Due to Covid-19, it had been three years since the last VCCS Hire Education Conference was held in person, and the pent-up excitement of being together was on full display at this year’s annual Chancellor’s Awards Banquet.
“I’m excited to be here tonight to honor our people on the front lines of building and rebuilding lives in the Commonwealth,” said Interim VCCS Chancellor Sharon Morrissey. “Celebrating these amazing and impactful people is truly one of the highlights of the year in our rapidly-growing workforce training programs.”
College personnel and community partners were recognized for going above and beyond to promote the life-changing workforce training programs available at Virginia’s Community Colleges.
Considered the evening’s top honor, the Expanding Opportunities Award was presented to Amy Shockley, Regional Adult Education Program Director at Eastern Shore Community College, recognizing extraordinary and lasting contributions to the field of workforce development. A lifelong educator, Shockley was honored for her tireless efforts to expand innovative ESL, adult basic education and workforce training programs to people who need services the most, and for mentoring others in the field. The essay nominating Shockley reads in part, “Students who go from existing day-to-day through only the kindness of friends to being able to return that kindness themselves to others who have no idea where they will lay their head at night or find their next meal. [Amy Shockley] exemplifies the qualities this award seeks to recognize, but, even more, she exemplifies the qualities we all strive to achieve in our own lives.”
Amy Taloma, Coordinator for Healthcare Programs at the Community College Workforce Alliance was honored for Outstanding Achievement by a College Faculty or Staff. CCWA provides workforce training programs for Reynolds and Brightpoint Community Colleges. Taloma is credited with launching multiple FastForward healthcare programs that helped to put people to work and help employers fill critical jobs during the pandemic.
This year’s award for Outstanding Achievement through a Collaboration or Consortia of Partners was presented to the City of Richmond’s Office of Community Wealth Building (OCWB) and the Community College Workforce Alliance. This partnership has created stronger neighborhoods by providing improved access to quality employment for lower income residents and has been the catalyst for other regional workforce initiatives. Seen here, (l. to r.) Wilma Harris and Sherrilyn Hicks of OCWB, and OCWB Deputy Director Kelvin Harris, Natalie Meredith, CCWA, Dr. Morrissey, and Elizabeth Creamer, VP of Workforce Development at CCWA.
Lucy Williams, coordinator of the Guaranteed Interview Program at Northern Virginia Community College, was recognized for Outstanding Achievement by a “Rising Star,” a VCCS employee with three years or less with the system. Williams has been with NOVA since Dec. 2021 and launched the school’s program to connect workforce students with potential employers, helping businesses fill open positions and dozens of students to land jobs.
The award for Outstanding Business Partner Success Story spotlights a relationship that promotes industry recognized credentials. This year, it honors Central Virginia Community College and Lynchburg-based Southern Air, a firm that designs, installs and services HVAC, electrical, plumbing and piping systems for commercial clients across three states. CCVA and the firm have formed a growing collaboration to ensure training opportunities for several important NCCER credentials. Seen above (l. to r.) are Jason Ferguson, Jason Clark, Debra Short of CVCC, Paul Denham, Pres/CEO of Southern Air, Dr. Morrissey.
And, the Outstanding Student Success Story award went to a retired Lynchburg police officer who began a successful second career with the help of electrician certifications he earned at his local community college. Danny Couch started taking some basic training at Central Virginia Community College to help him with weekend remodeling projects, but now is on the way to earning four levels of NCCER electrical training….and picked up a trophy and a $1,000 scholarship at the awards banquet.
You can view and download more images from this year’s VCCS Hire Education Conference.