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            [post_date] => 2018-09-18 10:00:47
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Select Virginia Community Colleges will create Institutes of Excellence for major infrastructure industries

RICHMOND—Virginia’s Community Colleges today announced a $4 million economic investment over the next two years to support curriculum development and FastForward workforce training in the rapidly growing fields of utility-scale solar energy and heavy construction. Select community colleges will develop programs that can be expanded across the commonwealth as the demand grows for skilled workers in these fields.

VIRGINIA SOLAR WORKFORCE INITIATIVE

Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) will receive funds to work with businesses in the energy industry to develop and deploy the Virginia Solar Workforce Initiative, a first-in-the-state curriculum and training program for the utility-scale solar industry. The need for utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) installers, who earn an average starting salary of $42,000-50,000, is emerging in Virginia, and the U.S. Department of Energy reports the solar energy sector is poised for robust growth.

“The Virginia Solar Workforce Initiative is an exceptional example of a public-private partnership,” said Dr. Al Roberts, president of Southside Virginia Community College. “These jobs represent an excellent opportunity for Virginians to be a part of this dynamic, high-growth industry, and we’re excited to partner with industry leaders in the utility-scale solar field, the Maryland-DC-Delaware-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association, to create this program.”

VCCS HEAVY CONSTRUCTION PROGRAMS

The new grants also will increase access to FastForward training for workers in the heavy construction industry. Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC), Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC), and Germanna Community College (GCC) will team up to develop a curriculum and statewide training capabilities for courses that support Virginia’s development sector.

In partnership with the Heavy Construction Contractors Association (HCCA) and the Virginia Asphalt Association (VAA), the colleges will establish online access to training programs in the principles and practices of road building and other major infrastructure projects.

“The expanded initiative provides an opportunity to truly create a pipeline of current and future employees who will reap the rewards of a well-paid and rewarding career pathway,” said Ken Garrison, Executive Director of the Heavy Construction Contractors Association. “We have worked collaboratively with LFCC to build the pilot program and our firms benefited from hiring the graduates.”

“We look forward to working in partnership with our sister colleges to scale and expand the program in order to serve more employers and give access to more job seekers to obtain these high demand industry credentials,” said Kimberly Blosser, president of LFCC.

The average starting salary in Virginia for heavy equipment operators is $43,000 a year.

Since July of 2016, Virginians who trained in FastForward programs at community colleges have earned more than 11,000 valuable industry recognized workforce credentials. FastForward training programs are specifically geared toward the needs of local businesses and offer students affordable access to new careers in weeks or months instead of semesters and years.

“FastForward is benefitting both the individuals who earn credentials in high demand fields and the businesses that are eager to hire skilled employees,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “These strategic investments will bolster those talent pipelines feeding these emerging industries and prepare even more people for these good-paying careers.”

Find out more about FastForward at www.fastforwardva.org.

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RICHMOND – Dr. Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, announced today that he is naming Dr. Charlie White the interim president of Virginia Highlands Community College (VHCC), effective immediately.

[caption id="attachment_28545" align="alignright" width="125"] White[/caption]

White is a veteran higher education leader who has spent much of his career working at Virginia’s Community Colleges, including eight years as the president of Wytheville Community College (WCC). He also served recently as the interim president of New River Community College (NRCC).

“Charlie is a seasoned community college president who knows how to bring people together and move an institution forward,” said DuBois. “He was born in Southwest Virginia, grew up there, and spent his career there so he understands the region. Charlie is the right person to keep Virginia Highlands focused on our students moving forward as we prepare to search for the college’s next permanent president.”

Dr. White has worked in various positions within Virginia’s Community College (VCCS) since 1971 when he joined the NRCC faculty. He chaired the Division of Arts and Sciences at NRCC from 1983-1998, and was a professor of Biology and chair of the Math and Science Division prior to that. White was also NRCC’s vice president for instruction and student services, as well as interim vice chancellor for academic services and research in the VCCS office during 2005 before serving as president of Wytheville Community College from 2006-2015.

White holds a doctorate from the University of Tennessee and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East Tennessee State University. He also holds an associate degree from Hiwassee College in Tennessee.

White replaces Dr. Gene Couch who is retiring after four years as VHCC president.

A national search will begin in early 2019 to hire the next VHCC president. That process typically takes six to nine months to complete.

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 241,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.

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RICHMOND – Dr. Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, announced today that he is naming Dr. Betty Jo Foster as the interim president of Danville Community College (DCC), effective at the beginning of 2019.

[caption id="attachment_28610" align="alignleft" width="240"] Foster[/caption]

Foster is a familiar face throughout the Danville region having worked at DCC for 36 years before retiring as the college’s academic vice president in 2004. She has also served stints as the interim president of Central Virginia Community College, in Lynchburg, and as the interim president and CEO of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce.

“Betty Jo has earned a reputation as an outstanding leader in both higher education and in the business community,” said DuBois. “She is strongly-positioned to keep the college focused on our students as we move forward and launch our national search for the college’s next permanent president.”

Foster began as a DCC professor in 1971. She ascended through the college’s ranks, becoming its vice president for academic and student services in 1993 – a position she held through her retirement in 2004. She served as the interim president of CVCC for six months in 1998. Beginning in August 2017, she served as the interim president and CEO of the Danville/Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce for five months. Foster holds a bachelor’s degree from Radford University; a master’s degree from Virginia Tech; and a doctorate from NOVA University.

“I consider this opportunity to be both an honor and a privilege. It’s like coming home,” said Foster. “So much of my professional life has occurred on the campus of DCC. I appreciate the chance to return there once again and work with the faculty, staff, and students that make it such a special place. I believe the college is in a strong position and will attract terrific candidates in the next presidential search.”

Foster replaces Dr. Bruce Scism who announced in September that he is retiring at the end of the calendar year after more than five years as DCC president.

A national search will begin in early 2019 to hire the next DCC president. That process typically takes six to nine months to complete.

About Danville Community College: Founded in 1966, Danville Community College is a two-year institution of higher education under the statewide Virginia Community College System. DCC's service area includes the City of Danville, Pittsylvania County, and Halifax County. For more information about the college’s more than 100 programs of study, visit www.danville.edu.

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 241,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.

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(Richmond) – Glenn Dubois, the chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges made the following statement today on the announcement that Dr. Scott Ralls, president of Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), has been named the next president of Wake Technical Community College in North Carolina:

“As both a colleague and a friend, I congratulate Scott Ralls on his new opportunity and wish him well as he and his family return to North Carolina. Since assuming the Northern Virginia Community College presidency more than three years ago, Scott has made a positive and lasting impact – bolstering the college’s transfer partnership with George Mason University through the ADVANCE program and fostering vital relationships across the region’s business community.

“Soon, we will announce an interim president for NVCC. Early next year, we will conduct a national search for a dynamic and creative higher education leader to become the college’s next permanent president and build on its legacy of innovation and success in serving a vibrant and diverse community.”

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