Wrong Grant reported by The Settler

By Jim Hayes

A reporting error in last week’s edition of The Settler indicated that Volunteer State Community College had received a $1 million Tennessee GIVE grant from Tennessee Governor Bill Lee for a job training program.

In fact, the school received a GIVE grant for a program aimed at “growing the skilled technology workforce” in Middle Tennessee, according to the grant documentation.

GO TECH, as the program is called, will rely on a partnership of educational and workforce entities to allow “interested teachers to build tech skills” while providing students various ways to gain technical skills before entering the workforce according to the documentation.

The grant proposal was created in response to statistics which show that Nashville is rapidly emerging as a technology hub. According to RentCafe, the city’s tech job base has grown by 22.7% over the last three years. In addition to Vol State, other partners in the program are: Workforce Essentials, Gallatin Economic Development Agency, Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Williamson, Inc., Nashville State Community College, Robertson County Schools, Sumner County Schools, Wilson County Schools, Asurion, Brookdale, Center for Medical Interoperability, Dollar General, Golden Spiral, Guarino Advisors, HCA, HPA/Cognizant, Kraft CPAs, Metro Nashville IT&S, Nissan North America, Red Hat, Stratasan, Surgurai, Veristor and 3-D Technology Group.

The Settler regrets this error.

Trivia game is set for Wednesday

By Fay Kabasu

There will be a trivia game for students this Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Volunteer State Community College. It’s held in the Wood Campus Center in the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room B at 11:20 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.

Students are invited to participate in the ThinkFast Game Show. The winner of the game wins $100. “Historically we’ve had 30-50 students at the event,” said Tabitha Sherrell, who is the coordinator of Student Activities.

The trivia questions will be about hunger, homelessness and education. It relates to the fact that this week is International Education Week and National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. For further questions contact the Vol State office of Student Engagement and Support at 615-230-3492.

Students participating in the ThinkFast Game show. Photo courtesy by Student Engagement and Support.

Student services host mental health discussion

By Luis Quintanilla

Volunteer State Community College will host “Let’s Talk About Not Being Okay,” a conversation with students about dealing with the lows mental health or even daily life may bring, on Nov. 12.

It will take place in the Wood Campus Center in Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room B from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Lunch will be served and Krista Mazza Carter, a faculty member and licensed professional counselor, will speak to students about not being okay.

According to Tiffany Zwart, Coordinator of Student Support, the discussion is aimed to break down the stigma surrounding mental health or even just when students are simply not feeling okay.

“What we want to get across to our students is that really in life in general there are times where we don’t feel okay. There are times when we feel sad or mad or confused, and we don’t understand and we don’t want to talk about it,” said Zwart.

The event will be in discussion format. Rather than simply listening to a speaker, students will connect by hearing other experiences and bridge the isolation they may often feel according to Zwart.

“I think when we start sharing our experiences with others it helps us to recognize that we’re not alone in our feelings or our experiences. That is my hope. That students will see that their feelings are not, while they are particular to them, unusual and there’s nothing wrong with them,” said Zwart.

Zwart said the more people talk about these things the less embarrassed they will feel and the less alone they will find themselves.

“We don’t become an island where we’re all by ourself and our feelings,” said Zwart.

Zwart stated that the Office of Student Engagement and Support hosts different talks every month over different topics to reach out to students and make them aware of areas of support.

“We’ve never done this talk of not being okay, but we’ve had talks about sexual assault, domestic violence, and absolutely we’ve been able to connect students with resources. We’ve been able to connect them with other students so that they can discuss their common experiences together, and that has been helpful to them. My hope is that there’s always more students that show up,” said Zwart.

The idea for this month’s talk came from the stress this time of year may have on some people according to Zwart.

“Especially around this time of year as we move into the holidays. If you have family that you’ve lost, or your holiday doesn’t go as expected, or if you are struggling financially. The holidays are extra hard. So hopefully that will bring students in,” said Zwart.

Zwart encouraged any student to come and listen.

“I would just encourage them that like every single one of us, we are struggling with something, so there’s no shame just coming to hear about it. It doesn’t imply that there’s anything wrong with you. And even if you have a mental health issue, it doesn’t imply anything is wrong with you. I just want students to come and listen and really just acknowledge that it’s okay to not be okay. I mean really, we just want students to know that it’s okay. We want them to feel better, but at the same time it’s okay to talk about it when we’re not okay,” said Zwart.

“And we’re here,” added on Zwart. “Our offices are here if students are not feeling okay. This is the place that we like them to come so that we can direct them to outside resources. Student Engagement and Support, and we’re in Wood 215,” said Zwart.

The support struggling students can get isn’t only limited to this discussion remarked Zwart. Students can always pass by the office of Student Support for more resources.

“We do have an iPass voucher program,” said Zwart. This program is for students who are in need of mental health care either in counseling or testing services.

“They have to come through our office, and we need to determine eligibility. If they are eligible, then we send them out into the community, we have a provider list, and we pay for six sessions of mental health counseling. That’s totally free to our students. It’s just a service we provide, because we don’t have a counseling center on campus, and we want our students to know that we have that program available to them, and I don’t think a lot of our students are aware,” said Zwart. According to an information packet about iPass, any student taking 6 credit hour or more may be eligible.

Gov. Lee awards $1 million for job training project

By Jim Hayes

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has announced that Volunteer State Community College will be awarded a $1 million grant from the 2019 Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) fund.

GIVE is designed to “foster long-term regional partnerships between Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCATs), community colleges, industry, economic development/workforce agencies, and K-12 to identify and address ‘skills gaps’ in local workforce pools,” according to a Tennessee governmental website describing the program.

The centerpiece of Vol State’s proposal is a 4,500 square foot construction and innovation Lab and Training Facility being built in Westmoreland, Tn., by Clayton Supply, one of the partners in the proposal.

Vol State’s proposal describes the facility as “a direct pathway to high school youth that along with Wilson Lumber (also in Westmoreland) will become a center of excellence for the Building trades.”

Shortages in the Sumner County building construction and manufacturing industry spurred Vol State to submit the 62-page proposal.

It was submitted in conjunction with the Northern Tennessee Workforce Development Board in partnership with: Gallatin Economic Development Agency, Forward Sumner Economic Partnership, Northern Middle Tennessee Workforce Development Board TCAT Portland, TCAT Hartsville, TCAT Nashville, Volunteer State Community College Sumner County Schools (LEA) Batten & Shaw, Clayton Supply, Wilson Lumber, Goodall Homes and Communities, Hodges Group, Curtis Construction, Olympian Construction, Aladdin Temp-Rite, ITW-CIP, North American Stamping Group, Simpson Strong Tie.

The day is about sacrifice not service

By Jim Hayes

With the publication date of this edition of “The Settler” being Nov. 11, or Veterans Day, it goes without saying that nearly every veteran will likely hear the platitude, “thank you for your service,” or some variation of it over the course of the next few days.

Although I am not certain, I believe this expression originated as a sort of national mea culpa for greeting our servicemen returning from Viet Nam in 1969 by cursing and spitting on them.

Thus, it has become fashionable to utter the phrase upon determining that someone in a conversation has served in the armed forces.

That being said, it is time to examine exactly what that service entails.

Service is an 18-year-old Marine spending his first Thanksgiving and Christmas away from his family at boot camp, learning to be a Marine.

Service is that same Marine spending the next Christmas and Thanksgiving standing guard duty over an armory in Okinawa, Japan.

It is a sailor battling to secure an aircraft while his ship is being battered by wind, wave and rain in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Or maybe it is the soldier hunkered down for two days in a field in Korea while he and his platoon are battered by a typhoon, leaving them to eat out of tin cans until the weather blows over and they can return to their base.

Air and coast guardsmen face similar hardships in the name of service every day of their military careers and here in the states, we rarely give it a thought.

Yes, military service is a choice, but it also is a calling.

Science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein summarized military service perfectly in his book, “Starship Troopers,” when he wrote, “The noblest fate that a man can endure is to place his own mortal body between his loved home and the war’s desolation.”

It is not only war that is desolate.

The Quonset huts shared by a company of Marines in the middle of the Philippine jungles are miles from anything resembling civilization.

Our servicemen currently deployed in the Middle East are in a land with morals, ethics and religious beliefs that are foreign to most of us.

They deal with those differences every day and face consequences should they happen to commit a faux pas.

Even those lucky enough to have assignments stateside are committed to services with which most of us are unfamiliar.

Guard posts are still manned regardless of the hour of the day or even if the day is a holiday.

Planes, trucks and tanks need to be serviced; ships need to be kept on course through weather that doesn’t take a break for the calendar.

Having said all that, “The Settler” wishes to extend a heart-felt thank you to every member of the Volunteer State Community College community who has ever laced up a combat boot, stepped aboard a ship, or flown or maintained an aircraft as a member of the military forces of the United States.

“The Settler” does know what service is and that, in the case of military personnel, service is usually a synonym for sacrifice.

So, thank you not only for your service, but also for your sacrifices.