First students finish AMTEC at Roane State

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Twenty students recently became the first graduates of Roane State Community College’s Advanced Materials Training and Education Center.

“Everybody wants to be a leader, and everybody wants to blaze a new trail,” guest speaker Jamie Nelson, training and logistics manager for Toho Tenax America, told the graduates during a ceremony at the college’s Oak Ridge campus. “You have done that. You have opened up a new door. What a proud moment it is for us all to see you at this point.”

The AMTEC program trains individuals for entry-level technician jobs in industries that manufacture advanced materials or that use parts that are made from advanced materials.

Advanced materials can be used to create lightweight, durable and energy-efficient products for industries such as automobile manufacturing, construction and solar energy.

Tuition and supplies for the AMTEC program are offered at no cost for participants who are unemployed or underemployed.

Employers receive a significant discount on training costs for their current employees.

The program takes about 14 weeks to complete. New classes of 25 students are added once each month.

Graduation speakers also included state Rep. John Ragan; state Rep. Kelly Keisling; Nolan Nevels, AMTEC director; and Gary Goff, Roane State president.

The AMTEC curriculum consists of a series of required core courses as well as capstone courses in specialized areas such as composites and solar energy technologies.

Members of the first graduating class are:

Composites — Suzanne Arehart, Cory Bailey and Zachary Womack, all of Oak Ridge; Barry Friedmann, Dandridge; Michael Grindle, Oliver Springs; Matthew Jarvis, Clinton; Duane Largent, Crossville; Kelli Lauderdale, Knoxville; and Kevin Mitchell, Andersonville.

Solar energy technologies — Marc Bortolussi, Nicholaus Bowling, Jonathan Franklin, John Keith and Ramdu Raley, all of Knoxville; Jerry Denson, Clinton; Ben Graves, Athens; David Howard, Wartburg; Dan Jones, Jamestown; Theodore Sharp, Oneida; and Mark Vanwitzenburg, Powell.

The graduates began the program in November 2010.

The AMTEC is funded through a $2.86 million federal grant that Roane State received in June 2010 from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Roane State was one of 41 community colleges and organizations — and the only one in Tennessee — to receive an award during the final competition for Community Based Job Training funds in 2010.

Classes are primarily in the Halcyon Commercialization Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory with some sessions conducted at Tennessee Technology Center in Harriman and Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County campus.

For more information about the AMTEC, including how to apply for the program, call 865-481-5436 or visit www.roanestate.edu/amtec.