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TN Colleges Offer Concrete Degrees

Monday, April 4, 2016

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Aspiring concrete industry professionals pursuing an education can now learn the craft via a new partnership between two Tennessee colleges.

Starting in the fall of 2016, students can start earning the associate degree portion of a Concrete Industry Management program at Walters State Community College, and then transfer to Middle Tennessee State University to complete a bachelor’s degree, the schools said in their respective statements.

Dr. Heather Brown, president of MTSU in Murfreesboro, said the program was developed in reaction to the concrete industry’s need for educated professionals to work on large-scale construction projects.

concrete industry management class
Concrete Industry Management Program / MTSU

Starting this fall, students can earn the associate degree portion of a Concrete Industry Management program at Walters State Community College, and then transfer to Middle Tennessee State University to complete a bachelor’s degree in the program.

Qualified students are eligible for one-year scholarships of $2,000 funded by concrete industry companies “to help make the transition to MTSU a little easier,” Brown said.

The school then helps to connected graduates with employers throughout the Southeast, she added.

“The concrete industry has supported the CIM program at MTSU for 20 years with time, talent and treasure,” Brown said. “They recognize the need to have community college partnerships to continue to attract passionate people to enter their business.”

Associate Program

Walters State in Morristown is the only community college in the state to offer an Associate of Applied Science degree in concrete technology.

The two-year portion of the Walters State program makes use of the MTSU program’s curriculum materials, and also makes MTSU advisors and faculty available to the students, 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,” if they choose, Sewell said.

According to Sewell, students in the associate-level program can expect to be working more on the production side of the business. After earning the associate’s degree, he suggests that students should have no problem finding available employment opportunities.

“There are a lot of jobs out there,” he said. “Buildings, stadiums, bridges, roads … Concrete is pretty much a staple for larger-scale construction projects.”

Sewell anticipates the Walters State program will initially attract between 10 and 20 students, but he added that if the program were to attract as many as 50 students in its initial years, “we will have the space and the instructors we need.”

Concrete Technology classes at Walters State begin in the fall and will meet on Mondays, the school said.

Bachelor’s and Beyond

The bachelor-degree program at MTSU features concentrations in concrete contracting or production, sales and service.

Dr. Heather Brown, MTSU
MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt

Dr. Heather Brown, president of MTSU in Murfreesboro (shown here holding a piece of piece of pervious concrete), said the program was developed in reaction to the concrete industry’s need for educated professionals to work on large-scale construction projects.

Here, students will continue on with additional concrete course work and also round out their education with business and communication courses to earn a bachelor of science.

Graduates from the four-year program will be prepared to take up careers in a wide range of construction and building fields as well as manufacturing, marketing, planning, production management, purchasing management, quality control and technical sales, the school said.

Noting that the industry is constantly expanding and adding innovative building techniques using concrete, Sewell added that work with concrete ready-mix producers and companies that make concrete products is also possible

MTSU also offers an MBA degree in Concrete Industry Management for students with five years of work experience.

Limited Availability

Since MTSU launched its four-year program in 1996, it has been added at other schools, such as New Jersey Institute of Technology, California State University - Chico, and Texas State University.

MTSU concrete officials are also considering a similar partnership with Roane State Community College, said Niclole Green, marketing and recruiting coordinator for the MTSU concrete program.

However, because the availability of the program is still limited, qualifying out-of-state students are able to enroll at MTSU on an in-state tuition basis.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Colleges and Universities; concrete; Education; Jobs; North America; Program/Project Management; Worker training

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