Opening downtown in January: RCAM Academy

Rick Wagner • Dec 26, 2017 at 8:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Just call it RCAM Jr.

That’s the nickname of the RCAM Academy at Northeast State Community College to open next month in downtown Kingsport, according to NSCC interim President James King.

In a recent interview, King said he firmly believes that NSCC and East Tennessee State University are the two major economic development engines in the Tri-Cities. And for NSCC, he said, a prime example of that engine getting better is the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Kingsport, part of the Academic Village downtown. King said the RCAM is “envied from one end of the state to the other” and cited the “Jeff and Jeff Show” recently presented at the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development in Nashville.

The RCAM Academy at Northeast State gives the RCAM a much-needed expansion, King said.

Here’s a rundown of the “Jeff and Jeff Show”

Jeff McCord, vice president of economic and workforce development, and RCAM Dean Jeff Frazier talked about the RCAM during Tennessee’s only U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored apprenticeship program, a model King said he is sure will spring up elsewhere in the state.

Through the project, NSCC will enlarge its technical training capabilities and dual enrollment opportunities for high school students around the region.

The new facility will open its doors and welcome students in the spring 2018 semester. The two-story, 15,000-square-foot building stands behind the current RCAM building. The expansion was made possible by the collective efforts of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), according to a recent news release from NSCC.

The college sought to expand RCAM’s existing space to accommodate growing dual enrollment opportunities. High school students can take advantage of these new options to earn college credit hours during their junior and senior years.

What is in the academy?

The academy’s first floor includes a large machine tool/CNC laboratory with new machining technology foundational for world class instruction. This allows RCAM to support advanced manufacturing at a whole new level. The second floor includes six classrooms and additional staff offices.

Currently, RCAM courses fulfill the requirements for associate of applied science degrees and/or technical certificate programs offered in chemical process operations, electromechanical technology, electrical technology and welding/metal fabrication. Expanding the RCAM’s current footprint creates the opportunity to offer machine tool/CNC training and increases both operational efficiencies and long-term sustainability of this nationally recognized facility. Northeast State, AMP and regional elected officials broke ground on the new facility approximately one year ago.

History of the RCAM in Kingsport

The first RCAM opened in 2009 to serve as the college’s primary off-campus facility for training a qualified workforce for the region’s manufacturing sector. The facility was also established via the collective efforts of the AMP.

RCAM’s academic program-related enrollment has grown more than 3.5 times since the facility opened. Since 2010-2011, cumulative completions for students taking at least 12 credit hours at RCAM have grown 25 times. For the programs offered at RCAM, student job placement averages approximately 200 placements across 40 different regional employers per year.

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