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UT President Joe DiPietro to Participate in Discussion on Higher Ed and Workforce Preparation

Category: Academics

NASHVILLE – Internships, industry advisory councils, specialized graduate programs and startup competitions are some of the many efforts underway at University of Tennessee campuses and institutes to help better prepare students for Tennessee’s workforce.

UT System President Joe DiPietro and other higher education leaders in the state will participate in a panel discussion on Wednesday, Sept. 24, organized by the Nashville Business Journal at the Omni Hotel in Nashville. The publication’s annual Nashville Ahead conference is headlined by “A Discussion on Higher Education and Workforce Readiness.”

DiPietro, along with Western Governors University Tennessee Chancellor Kimberly Estep, Middle Tennessee State University President Sidney McPhee and Volunteer State Community College President Jerry Faulkner will discuss current trends in higher education to prepare students to be prepared employees. The lunch and panel discussion begins at 11:50 a.m. CDT.

Many of UT’s business, engineering and other colleges have partnerships with companies such as Eastman and Volkswagen that provide internship opportunities for students. UT Chattanooga has a partnership with The Company Lab to provide the UTC/GIGTANK fellowship for students and faculty to participate in GIGTANK, an entrepreneurial accelerator in Chattanooga.

Other programs offer students hands-on experiences in research and development. Electrical engineering and computer science students at UT Knoxville recently contributed to a project to print a working, drivable car at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago that was a combined effort of the University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Cincinnati Incorporated, Local Motors and Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

The UT Health Science Center, which trains a majority of healthcare professionals in Tennessee, recently expanded in Nashville and Middle Tennessee through a new affiliation agreement with Saint Thomas Health. The College of Medicine will expand to have about 100 medical residents at two Nashville hospitals and one in Murfreesboro in the next few years. The College of Nursing has several clinical rotation sites for bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) students and doctor of nursing practice (DNP) students, and College of Pharmacy students have the option to complete their final three years in either Nashville, Knoxville or Memphis.

DiPietro regularly meets with business, industry and economic development leaders through formal and informal events and listens to their feedback about the preparation of students. Alumni and industry councils also provide ways for campus leaders to get the pulse in the business world.

“The University of Tennessee leads our state in helping students complete their degrees, and we are becoming more entrepreneurial in the ways we partner and work with business and industry to provide a well-trained workforce that ultimately benefits all of Tennessee,” DiPietro said. “Prepared workers are a key to increased economic development, which, in turn makes Tennessee a better place to work and live.”

For more information about the Nashville Ahead event,

The University of Tennessee is the state’s land-grant, higher education institution with statewide enrollment of some 49,000 students at campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Martin; the Health Science Center at Memphis; the Space Institute in Tullahoma; and the statewide Institute of Agriculture and Institute for Public Service. UT alumni around the world number more than 355,000. For more information, visit

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Category: Academics