TTC online dietary manager training program draws studentsfrom all over U.S.

  
  By Rozella Hardin
star staff
  rhardin@starhq.com
  The Tennessee Technology Center at Elizabethton is using the Internet to reach out from coast to coast to train dietary managers for future employment. Four area women are playing important roles in that process.
  Patricia Roark of Elizabethton, RN, is director of the online Dietary Training Program offered by the Tennessee Technology Center at Elizabethton. Phyllis Ensor of Elizabethton, Certified Dietary Manager, and Sherry Kyker of Johnson City, Registered Dietitian, are the online instructors. Martha Hardin of Elizabethton, CDM, CFPP, is the 2004-2005 president of the Tennessee Dietary Managers Association.
  Dietary Managers work with Registered Dietitians to provide quality nutritional care in food procurement services, sanitation and food safety, as well as administrative and personnel management. They work in hospitals, nursing homes, large childcare centers, correctional and rehabilitation facilities, school systems and with food service distributors, among others.
  Approved by the national Dietary Managers Association, the six-month online program offered by TTC-Elizabethton prepares graduates to take the National Credentialing Exam to become a Certified Dietary Manager.
  The program consists of 498 computer-generated classroom hours and 150 hours of field experience. Roark coordinates the field experience, including 50 hours of nutrition related experience supervised by a registered dietitian/preceptor in the student's hometown.
  Roark said she is extremely pleased with the response the online program has received in Tennessee and across the United States. It is the only online program of its kind currently offered in Tennessee and one of seven such online programs in the United States.
  "The program has attracted students from as far away as California, Washington State, Delaware and Arkansas," Roark told members of the Tennessee Dietary Association at their 2004 state convention in Pigeon Forge in September.
  "We targeted states with low numbers of dietary managers in our classified advertising campaign to recruit students at minimal cost. We are pleased with the results," said Bob Robinson of TTC-Elizabethton, who planned and implemented the student recruitment campaign.
  Through the Tennessee Press Association ad placement service, TTC-Elizabethton published a classified ad in 599 newspapers, including 73 newspapers in Tennessee and 526 newspapers in Utah, Arkansas, Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont with a combined total readership of 6.7 million.
  In response to the ad and related publicity, TTC-Elizabethton received 69 student applications from 53 cities in 25 states for the online Dietary Manager Training Program that began Oct. 6, 2004. Students made application for the online program over the Internet, by telephone and mail to the Tennessee Technology Center at Elizabethton.
  An article describing the success of TTC-Elizabethton's low-cost advertising blitz appeared in the November edition of the Tennessee Press Association newsletter. The newsletter is distributed to newspaper publishers, institutions of higher learning and other associate members in Tennessee and beyond.
  Robinson expressed appreciation to Pam Himrod of the national Dietary Managers Association, Deb Tilley of the Tennessee Dietary Managers Association, Nan Allison of the Tennessee Dietetic Association and Chris Clarke of the Tennessee Hospital Association for their support in announcing the availability of the online program to their membership.
  Beth Elliott, classified ad coordinator with Tennessee Press Service, provided one-stop shopping for ad placement, Robinson said. "We couldn't have done it without her assistance," he added.
  Another six-month online Dietary Manager Training Program begins Jan. 5, 2005. Registration for the program is now under way through Dec. 20 at the main campus of the Tennessee Technology Center, across from Elizabethton Municipal Airport on Highway 91.
  Qualifying students will receive financial assistance through the Pell Grant, as well as the Tennessee Lottery Scholarship, the latter if residents of Tennessee. Online financial aid forms may be found at www.fafsa.ed.gov. The school code for TTC-Elizabethton, required on the form, is 005281.
  Contact Roark at 423-547-2590, Ext. 401, proark@mail.tec.tn.us for additional information.