Tennessee Tech Welcomes Upper Cumberland Technical Training Center An editorial for the Herald-Citizen

Cookeville has once again proven itself to be one of the most progressive cities in Tennessee. By planning for the Upper Cumberland Technical Training Center, our community leaders have demonstrated they understand the needs of our population and recognize the importance of higher education and training at all levels.

The Center will fill a specific need for Upper Cumberland industry. Individuals interested in short-term technical training will soon have an opportunity to develop the skills they need to prepare them for the workplace and to advance in the workplace. For those who want this specialized training, the Center will be ideal.

For that reason and more, Tennessee Technological University wholeheartedly endorses and supports the technical training center. It has been proposed that the Center be built on the TTU campus using land that is well suited for the facility with easy, convenient access and parking. The proposed campus site is feasible, recognizing that the Center's unique mission and aspects would differentiate it from the University. The University would welcome the Center on campus, but would support the Center wherever it is located. While no two-year technical colleges in Tennessee are housed on university campuses, that is not the case in other states. Marshall University in West Virginia and the University of Akron (Ohio) both house a two-year community and technical college on their campuses, for example. Nashville Tech's Cookeville branch has already been teaching some classes on Tennessee Tech's campus. However, the Neal Street site is believed by some to offer the advantage of easy access to Hwy. 111 and I-40, as well as easy access for industry located on the east side of Cookeville.

For decades Tennessee Tech has been the premier source of higher education for the region and the state, offering programs from the baccalaureate to the Ph.D. Students and alumni alike consistently rank Tennessee Tech first in satisfaction among all Tennessee Board of Regents universities. Many of the business and community leaders around the region and the nation are TTU graduates. They, as well as many other corporate executives, actively recruit our graduates.

The University's success shines beyond its academic reputation to its most important mission - serving the needs of its students. And those students represent a variety of demographics. More than 28 percent of enrolled undergraduate students last year were "non-traditional" at age 23 and older. Most of the University students live off campus, and a surprisingly large number work full-time and attend school. The University offers evening and weekend classes for the convenience of working students, and some programs are structured so students can earn a degree attending only weekend classes. Tennessee Tech's Extended Education program offers additional credit and non-credit continuing education courses at a variety of times and days, as well as distance learning courses taught from campus and broadcast interactively to sites across the state.

The combination of Tennessee Technological University and an Upper Cumberland Technical Training Center offers our region the best of both higher education and training. The two institutions will work together for the benefit of the community and its people, regardless of where the new facility will be located. The University will continue to develop a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the Center.