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Nolan Nevels has been named director of Roane State Community College’s Advanced Materials Training and Education Center in Oak Ridge.
Roane State received a $2.86 million federal grant to launch the center, which will train individuals for entry-level materials technician jobs in the high-growth carbon-fiber and solar-energy industries.
Roane State was one of 41 community colleges and organizations nationally — and the only one in Tennessee — to receive a Community-Based Job Training Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
The college will receive the $2.86 million over the next three years.
The grant will cover tuition and supplies for participants who are unemployed and underemployed.
Employers will receive a discount on training costs for their employees.
The first class of 25 participants is under way, and a new class of 25 will be added about every month. The goal of the project is for more than 600 individuals to complete the training.
The Community Reuse Organization of East
Tennessee is providing classroom facilities in
the Halcyon Commer-
cialization Center at Oak Ridge National Labora-
“I look at the AMTEC as giving people a better quality of life,” Nevels said. “The AMTEC is going to take unemployed and underemployed people and give them the technical expertise to move into stable, better-paying jobs. The AMTEC is also going to make the area attractive for businesses because we will have a trained workforce that companies can draw from.”
Nevels has considerable manufacturing and training experience. He recently retired from a 12-year career at Alcoa, where he held various supervisory positions.
Nevels understands the hardships of trying to learn new skills as an adult.
A native of Birmingham, Ala., he attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
He worked full time and took classes. Trying to do both, he said, was difficult.
“At that time, adult education was unheard of,” he said. “It would have taken 10 years to finish a degree.”
Instead of finishing his degree, Nevels joined the workforce and spent the early part of his career in the construction industry. He said constantly moving his family to keep up with the job market convinced him to go back to school.
His family settled in Knoxville, and Nevels earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business management from Tusculum College. He worked as a Department of Energy contractor before joining Alcoa.
Nevels said his experience going back to school will help him connect with participants in the AMTEC’s training.
He and his wife, Donna, have two children: Nolan II and Jennifer.
Grant partners were Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Toho Tenax America Inc.; CoorsTek Inc.; Protomet Corp.; USEC Inc.; Confluence Solar Inc.; Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley; Tellico Reservoir Development Agency; Tennessee Solar Energy Association; Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Local Workforce Investment Areas 3 and 4; CROET; Ametek Inc.; and Babcock & Wilcox.
The grant partners have identified the need to train and hire more than 1,200 new advanced materials technicians during the next three years.
Visit www.roanestate.edu/amtec or contact Nevels at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-481-5433 for details.