ARJ Supports Technology Education With Donation

Representatives from Jackson State Community College and ARJ Manufacturing, LLC met Tuesday to commemorate ARJs donation of a robotic weld cell. The informal ceremony took place in the industrial technology lab on the JSCC campus.

Dr. Bruce Blanding presented a plaque to ARJ president, Kimihiko Sumino and plant manager, Pat Regan. Dr. Blanding noted the significance of having the generous support of sponsors such as ARJ and the impact that this will have on the quality of training Jackson State can provide students. ‘This equipment will allow us to provide training that will accurately simulate real-world scenarios,’ Blanding said. ‘The support of ARJ and our other partners has been tremendous.’

ARJ plant manager, Pat Reagan has stated that future of ARJs manufacturing operations depends on the skilled trades and the donation this equipment will help the effort of developing the upcoming generation. ‘The robotic equipment we donated is very common in manufacturing,’ states Reagan, ‘and by this donation we hope to help young students gain a basic understanding of equipment and programming, giving them a head start in the manufacturing industry.’

ARJ is among 17 area manufacturers that currently participate in a consortium with Jackson State Community College to encourage youth to pursue careers in manufacturing technology. All of the consortium partners currently have JSCC students working in their facilities. These students are participating in a unique work-study cooperative that is known as Advanced Maintenance Technician (AMT).

The robot donated by ARJ is a Motoman SSF-2000 that is equipped with a MIG welding torch. The equipment was utilized by ARJ to weld frame subassemblies for the seat components in the Toyota RAV4. The robotic welder will now be utilized to teach students in the industrial maintenance program at JSCC to program and maintain robotic equipment.

ARJ Manufacturing, LLC was built in Jackson, Tenn. in 2001 and is owned by Toyota Boshoku Corporation, the world headquarters is located in Kariya, Japan . TBA was established in 1918 by the founder Sakichi Toyoda who was known as the Thomas Jefferson of Japan. ARJ Manufacturing, LLC stamps & weld seat components for the automotive industry and employs over 300 team members.

Tennessee higher education leaders express support of higher standards for K-12 education

Leaders of all 13 of Tennessees community colleges held a press conference at the state capitol today to emphasize their support for continuing Tennessees commitment to higher K-12 academic standards that prepare students for college study. They were joined by a contingent of representatives from Tennessee public universities, Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology, and the Tennessee Board of Regents, the state university and community college system.

Citing concerns regarding college- and career-preparedness, the group stressed the need for high school graduates to have a strong base of knowledge and skills needed to perform college-level work.

As community college presidents, we want to see every student who arrives on our campuses ready to succeed and thrive in a higher education environment, said Anthony Wise Jr., president of Pellissippi State Community College. Its especially important in light of the new Tennessee Promise program, which is opening the doors to higher education to so many Tennessee students.

More than 58,000 current Tennessee high schools seniors have applied for the Tennessee Promise program, which offers two years of community or technical college tuition-free. Many of those students are expected to enroll this fall in one of Tennessees 13 community colleges or colleges of applied technology across the state. The program is part of Gov. Bill Haslams Drive to 55 initiative, which aspires to raise the percentage of the states population holding some form of higher education credential.

Wise and other presidents cited the need for remedial work by incoming freshman as evidence of the critical need for higher K-12 standards. In the fall of 2014, nearly 70 percent of full-time freshman in Tennessees community colleges required learning support in order to perform college-level work.

Studies have shown that students who require remedial work in college are far less likely to complete their studies and earn a certificate or degree, Wise said. Its vital that students obtain the skills they need to succeed in college before they step on campus and not need to spend valuable time learning material they should have already mastered.

Data from ACT Inc., the college admissions exam nearly every Tennessee high school students takes, backs up Wises statements. According to ACT, only 30 percent of Tennessee seniors in 2014 met benchmarks for college readiness in math. Only 59 percent met the benchmarks in English, and only 19 percent demonstrated college-readiness in all four tested areas, which include science and reading as well. Further analysis by ACT reveals that students with a composite score of 18 or below currently have only a 35 percent chance of completing an associate or bachelors degree within six years.

The presidents urged Tennessee lawmakers to maintain or even further strengthen educational standards to ensure future student success, pointing out that the state had already seen improvement in the four years since the current standards were adopted. Tennessee has been recognized for making the highest gains in the country on math and English scores.

Our students have shown that as our expectations rise, so does their performance. Tennessee must not turn back now and lose our momentum, Wise said. Every student deserves the opportunity to fulfill their promise, and we owe it to them to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to do so.

The higher education leaders concluded their press conference by signing a letter to Education Commissioner Candice McQueen supporting higher standards for college readiness.

We must work harder to close this preparation gap, and we believe continued implementation of higher academic standards are our best hope for accomplishing this, the letter stated. The standards currently in place were developed with college and career readiness as the end goal, and higher education faculty in Tennessee and many other states had a hand in their development. We support Governor Haslams commitment to review the standards and hope that any changes will only further enhance college readiness.

The Tennessee Board of Regents is among the nations largest higher education systems, governing 46 post-secondary educational institutions. The TBR system includes six universities, 13 two-year colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology, providing programs across the state to about 200,000 students.

Humboldt Students Receive Scholarships for Community Involvement

Students at the Jackson State Community College Humboldt campus are well known for their community involvement. The H2O (Humboldt Helping Others) Wellness Club was organized as a way for students to corporately address some of the physical needs and concerns of the community. They routinely help with the collection of food and clothing for civic organizations and other activities such as blood drives and that contribute to the overall well being of the community.

Two Jackson State students attending the Humboldt campus were recently recognized for their community involvement with. Andrea Hickman and Kayla Cook received scholarships from two local civic organizations.

Andrea Hickman received a $750 scholarship from the Humboldt Rotary Club. Andrea is a 1998 graduate of North Side High School in Jackson. She moved to Humboldt in 2004 and has attended JSCC Humboldt since January 2013. She is heavily involved in school activities where she currently serves as President of the H2O Wellness Club for the 2014-15 school year. During her tenure as president, she has led many efforts that have proven to be a great help to the Humboldt community.

When accepting the award from the Rotary Club, Andrea thanked everyone who has contributed to her success in all aspects of her life. I have been very privileged to work with so many different volunteer organizations that have opened many doors for me, Hickman stated. I am also very pleased that I was accepted into the spring 2015 nursing program here at JSCC. I chose to be a nurse because I love helping people.

Kayla Cook was the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from the Humboldt Lions Club. Kayla has been active in the Humboldt community for years. She began her school career at East End Elementary. She was a member of the FFA and softball team at Humboldt High School. She now attends classes at Jackson State Community College Humboldt Campus. I really enjoy being in the atmosphere of the Humboldt Campus, states Kayla. The administrators are very helpful and willing to do any thing at any time to help further your education. Kayla is also involved in the H2O Wellness Club.

Kayla is pursing a degree in General Studies so that she can eventually earn a degree in Dental Hygiene. She works for Dr. David Melton, DDS in Humboldt. She says, Working for Dr. Melton has inspired me to become a hygienist. She is very excited to further her education at Jackson State Community College.

Community service is emphasized and encouraged at Jackson State Community College. As part of the mission at JSCC, service learning combines community service with academic instruction by focusing on: critical thinking and problem solving; values clarification; social and personal development; civic and community responsibility; global, cultural and inter-generational scope. Many students at JSCC are involved in a variety of service-oriented projects throughout the year. While the reason students become involved in community service is not public recognition, its an honor when the communities they serve acknowledge these acts.

Nakutis Assumes Role of Veteran’s Affairs Coordinator at JSCC

Kristine Nakutis was hired January 12, 2015 to serve as Jackson State Community Colleges Veterans Affairs Coordinator. Kris has served as an adjunct at JSCC for the past few years in developmental writing and Philosophy. Kris obtained her B.A. in Political Science from Marist College in New York and her M.A. in Philosophy from University of Massachusetts.

Prior to teaching as an adjunct faculty member at JSCC, Nakutis worked at the Milan Army Ammunition Plant, where she served as the Military Commander. She brings extensive leadership and management skills from her 20 years of various military leadership positions, along with her prior experience in higher education to her new role.

In the U.S. Army, Nakutis attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She held a number of leadership roles while in the military. Several years were spent as an Assistant Professor of English at West Point Military Academy.

When asked about how she viewed the opportunities for her position at JSCC, Nakutis stated that she would work to make certain that the veterans going to school here would be aware of the benefits that are due to them. Many veterans are completely unaware that there is a time limit on their G.I. Bill benefits, Nakutis said. I will make it a priority to communicate with the various military and veterans organizations in West Tennessee to get the word out about how Jackson State can help our veterans and returning personnel be better prepared for the civilian workforce.

Anyone interested in finding out more about veterans benefits at Jackson State Community College should contact Kris Nakutis at (731) 425-2618 or email her at