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            [post_title] => Community Colleges Bring Focus to Workforce Training - Richmond Times-Dispatch - 2.23.14
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            [post_title] => PVCC Seeing Surprisingly High Number Go on to Four-Year Schools - The Daily Progress - 1.28.14
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News Release Highlights:

• Eastern Shore Community College earns the Valley Proteins 6th Annual Award.
• The award will expand ESCC’s HVAC training program to meet employers’ growing needs.
• The Valley Proteins Endowment Fund supports workforce efforts at community colleges through the VFCCE

 

Eastern Shore C.C. Plan to Meet Employer Needs and 
Boost HVAC Career Opportunities Earns Annual Foundation Award

Eastern Shore Community College (ESCC) will soon expand its HVAC program to train people to maintain large commercial HVAC and refrigeration equipment thanks to an award funded by Valley Proteins, Inc. and administered by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE).

The ESCC program currently teaches people how to repair and maintain residential HVAC units. The $10,000 foundation grant will pay for new equipment and the design of a new, expanded curriculum. Those changes will allow the program to teach people to work on commercial HVAC and refrigeration equipment. Eastern Shore employers, ranging from poultry processing plants to space rocket launching facilities, say they need more people with those skills. That demand is echoed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports that the demand for HVACR mechanics and installers will grow by 34 percent by 2020, and that their median annual salary is more than $43,000.

The ESCC HVAC training program has graduated dozens since beginning in 2004. Nearly one-third of the program’s most recent group of graduates earned the highest possible credential level.

The Valley Proteins Endowment Fund is awarded annually to support workforce development programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges in the areas of environmental science, commercial truck driving, heating and air conditioning, and office technology in regions where the company operates.

“Earning this award will help us expand a needed program that much sooner,” said Dr. Linda Thomas-Glover, president of Eastern Shore Community College. “That means we can respond to the needs of Shore employers sooner and prepare more hard-working people to start promising careers sooner. We are very appreciative of the commitment of Valley Proteins to supporting ESCC and the Virginia Community Colleges as we combine resources to develop a strong local workforce.”

“This year’s award recipient is a reminder of what a catalyst a community college can be for a local economy,” said Michael A. Smith, vice president of Valley Proteins and former chair of the VFCCE. “Congratulations to Eastern Shore Community College on putting together a wonderful proposal. We are excited to think what this could mean for connecting HVACR-trained folks with the employers who really need them.”

“We are dedicated to expanding opportunities through creative partnerships,” said Jennifer Gentry, assistant vice chancellor for VCCS Institutional Advancement. “This endowment is a great example of the synergy that comes from joining together employers who are vested in the quality of tomorrow’s Virginia workforce and the community colleges that elevate it every day.”

Valley Proteins, Inc. is committed to supporting the workforce, particularly in the areas in which it has a business presence. The 65-year-old firm, headquartered in Winchester, operates plants in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. Its processing facilities recycle food waste materials into usable products and bio fuels for feed and industrial applications.

This is the first time Eastern Shore Community College has earned the award. Previous recipients of the annual award include Blue Ridge Community College, John Tyler Community College, Paul D. Camp Community College and Southside Virginia Community College.

About the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education: Working hand in hand with Virginia’s 23 community colleges, the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education seeks to guarantee financial assistance to all students who dream of attending college. The foundation is building an endowment that is already generating interest to provide full scholarships to selected community college students. Donors to the fund are invited to endow a single scholarship in their name and designate it to any of Virginia’s community colleges or regions. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu/giving.

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Created more than 40 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 400,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.

About Eastern Shore Community College: Opened in 1971, and situated on 115 acres on U.S. Route 13, ESCC serves the residents of Accomack and Northampton Counties. ESCC serves an estimated 1,400 students a year. For more information, please visit es.vccs.edu.

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~ That’s no surprise says VCCS grad turned veteran turned professor ~


RICHMOND — A growing and increasingly diverse number of U.S. military veterans are enrolling in Virginia’s Community Colleges. That’s neither a mistake nor surprising says one person who has spent her adult life watching the issue from all sides: first as a community college student and graduate; then as an officer in Army Reserve; and now as a full-time nursing professor at her alma mater.

The VCCS collectively served 24,132 veteran students between the 2008-09 academic year and last year. A look within those numbers reveals some interesting trends:

  • The VCCS served 65 percent more veterans last year (9,404) than they did in the 2008-2009 school year (5,703).
  • Women accounted for nearly one-third of the veteran students compared to only ten percent of the total U.S. veteran population.
  • The number of Hispanic/Latino veteran students grew by 165 percent during that period.
  • The number of African American veteran students increased 96 percent in that time.

“The system is more user-friendly for veterans today then when I was in college in the early 1980s,” said Brenda Dixon, a professor of nursing at Germanna Community College. “We reach out to the veterans, and employ coordinators to ease the transition of veterans to the college setting. Our faculty receives training, geared toward assisting Veterans in the classroom. Also, veterans are allowed to form a club on campus, which serves as a support system.”

Dixon, who was one of 12 children, was the first in her family to attend college when she entered the nursing program at Germanna Community College in 1980. There, a mentor’s stories of military service inspired her to enlist in the Army Reserve where she would go on to serve four years on active duty and rise to the rank of Lt. Colonel. She continued her education, earning a master’s degree and several post-master’s certificates. Today, she is a professor at the community college where it all began.

Dixon says her experience as a community college student allows her to identify with the people she is teaching and her experience in uniform gives her special insights on working with Veterans. "While serving on active duty for four years, working with soldiers injured in combat, I was able to gain an appreciation for the sacrifices they made, and identify techniques that could be used to assist the veterans with re-entering back into the community."

Further, Dixon says the increased diversity seen among veteran students simply mirrors the larger community. “When I started teaching nursing in 1986, I was the only African American nursing faculty member. [Today] more minority faculty and students, from many different countries, are seen on campus.”

“Preparing veterans for good-paying civilian careers is one of the best ways that we can show them our appreciation for their service,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “These encouraging numbers demonstrate that we are doing that and show us ways that we can do even more moving forward.”

See more on the success of Veterans as students in this recent Student Success Snapshot.

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Created more than 40 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve nearly 400,000 students a year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

January 27, 2014

Bill Bolling Joins Rural Virginia Education Partnership

RICHMOND, Va. – Former Virginia Lt. Governor Bill Bolling is joining the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative. Bolling will co-chair the effort’s steering committee along with Robert Harrell of Suffolk.

"I grew up in a rural community, and I feel passionately about the need to provide better educational opportunities for young people in the rural parts of our state,” Bolling said. "That's what the Rural Horseshoe Initiative is all about, and I look forward to continuing my work in public service by serving as co- chair of this tremendous partnership and helping achieve their important goals."

The Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative is a partnership between the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE), 14 Virginia community colleges and their respective foundations to increase educational attainment in Virginia’s rural regions. Last fall the effort earned a $2 million lead gift from a third-generation Virginia business, Valley Proteins, Inc. and one of its owners, Michael Smith.

“We are grateful for the passion, experience and perspective that Bill Bolling will bring to this effort,” said former Gov. Gerald Baliles, chair of the VFCCE. “From his roots, growing up in the coalfields of southwest Virginia, to his work as lieutenant governor to increase job opportunities across the commonwealth, Bill understands how vital it is for every Virginian to have access to the knowledge and skills that 21st century jobs demand. I am looking forward to working with him in this role.”

Rural Virginia, which includes the Northern Neck, Eastern Shore, Southside, Southwest Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, has a population of 2.1 million people. If it were its own state, it would rank 50th in the nation in the percentage of people who hold a college degree; the rest of Virginia would rank number two. Likewise, nearly one in four people in rural Virginia lack a high school diploma. That compares to one in ten for the rest of Virginia.

The initiative focuses on two goals. The first is to cut in half the current percentage of rural Virginia’s population without a high school diploma, or equivalent. The second is to double the number of people in rural Virginia who hold a workforce credential or an associate’s degree from 26 percent to 53 percent. The ten-year initiative will help middle class families who mistakenly believe education past high school is out of reach and adults who failed to finish high school but need money to pay for workforce training beyond a G.E.D.

Bolling, who chaired the Governor’s Rural Jobs Council in 2013, is joining a team that is brimming with business, public service and community leaders from across Virginia. The steering committee includes:

 

John “Jay” Adams

Jean Clary Bagley

The Honorable Gerald L. Baliles

The Honorable Bob Bloxom

The Honorable Bill Bolling, Co-chair

Carthan Currin, III

Ben Davenport, Jr.

The Honorable Barnie Day

John Hardesty, Jr.

William C. Hall, Jr.

The Honorable Eva T. Hardy

Robert W. Harrell, Jr., Co-chair

The Honorable Charles Hawkins

Ibbie Hedrick

The Honorable Jack Kennedy

The Honorable Jerry Kilgore

Cynthia Lawrence

Jeffery K. Mitchell

The Honorable David Nutter

Joe Philpott, Jr.

Donnie Ratliff

Gerald “J.J.” Smith, Jr.

D. Coleman Speece

“Robin” Sullenberger

Lucia Anna (Pia) Trigiani

Robert Wrenn

 

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Created more than 40 years ago, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve approximately 400,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.

About the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education:  Working hand in hand with Virginia’s 23 community colleges, the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education seeks to guarantee financial assistance to all students who dream of attending college.  The foundation is building an endowment that is already generating interest to provide full scholarships to selected community college students.  Donors to the fund are invited to endow a single scholarship in their name and designate it to any of Virginia’s community colleges or regions.  For more information, please visit http://www.vccs.edu/giving.

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For immediate Release
01.17.2014

 

State Board for Community Colleges January 2014 Business Meeting

RICHMOND – The State Board for Community Colleges will convene its regular meeting on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 9 a.m. in the Godwin-Hamel Board Room on the 15th floor of the James Monroe Building, 101 N. 14th Street, Richmond.

 State Board Committees will meet on Wednesday, Jan. 22, also in the James Monroe Building. The Academic, Student Affairs and Workforce Development Committee and the Budget and Finance Committee meet at 1:30 p.m.; the Facilities Committee and the Personnel Committee meet at 3 p.m.; and the Audit Committee meets at 3:30 p.m. Board members will also meet beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22 to learn about the budget and legislative process and for training. Agenda items for the regular business meeting on Jan. 23 include:

 Academic, Student Affairs & Workforce – The State Board will receive the Annual Report of Student Success 2012-13; a Progress Report on Workforce Development for FY 2013; and a report on policy manual changes, among other information items.

 Facilities – The State Board will consider approval of a master site plan update for the Hampton Campus of Thomas Nelson Community College and a plan for J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College to lease space during the renovation of Georgiadis Hall on the Parham Road Campus. The board will also receive updates on all capital outlay and construction projects.

 Budget and Finance – The State Board will receive updates on the Governor’s budget recommendations for the biennium and will also hear a report on a benchmarking study being conducted as part of the reengineering process.

 Personnel Committee – The State Board will hear updates on a process to analyze human resource strategies across the system to identify opportunities for consolidation, standardization and automation.

 Chancellor’s Report – Chancellor Glenn DuBois will introduce Dr. Abby Stonerock, the new director of faculty development. Enrollment Reports and updates on the VCCS Reengineering Taskforce will also be presented, among other information items. 

 

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Created more than 40 years ago, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 405,000 students each year. For more information, please visit myfuture.vccs.edu.

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