concrete Industry Management Program have concentrations in concrete contracting or production, sales and service.
Graduates can pursue careers in an array of construction and building fields as well as manufacturing, marketing, planning, production management, purchasing management, quality control and technical sales.
Jobs also are available with concrete ready mix producers and companies that make concrete products. Sewell said the industry is constantly expanding and adding innovative building techniques using concrete.
The Walters State Concrete Technology Program offers a two-year technical education in concrete that allows students to continue takingds additional concrete, business and communications courses at MTSU to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Since MTSU pioneered the four-year program in 1996, it has been added at New Jersey Institute of Technology, California State University-Chico and Texas State University. Because the program’s availability is limited, qualifying out-of-state students can enroll at MTSU on an in-state tuition basis.
MTSU also offers an MBA degree in Concrete Industry Management for students with five years of work experience.
MTSU and Walters State had already announced a dual enrollment agreement last October. The pact allows Walters State students to interact with MTSU advisers and access faculty and programs with their areas of study.
Those completing an associate degree at Walters State can register early for MTSU classes. Students completing MTSU courses can transfer those credits back to Walters State to help meet associate degree requirements.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)