Tidewater Community College president Gregory DeCinque calls TCC’s Skilled Trades Academy “a game changer” for eastern Virginia.
The new 20,000-square-foot facility is one of the largest run by a community college on the East Coast and the only one of its kind in Virginia. It provides short-term workforce training for in-demand construction and maritime trades.
“We can take people with zero background in skilled trades, put them through a three-week, pre-apprenticeship program and have them employed at a major shipyard making $18 an hour directly after,” said DeCinque.
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and Rep. Bobby Scott used reciprocating saws to slice a ceremonial ribbon at the facility Monday morning.
Sen. Kaine grew up working in his father’s ironworking shop and has long pushed for increased access to career and technical education programs that prepare students for future careers.
Sen. Kaine stressed the need to break down the stigma that prevents federal dollars from funding career and technical education. Under current law, Pell Grants cannot be used for short-term career and technical training.
“You can’t silo education and workforce training” he said. “We’ve got to break the silos down, and community colleges are where this is happening.”
Rep. Scott said the academy “will provide the kind of transformational education that can take a minimum wage worker into someone comfortable in the middle class. The academy will be working with business and workforce officials who are here today to ensure that we’re training them for jobs that actually exist.”
To learn more about the event and TCC’s new facility, click here.