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RICHMOND – Dr. Glenn Dubois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, announced today the appointment of Dr. Charlie White as interim president of New River Community College (NRCC) effective January 2017. White’s appointment as the college’s interim president will continue until a statewide committee selects the next permanent president of the college, which serves Virginia’s New River Valley communities.

[caption id="attachment_26045" align="alignright" width="125"]charlie-white_2 Dr. Charlie White[/caption]

Dr. White was employed 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.

“Charlie is legendary within the VCCS,” said Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “He did a tremendous job as president of Wytheville Community College for nine years. But he also has a pedigree with New River Community College as a faculty member and chief academic officer. We are delighted he has agreed to come out of retirement to serve as interim president of New River.”

“I couldn’t be happier to return to my old stomping grounds,” said White. “It’s like coming home. I look forward to reconnecting with the college, faculty and students, and to the challenges and opportunities the position brings.”

White will succeed Dr. Jack M. Lewis, who will retire in December 2016 and served NRCC in various capacities for nearly 42 years before becoming president in 2000.

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 approximately 400,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu. To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit 50.vccs.edu.

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RICHMOND — Virginia’s Community Colleges are making strategic investments to ensure that thousands of people will be able to earn valuable workforce credentials for new careers. The Community College system has directed $5.3 million to community colleges around the commonwealth to augment or create new workforce credential training programs, based on local needs and innovative proposals.                                                          

[caption id="attachment_26032" align="alignright" width="288"]workforce-grant_5 Christopher Nicely used Virginia’s New Economy Workforce Credential Grants program to reduce out-of-pocket costs to enroll in HVAC certification training at Lord Fairfax Community College.[/caption]

“Expanding capacity for workforce credential training has major implications both in the near-term and long-term to help people prepare for meaningful and rewarding careers,” said Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “Our ongoing goal is to meet the needs of Virginians who want good jobs, as well as serve businesses eager to hire workers with the right skills and credentials.”

“This investment puts Virginia’s Community Colleges in a better position to deliver on the promise of the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant program approved by state lawmakers earlier this year,” said Craig Herndon, Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development. “Lawmakers provided resources to help add an estimated 10,000 credentialed workers into Virginia’s economy over the current two-year budget period. Not only is our expanded training capacity vital to achieving that goal, these new facilities and faculty investments will help build a skilled workforce for years to come.” 

The General Assembly created the Workforce Credential Grant program to increase training of the skilled workers that Virginia businesses want to hire. Through the workforce grant program, state funds are available to greatly reduce out-of-pocket costs for Virginians who enroll in designated workforce credential training programs.

“I commend Virginia’s Community Colleges for expanding program capacity for workforce credential training,” said Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “Building a more credentialed and capable workforce will pay big dividends to our citizens, our businesses and our economy.”

According to the National Skills Coalition, almost half of the job openings in Virginia between 2010 and 2020 will require some post-high school education, but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree. 

People who enroll in workforce training programs to earn industry-recognized credentials, certifications and licenses qualify for good-paying jobs in a wide variety of fields, including health care, transportation, manufacturing, information technology and skilled trades.

Information about the Workforce Credential Grant program is available at workforce development offices on Virginia Community College campuses statewide, and at www.vccs.edu/workforce.

The following new workforce training opportunities are made possible by the new capacity building funds. (Media representatives are invited to contact local Community College public information officers for more details.)

  • Collaborative project by Wytheville Community College, Patrick Henry Community College, New River Community College and Southwest Virginia Community College – $412,856 to expand WCC’s current commercial truck driver's license program to serve regional needs and train drivers across four community college territories.
  • Collaborative project by Piedmont Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College and Central Virginia Community College – $163,785 to purchase trailer and training equipment to build a mobile welding school that will be shared by the three colleges.
  • Collaborative project by Southside Virginia Community College, Patrick Henry Community College and Danville Community College – $601,651 to establish a regional training program for commercial truck drivers. 
  • Collaborative project by Germanna Community College, Paul D. Camp Community College and Virginia Western Community College - $179,313 to expand GCC’s public-private partnership with the Virginia Asphalt Association and VDOT for trained asphalt technologists to serve regional needs.
  • Blue Ridge Community College - $500,152 for welding and machining, and commercial driver’s license programs.
  • Central Virginia Community College - $299,900 for credential training programs in project management, healthcare, information technology, manufacturing and human resources.
  • Community College Workforce Alliance (Reynolds and Tyler Community Colleges) - $100,000 for commercial truck drivers training.
  • Eastern Shore Community College - $118,859 for expanded training in healthcare, cybersecurity and commercial truck drivers.
  • Germanna Community College - $283,237 to establish a new facility in Fredericksburg to deliver training in welding, manufacturing, skilled trades.
  • Lord Fairfax Community College - $375,587 to increase workforce training capacity in multiple programs in manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare.
  • New River Community College - $131,781 for certification training in manufacturing, pharmacy technician.
  • Northern Virginia Community College - $121,491 to expand industry credential programs and corresponding job placement services in IT, healthcare, welding, and commercial driver's license.
  • Patrick Henry Community College - $110,605 for credentials training in health care, medical billing and coding.
  • Paul D. Camp Community College - $199,609 to establish new credential training for industrial maintenance electrical and instrumentation.
  • Piedmont Virginia Community College - $300,000 to expand training in healthcare, aviation, logistics, and cybersecurity.
  • Southwest Virginia Community College - $200,000 for credentials training for health care and building trades.
  • Thomas Nelson Community College - $416,565 to create EKG technician and plumber programs and to redesign six other programs in health sciences and skilled trades.
  • Tidewater Community College - $200,000 for training programs in welding and cybersecurity.
  • Virginia Highlands Community College - $194,400 for healthcare and commercial truck drivers.
  • Virginia Western Community College - $100,000 for certification training for computer machining operations.
  • Wytheville Community College - $231,231 to expand existing power lineman training in collaboration with Southside Virginia Community College.

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 approximately 400,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu. To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit 50.vccs.edu.

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RICHMOND — A handful of Virginia’s Community Colleges will soon be working together to elevate early childhood education in the commonwealth thanks to a $1 million personal gift from Ben and Betty Davenport. The funding will establish the Davenport Early Childhood Development Institute in partnership with four of Virginia’s Community Colleges: Danville, Patrick Henry, Virginia Western, and New River community colleges.

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the gift at the 50th Anniversary gala celebration, hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education, in Richmond on Saturday.

"We believe every child should have the opportunity to have a successful, productive life,” the Davenports stated. “We like to compare childhood development to planting a crop. You would never sow the seeds without first preparing the ground and nurturing the planting until time to harvest. Similarly, children need proper care and educational instruction from the beginning of life. The community college system is at the forefront of providing the training to make this happen."

The Institute’s purpose is to create a talented workforce in Southern and Southwestern Virginia to ensure access to high-quality training and education for individuals working in childcare centers or family childcare homes, and increasing access to high quality childcare options for all working parents. Programming will include training, a network of professional development opportunities, coaching, and a Fellows Program, which will provide select students with financial incentives, service opportunities and leadership experiences.

“Early childhood development is increasingly important to tomorrow’s Virginia,” said Glenn DuBois, VCCS chancellor. “It’s one of those unmet needs our colleges were created to address. The future of Virginia’s workforce and economy is related to quality education starting at birth. This timely gift will ensure that a more qualified early childhood development workforce is available for years to come.”

The Davenports of Chatham, Virginia, are longtime philanthropists, with a special interest in education. Ben Davenport currently serves as chairman of two companies, each of which employs more than 100 area residents – Davenport Energy and First Piedmont Corporation, a full-service waste management company he started in 1969. Both of the Davenports have a history of advocating on behalf of early childhood education. Betty has served on the board of Smart Beginnings Danville/Pittsylvania, and Ben is director emeritus of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation.

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 approximately 340,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu. To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit 50.vccs.edu.

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RICHMOND — Students pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields statewide will continue to have access to some of the best and brightest minds at NASA, thanks to an agreement between Virginia’s Community Colleges and the Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC).

The extended STEM Takes Flight at Virginia’s Community Colleges NASA Research Experience Program will provide a total of 23 students per year for 2017 and 2018, potentially one from each college, with a rigorous research experience at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton or NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

[caption id="attachment_25884" align="alignright" width="300"]glenn-mary_agreement-signing VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois and VSGC Director Mary Sandy lend their signatures to new agreement that extends STEM Takes Flight Program for two more years.[/caption]

Dr. Van Wilson, assistant vice chancellor for academic and student services for Virginia’s Community Colleges, describes the program as competitive and hands-on.

“NASA provides some of the best and brightest of their scientists to work side-by-side with these students. In addition to the technological component, the students also learn the importance of so-called soft skills like teamwork and communication.”

While NASA officials will ultimately determine which students are selected, Wilson says Virginia’s Community Colleges’ responsibility will be to solicit applications from talented and qualified students who are aligned with NASA’s mission and objectives.

Wilson adds that participating students will be involved in the same kind of problem-solving challenges NASA engineers face every day.

“Some of the things that these students are doing, it really is rocket science. It is a level of engagement in STEM that other students just don’t have the opportunity to do.”

The STEM Takes Flight at Virginia’s Community Colleges NASA Research Experience Program is designed to foster community college retention in STEM academic tracks through graduation with an associate degree or transfer to a four-year institution. It also embraces the VCCS goals of increasing access to affordable education and training in preparation for workforce success. The program is made possible by joint funding from the VCCS and the VSGC.

STEM Takes Flight at Virginia’s Community Colleges NASA Research Experience Program partners include: the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, NASA Langley Research Center and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility.

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium is part of NASA’s Space Grant College and Fellowship Program.  VSGC affiliate members include:  Virginia Community College System; College of William and Mary, Hampton University, Old Dominion University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, NASA Langley Research Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility, Science Museum of Virginia, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, Virginia Department of Education, MathScience Innovation Center, Virginia Air and Space Center, and Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology.

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 approximately 400,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu. To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit 50.vccs.edu.

*Featured image: The 2016 STEM Takes Flight NASA Research Experience Program participants tour the NASA Langley Research Center Mach 10 Wind Tunnel and Control Room.

Students who've participated in the STEM Takes Flight program share their experiences in this video.

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RICHMOND — Virginia’s Community Colleges are off to a promising start in their quest to triple the number of credentials students earn annually by the year 2021. As the VCCS celebrates its 50th anniversary, the 2016 class was the most successful in history, reaching record numbers for both individual graduates and credentials earned. This past spring’s graduations also represented the end of the first year of the VCCS’s six-year statewide strategic plan, Complete 2021, which established the goal of tripling credentials.

All told, Virginia’s Community Colleges saw a 7.6% increase in degrees, certificates and diplomas earned, from 31,194 to 33,580 – and a 5.2% increase in the number of individual graduates, from 25,562 to 26,899. There were significant increases in certain groups driving those record numbers including:

•A 14% increase in the number of Hispanic/Latino graduates;
•An 11.4% increase in the number of so-called traditional-age graduates, those between the ages of 18 and 24; and
•A 9% increase in the number of graduates who are the first in their family to attend and graduate college – in fact, first generation students earned one out of every five awards earned by the 2016 class.

There was also a smaller, though notable, increase of 6.5% in the number of men graduating. Traditionally, men pursue and complete postsecondary credentials at rates well below that of women. Today, men make up just more than 41% of the total VCCS enrollment.

The graduation numbers above do not include the more than 13,000 industry-certified credentials earned by VCCS students in short-term workforce training programs last year. Those programs operate outside of a traditional academic calendar and are counted separately.

“With a focus on student success, we are helping more individuals overcome the barriers that can prevent them from earning a postsecondary credential, the passport that is essential today to pursuing the American Dream,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “Much work remains, however, if we are going to reach that tripling goal of Complete 2021 and truly prepare individuals for the new Virginia economy.”

No one, perhaps, better personifies that pursuit of the American Dream better than Augusto “Gus” Infantas, 22, who became the first in his family to attend and graduate college when he earned his degree last May from Northern Virginia Community College.

Infantas was born in Peru but raised in America. The sometimes-frustrating process of obtaining legal residency, and a lack of resources, delayed his pursuit of a college education. Instead, he began working fulltime to support his family. He wasn’t sure what to think by the time he made it to campus.

“As a very non-traditional student, I was nervous going into college; I was older and working two jobs all through school. But the diversity of people, thoughts and ideas made me comfortable. I was encouraged by faculty and other students to succeed. They motivated me to reach toward my goals,” said Infantas.

Infantas is now studying finance at the University of Virginia. “NVCC really sets students up for success,” he added. “You just have to be willing to work for it.”

Featured image: Augusto “Gus” Infantas graduated from Northern Virginia Community College last May before transferring to the University of Virginia.

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 approximately 340,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu. To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit 50.vccs.edu.

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RICHMOND — Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, released the following statement today to the former Virginia students of ITT Tech:

“Today’s announced closing of ITT Tech affects an estimated 2,500 students in Virginia. For them, this can be an especially emotional and confusing time. What it should not be, however, is a reason to stop pursuing a postsecondary credential.

“I want former ITT Tech students to know that you are neither abandoned nor alone and that we stand ready to help you continue and complete the educational aspirations you sought at ITT Tech.

“Virginia’s Community Colleges offer hundreds of industry-certified credentials available through our short-term training programs. In addition, we offer pathways to traditional associate degrees and even bachelor’s degrees through our guaranteed transfer agreements with more than three-dozen public and private universities.

“Please use the chart below to reach out to your nearest community college so that we can help you on your way as quickly as possible:

ITT Technical Institute Campus  
(in Virginia)

Nearest VCCS College

Toll Free

Norfolk Campus

Tidewater Community College

855-308-5614

Northern Virginia Campus - Chantilly

Northern Virginia Community College

855-323-3199

Northern Virginia Campus - Springfield

Northern Virginia Community College

855-323-3199

Richmond Campus

John Tyler Community College

855-874-6684

Roanoke Campus

Virginia Western Community College

855-874-6690

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 approximately 400,000 students each year.  For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu. To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit 50.vccs.edu.

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RICHMOND – With more than 35 years of experience in the healthcare industry, James Cuthbertson is accustomed to making critical decisions that impact entire organizations.

Cuthbertson-for-web-insert_816

As the former president and chief executive officer of the Texas Heart Institute – the world’s largest cardiovascular treatment center- he is an acknowledged authority on complex medical organizations, their governance, and the strategies that have allowed them to achieve their prominence. These attributes make him ideally suited to assume his new role, that of chairman of the State Board for Community Colleges.

Cuthbertson feels the biggest challenge now facing Virginia’s Community Colleges is demonstrating to prospective students and their families that a community college education represents a solid return on their investment. “Through our system of community colleges, we can help students build foundations upon which they need to launch and sustain successful careers in a world that is quickly and constantly changing,” Cuthbertson said.

Cuthbertson says the explosive demand for a credentialed workforce is the most pressing need in higher education today. “Our assets position us to provide individuals with the training they need to earn the workforce credentials that matter most to businesses in every corner of the commonwealth,” he observed. “Our colleges are not only geographically distributed in such a way as to permit easy access to all Virginians, but they remain constantly engaged with their business communities to ensure that the workforce credential training programs we offer are tuned to the current demands of the regional economies our colleges serve.”

Cuthbertson describes his leadership style as one of participative guidance and inclusion. He adds that he’s honored to have been selected as board chair.

“I am encouraged by the challenges that we as a board face and confident that we will succeed in supporting the mission of our system and the strategic goals, including Complete 2021, that Chancellor DuBois has established.”

Also taking on a new role on the board is Eleanor Saslaw. She becomes the board’s vice chair, the title previously held by Cuthbertson. A licensed professional counselor, Saslaw began her career as a teacher in the Fairfax County school system. She has won numerous awards including the Friend of School Psychologists Award (2011) and Counselor of the Year (1998 and 1994).

Saslaw was appointed to the State Board for Community Colleges in 2014 by Gov. Terry McAuliffe and currently serves as liaison to both Rappahannock and Patrick Henry Community Colleges.

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 approximately 400,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu. To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit 50.vccs.edu.

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~ Credentials Will Open Doors to Promising, High-Demand Career Opportunities~

 RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the launch of a new grant program designed to ensure that workforce credentials are accessible and affordable for Virginians seeking the skills they need to obtain good-paying jobs in high-demand fields.

The New Economy Workforce Industry Credentials Grant program covers 124 different community college training programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges geared toward providing workforce credentials at one-third of their former cost.

“This program establishes a first-in-the-nation performance funding formula to create and sustain a supply of credentialed workers who meet the needs identified by our business leaders,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This week’s launch is the culmination of many months of hard work by public and private sector partners, all of us working together to ensure that Virginia has a 21st century workforce with the skills and experience to compete in today’s global economy.”

Virginia’s Community Colleges consulted with Virginia businesses to develop the list of eligible credentials that can provide access to a wide variety of high-demand jobs, such as certified welder, electrician, medical records tech, computer network specialist, pharmacy tech, digital security specialist, emergency medical tech, industrial machinery mechanic, dental assistant, and commercial truck driver.  The Virginia Board of Workforce Development identified more than 170 in-demand jobs aligned with the Commonwealth’s economic development targets for which Virginians can prepare through the new workforce program.  

These are jobs that require specific skills, but not necessarily a traditional college degree. Community Colleges are making it even easier to earn workforce credentials by developing new programs and adding classes and locations for increased convenience.

“To create the skilled workforce the Commonwealth needs now and in the future, we need more options for training and credentialing that work for Virginians of all ages and life circumstances,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “With the New Economy Workforce Credentials program, for the first time, we have new options for workforce training and development that promptly get trainees into the skilled labor force.”

Research indicates that these workforce credentials are in high demand across Virginia and will be for the foreseeable future. The company Burning Glass produced a recent report indicating that there were more than 175,000 job vacancies for so-called middle-skill occupations last year in Virginia – the types of jobs that typically require some type of credential. The jobs paid more than $28 per hour (or more than $58,500 per year). According to the research, the jobs went unfilled for an average period of 26 days, which is longer than the national average. As a result, Virginia businesses lost 36.4 million hours of productivity. Virginia families lost more than $1 billion in potential wages, and Virginia’s General Fund lost more than $54.3 million in revenue.

Other studies predict that Virginia will have to fill more than 1.4 million jobs over the next decade. As many as two-thirds of those positions will require postsecondary level workforce credentials.

“The New Economy Workforce Industry Credentials Grant program will be a game changer for the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. “The in-depth research that has gone into establishing this innovative program will help us to increase access and success in higher education, especially for some of our most underserved populations.”

Students enrolling in one of the workforce credential training programs covered by the new grants will pay only one-third of the normal cost. Program costs vary widely, depending on the length and complexity of the training. For a list of programs covered by the grants, visit this link on the VCCS website.

The maximum value of each grant is $3,000. For example, a student who enrolls in and successfully completes a grant-eligible program that normally costs $4,500 will now pay $1,500, and the grant covers $3,000 of the cost. Additional financial aid can offset that cost even further. More information is available at the workforce development offices of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Governor McAuliffe won bipartisan support this year among Virginia lawmakers for funding to enable approximately 10,000 Virginians to receive Workforce Credentials Grants for training costs over the next two years. This unique performance-based funding model is the first in the nation. Further, it represents the first significant public funding for workforce training programs in the 50-year history of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

“These workforce credentials increasingly represent the American Dream in the 21st century,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “Individuals earn these credentials in weeks and months, not semesters and years. Those students are often quickly employed by businesses hungry for their skills. And they accomplish all that without piling on a decade’s worth of student debt.”

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 approximately 400,000 students each year.  For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu. To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit 50.vccs.edu.

 

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RICHMONDThe State Board for Community Colleges will convene its regular meeting on Thursday, July 21, at 9 a.m. in the offices of the Virginia Community College System at 300 Arboretum Place, Richmond, Virginia, 23236.

State Board Committees will meet on Wednesday, July 20, also at 300 Arboretum Place. The Academic, Student Affairs, and Workforce Development Committee and the Budget and Finance Committee meet at 1:30 p.m.; the Facilities and Personnel Committees meet at 3 p.m.; and the Audit Committee meets at 3:30 p.m. An Executive Committee meeting will take place at the conclusion of all other committee meetings.

Public comment will be received at each regular meeting of the board following the approval of minutes. Persons desiring to comment must notify the Chancellor’s Office in advance as specified by the VCCS Policy Manual.

A complete agenda for the State Board meeting is available at: http://www.boarddocs.com/va/vccs/Board.nsf/Public.

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 approximately 400,000 students each year.  For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu. To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit 50.vccs.edu.

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RICHMOND – Faculty and staff members at Virginia’s Community Colleges will be working closer with their students to more accurately determine their academic and career goals and to ultimately help guide them across the finish line. Attaining the education and credentials they need will enable students to become more employable, higher paid, and stronger contributors to the workforce and community.

According to the State Council on Higher Education for Virginia, only 38% of VCCS first-time- in-college students complete an academic credential or continue their education as transfer students after four years. Data analyses indicate that low fall-to-fall retention is a significant reason that completion rates are so low.

“We want to help more students complete their journey toward a postsecondary credential,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “We’re not helping students who leave us only with a bag of credits. The credential is what holds value in the marketplace.”

During the 2015-16 academic year, Virginia’s Community Colleges established a Student Success Leadership Institute designed to develop collaborative leadership teams – including leaders from all levels – and empower those teams to create a compelling and clear action plan for enhancing the overall student experience and increasing the number of students who earn certificates, workforce credentials or associate degrees.

As part of that action plan, and in accordance with the 50th anniversary of Virginia’s Community Colleges, Chancellor Glenn Dubois will lead a listening tour during the 2016-2017 academic year to gather information from our 23 colleges on best practices for student success.

“We will continue to engage and enable our colleges and provide them with the technical and functional support that they need to do this work,” said Dr. Sharon Morrissey, vice chancellor for academic services and research. “We’ve done this in pockets but we’re talking about changing that conversation to one that is more of a continuum of student success as opposed to one-off initiatives that address very small populations.”

By 2018, Morrissey says the action plans should be fully implemented and the programmatic, process, and policy changes designed to improve student success outcomes should be part of each college’s culture.

“What we’re doing is taking a step back and celebrating our last 50 years and we’re looking forward to say how we can improve the things that we do that support the overall student experience for the students that we have today,” said Shauna Davis, executive director of the Student Success Center, which is being funded by a grant from the Kresge Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Virginia’s Community Colleges will continue to evaluate student success outcomes to identify and share the strategies that have the greatest impact on increases in student retention, progress, and completion.

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 approximately 400,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu. To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit 50.vccs.edu.

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