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SVCC

Panther Prep Day Returns April 3, 2018

 
Panther Prep Advising Day is coming to all locations of Southside Virginia Community College on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  This is a great time to meet advisors, learn about SVCC programs register for Summer and Fall Classes and just have some fun and food and fellowship.  The event will be held at the Alberta and Keysville Campuses from 10 until 6 p.m.  Other locations include Southern Virginia Higher Ed. Center in South Boston, the Center in Emporia, The Estes Community Center in Chase City, and Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.  Also, plan to attend this event at the Occupational/Technical Center at Pickett Park in Blackstone from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Don't miss this chance to get the scoop on all you need to know about Southside Virginia Community College.  More information about the college can be seen at www.southside.edu

Technology Event Focus on Women

Anthony Putorek (left) Senior Lead Workforce Development Program Manager for Microsoft is shown with Shanelle Toone, a speaker for the Career Options Event.

Anthony Putorek (left)  Senior Lead Workforce Development Program Manager for Microsoft is shown with Brenda Cross, one of the speakers for the Career Options for Women Interested in Technology Event planned for November 13.

Southside Virginia Community College will sponsor an event “Career Options for Women Interested in Technology” on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center located at 118 East Danville Street, South Hill, VA 23970.  The event will feature dinner at 5:30 p.m. and a panel discussion at 6 p.m. 

The members of the panel are women working in the Information Technology Industry.   Brenda Cross, is a Microsoft scholar and intern working as a data center technician locally, and Shanell Toone, is a cabling technician for IES at the Microsoft Data Center.  These women will offer insight into the program offered through SVCC and career opportunities available for women in this industry.   There will be an overview of career options in the computer and technology fields including Datacenter Networking, Computer Desk Help, Computer Support Specialist, Graphic Design and others. 

Other speakers will include Kathy Brown with Microsoft, Amanda Twisdale with Perspecta, Judy Green with Century Link, Ashley Barrett with Red Hat and moderator Kelly Arnold.   

Please sign up by contacting Kelly Arnold at 434-955-2252 or Kelly.arnold@southside.edu.

Alumni in the Spotlight

By Dr. Al Roberts

One of the most gratifying aspects of my position as President of Southside Virginia Community College is receiving feedback from former students and hearing their stories. SVCC’s first class, which graduated in 1973, consisted of 11 students. The numbers have grown significantly since then, exceeding one thousand in each of the past six years. So far, we’ve accrued more than twenty thousand alumni.

Every week SVCC shines the spotlight on one of these alumni by posting a story about his or her accomplishments on our website. We also mention them on message boards at both main campuses and post the information in hallways as an encouragement to current students. I’d like to tell you about some of these amazing people.

Chris, a Chesterfield native, is an alum of SVCC’s Diesel Technician Training Program. He says, “I obtained a job with Carter Machinery within two weeks of my graduating from the program and have been there for seven-plus years. My income has doubled in that time and I am loving my job.”

Melody earned an Associate of Applied Science in Data processing from SVCC. After graduating, she was hired as an Administrative Assistant by the Commonwealth Regional Council, which serves five counties. Melody now serves as the Council’s Executive Director.

Jamall, who hails from Blackstone, graduated from SVCC’s Power Line Worker program. He currently works for Southside Electric Cooperative and recently competed in the Gaff-n-Go Lineman’s and Equipment Operation Rodeo.

Tara, who graduated from Halifax County High School, pursued a nursing credential through SVCC’s Practical Nursing program. She reports, “Through my training at SVCC, I obtained a good, steady job that I have been employed at for fifteen years!”

LaWanda, a Lawrenceville native, earned an Associate of Applied Science in Human Services along with a Career Studies Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling. She currently works as a program manager for parents and teachers and serves as a mentor. “My experience at SVCC was awesome and inspiring,” LaWanda says. “I felt I could go out into the world and do great things.”

If you’d like to read more about these and other former students featured in the Alumni Spotlight, visit Southside.edu.

Then, as your family and friends gather this year to give thanks for life’s blessings, would you do me a favor? Would you ask if anyone has a story to share about the ways SVCC may have helped them pursue their academic or workforce training goals? And, if you think anyone’s story should be shared with the whole community, please let me know. Send your Alumni Spotlight suggestions to me at al.roberts@southside.edu or call 434-949-1000.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the city of Emporia. He can be reached via email at al.roberts@southside.edu.

Ground Broken for new SVCC Learning Resources Center

Those “breaking ground” for the new building at Southside Virginia Community College's Christanna Campus are (Left to Right) Darren Hayes and Keisha Carr, representing Delegate Roslyn Tyler; Bill Thompson of the architectural firm Thompson and Litton; Senator Frank Ruff; Elizabeth Sharrett, Chair of SVCC Local Board; Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President; Barbara Jarrett-Harris, Chair of the Brunswick County Board of Supervisors; Robbie Pecht, President of the SVCC Foundation Board; and Brandon Spencer, Executive Vice President for Kenbridge Construction.

Since construction is underway on the new, two-level Student and Learning Resources Center on the Christanna Campus of Southside Virginia Community College in Alberta, the College Local Board moved the official groundbreaking October 24, 2018 inside as a symbolic celebration of the new structure. The 45,000 square foot, 12-million-dollar building will be home to the relocated library and will have a performance space, food service area, beautiful student study and lounge areas, a workout room for students and employees and a welcome area. It will also house a career center, a veteran’s center, a credentialing center, and an IT networking and security training laboratory. Existing services to be relocated to the facility include student services, financial aid, admissions and records, and IT Services. The Ground Breaking ceremony was held during the annual board event that included many area partners who work to help SVCC meet its goals. The building is scheduled to be completed in early 2020.

Regional Job Fair Set for Wednesday, November 14, 2018 in Emporia

A Regional Job Fair will be held on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at Southside Virginia Education Center at 1300 Greensville County Circle, Emporia from 9:30 a.m. until 12 Noon.  This is open to all job seekers and admission is free.

Dress to impress and bring copies of your resume, a photo ID and a copy of your WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate (CRC).  This event is sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development and Student Development Services along with Crater Business Services Team. 

Listen to JAMZ 99.5 to hear more and a live remote from the event. 

For information, contact Angela McClintock at 434 949 1026.

SVCC President Announces Retirement for July 2019

When accepting the position as president of Southside Virginia Community College in 2014, Dr. Alfred Allison Roberts committed to serving in this capacity for five years.  As the end of that period approaches, he has announced his plans to retire on July 1, 2019. 

“When I arrived at SVCC 23 years ago, I found the place where my professional values and personal values converged.  Since that time, I have aggressively supported the College’s mission of access and opportunity while serving in a variety of roles,” he said.  “I have done my best to add to the legacy of this great institution and position it for a prosperous future.”

SVCC serves the largest region of any community college in Virginia, a total of 4,200 square miles covering ten counties and the city of Emporia. 

During his tenure, Dr. Roberts has overseen the development of the extremely popular Power Line Worker Program.  He has opened the Center for Information Technology Excellence at Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill and the state-of-the-art welding lab at the Southside Virginia Education Center in Greensville County.  Dr. Roberts has also worked diligently to secure funds for and guide the construction of the new Learning Resources and Student Services Center on the Christanna Campus.   He also established a far-reaching Strategic Plan for the college on the premise of One College, One Mission, a six-year plan for enhanced provision of services to the students and community. 

Perhaps one of his more stellar accomplishments is leading the team for re-accreditation of the college by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). 

Glenn Dubois, Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System said, “Al Roberts began making his mark long before he was a community college president.  A service-minded leader from a family of educators, Al knew that our success is measured one student at a time.  As president, Al made Southside Virginia Community College a leader in workforce development training.  Short-term training opportunities like the colleges’ power line training program—the first in Virginia—are filling critical industry needs while attracting individuals into life-changing careers.  We are grateful for Al’s many contributions and wish him the best in a well-earned retirement.”

Elizabeth B. Sharrett, SVCC Local Board Chair, noted, “Dr. Roberts has served the college and the constituents’ excellently in an earnest and committed manner.  His pursuit of quality in all aspects of the institution are evident and appreciated.  While the college will miss his leadership and resolve, we wish him the best in this well-deserved chapter of his life.”

In his announcement to the college, Dr. Roberts said, “I am sincerely thankful to the Local Board and to VCCS Chancellor DuBois for the opportunity to lead SVCC and for providing support and guidance throughout my tenure. I am equally appreciative of the support and friendship shared with the colleagues of my Southside Virginia Community College family.  It has been an honor to work alongside them in making SVCC the best that it can be.  I am also grateful for the many partnerships and relationships built with the communities of southern Virginia that have allowed us to betterserve this region.”

When he became president, Dr. Roberts was serving as provost of SVCC’s Christanna Campus in Alberta.  He was provost of the John H. Daniel Campus from 2010 to 2012 and prior to that, he was vice president of workforce services at the college.  His career began at SVCC in 1995 when he assumed to role of administrator of student support services.

A national search to hire the next SVCC president will begin in early 2019 and is expected to take six to eight months to complete.

Five Ten Year Service Awards SVCC

Service Awards recognizing college employees celebrating an anniversary of five, ten, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 years were awarded during the Southside Virginia Community College Convocation on August 16,2018. 

Ten Year awards were presented to (Left to Right) Tiffany Slagle of Emporia, Susan Early of Baskerville, Wendy Ezell of South Hill, Russell Hicks of Victoria, LeAnn Ferguson of Charlotte Court House, Jennifer Myrick of Dolphin and Jessica Shelton of Victoria. 

Five Year Awards were presented to (Left to Right) Katherine Clatterbuck of Meherrin, Lisa Jordan of South Hill, Denis McCarthy of Blackstone, Jeremy Parenti of Petersburg, Tonya Talbott of North Dinwiddie.  Those not pictured are Laroya Eanes-Walton of FarmVille, Shayna Kendall-Maxey of South Hill, Erica Randolph of North Dinwiddie, Mary Winfield of Warfield, Scott Edmonds of South Hill, Jeffrey Vance of Howardsville and Dr. Tara Blackwellof Keysville.

 

Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center Offers $99 Mammogram Special* To Encourage Breast Cancer Screening

Emporia, VA – One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. In Virginia, breast cancer is the most frequently occurring cancer for women.**

To encourage more women to take action for their breast health, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) is offering a special to women in October, which is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. SVRMC has teamed up with MDsave to offer $99 mammogram screenings!

Here’s how it works:

  • Get a referral from your physician or healthcare professional
  • Go to mdsave.com/mammogram to purchase your voucher
  • Call SVRMC’s Imaging Center to schedule your mammogram (434) 348-4470
  • Bring our $99 mammogram voucher to your appointment

“Mammograms save lives,” said Dr. Sasa Espino, Board Certified Breast Surgeon with Southside Physicians Network. “Today, thanks to early detection and treatment advances, more women are surviving breast cancer and living longer, healthier lives.”

This program runs now through October 31, 2018 and is for mammogram screenings performed at SVRMC located at 727 North Main St, Emporia, VA 23847. Get Directions.

“The bottom line is, nearly all breast cancers can be treated successfully if found early,” Dr. Espino added. “And the most effective way to detect breast cancer at an early, treatable stage is to have yearly mammograms starting at the age of 40, and to have regular clinical breast exams by a doctor or nurse.”

For women of average risk, the American College of Radiology recommends annual mammograms starting at age 40, with no upper age limit as long as the woman is in good health. Different guidelines apply to women at higher risk.*** A screening mammogram can help detect breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages.

To participate in the $99 mammogram screening promotion, a woman must be age 40 or older and know the date of her last mammogram. Insurance will be charged and only covers one mammogram annually. This is for a digital 2D mammogram screening of both breasts, for women who exhibit no signs or symptoms of any disease, complaint, or abnormality. This also includes computer-aided detection (CAD) of lesions obtained during the mammogram. Medicaid and Medicare participants are not eligible for this promotion.

*This is for a digital 2D mammogram screening of both breasts, for women who exhibit no signs or symptoms of any disease, complaint, or abnormality. This also includes computer-aided detection (CAD) of lesions obtained during the mammogram.

Price Details:

  • Facility fee: technical (equipment) fee for the imaging
  • Physician fee: physician interpretation fee

This MDsave bundled price includes the cost of your procedure and the fees listed above. These fees are for the services most frequently packaged together with this procedure. Any services provided at the time of treatment that are not listed here will not be covered in your purchase. View Details

 

**Breast Cancer statics sourced via https://gis.cdc.gov/Cancer/USCS/DataViz.html

 

***For a list of risk factors and American College of Radiology recommendations, visit www.acr.org.

Appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis. An order from a physician or qualified healthcare provider is required. If the patient does not have a physician/provider, a list will be provided for selection. All mammogram reports will be sent to the physician/provider, and the patient is responsible for follow-up.

Check with your insurance provider to confirm coverage for a screening mammogram.

 

 

 

 

 

SVCC Receives Donation from Abilene Motor Express

Abilene Motor Express recently donated a 53’ trailer to the Truck Driver Training School at Southside Virginia Community College. Abilene was founded in 1986 by the Jones family from Charlotte County.  Their successful business, with its home office in North Chesterfield, is well known and highly regarded all around the United States by the trucking industry.  

Duncan Quicke, Coordinator of SVCC’s Training School said, “Abilene has one of the best maintained and most immaculate fleets on the road today, but their sparkling image goes far beyond their pretty green and gold paint scheme. The Joneses are true ambassadors to the trucking profession, and they treat everyone in the industry like family. We are no exception at the Truck Driver Training School. They provide us with the necessary tools to train our students, and they are actively hiring our graduates. Abilene’s generosity helps us continue to run a quality program and prepare drivers for the trucking industry.” 

Current students of the Truck Driver Training School show off the new trailer.

Justin Owen of Skippers Completes SVCC PLW Program

Justin Owen of Skippers and a graduate of Greensville County High School, completed the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Training Program on September 19, 2018.

The 11-week program provides both classroom and hands-on training in safety, climbing techniques, electrical theory, aerial framing, rigging, Operation Utility Service Equipment and Commercial Driver’s License Training.

SVCC offers the Power Line Worker class in Blackstone Virginia at the Occupational/Technical Center in Pickett Park. For information, southside.edu.

Power Line Worker Students from the eighth class of the SVCC Training Program

Front L-R  Wayne Gates of Petersburg, Chase Simon of Meherrin, George Blackwell of Lunenburg, David Rios of Farmville, Justin Owen of Skippers, Brandon Chumley of Red Oak, Logan Branch of Gladstone, Alex Hite of Kenbridge, Nick Plutro of Carson, Alex Rothgeb of Clarksville, Justin Perez of King George, Brad Wike, Instructor

Back L-R:  Clyde Robertson, Instructor  Adam Ashmore of Disputanta, Charlie Herrin of Oakton, Luke Swanson of Winchester, Nate Trevillian of Monroe, Zac Cavezza of Suffolk, Cole Shornak of Chester, Brian Burch of Crewe, Ian Banker of New Ellenton, SC, Blake Spangler of Salem, and Nick Grigg (Student Instructor)

Building for a Promising Future

By Dr. Al Roberts

Established in 1970, Southside Virginia Community College is one of 23 colleges in the Virginia Community College System. From its humble beginnings, the college has grown to become the leading provider of quality academic and workforce services within the largest community college jurisdiction in our state. The college’s 4,200-square mile service region spans ten counties and also encompasses the city of Emporia.

Meeting the need for education services across such a broad area requires a wide range of diverse options. Consequently, the college serves students from two main campuses, five education centers, and other off-campus sites, as well as through online learning opportunities. The college’s Christanna campus in Alberta currently has six permanent buildings. The John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville has four permanent buildings, including its Learning Resource Center/Student Services building, a 32,700-sqare foot structure completed in 2014. All combined, the college maintains 220,000 square feet of building facilities, 88% of which is allocated for instructional and student use.

And SVCC continues to grow. The college is among the leaders in Virginia’s FastForward workforce credentialing program. Innovative services to help ensure student success continue to be deployed, and connections with area business and industry partners continue to expand.

The college is also growing physically. In September, construction began on a new, two-level Learning Resource Center on the Christanna Campus. The new facility will expand the college’s infrastructure in order to provide exceptional resources for mission-critical activities. When completed in January 2020, the 45,000-square-foot building will house the Christanna Campus library, and it will provide performance space, a food service area, student study and lounge areas, a workout room, and a welcome area. It will also feature a Career Center, a Veterans’ Center, a Credentialing Center, and an IT Training Laboratory. Student services, including financial aid, admissions and records, and IT support, will also be relocated to the new building.

The new Learning Resource Center will play a vital role in the lives of students for semesters and years to come. SVCC offers 23 degrees at the associate level, a host of shorter-term academic and workforce development programs, opportunities for dually enrolled high school students, adult basic education, and other transitional services for non-traditional students. In addition, a comprehensive team of academic advisors, tutors, student services professionals, and counselors are available to help students develop their academic strengths and tackle challenges.

At SVCC, we believe in the transformative power of education to positively impact individual students and the communities we serve. To learn more about how to build your educational future at SVCC, visit the college’s website at Southside.edu or call 434-949-1000. Our team of academic and workforce advisors can help you discover how to create your own promising future.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the city of Emporia. He can be reached via email at al.roberts@southside.edu.

Caring is Cool for this SVCC Alumnus

Hope Alexander’s job is cool because she has spent her entire career caring for others.  There is a quote, “Care for one, that’s love, care for hundreds…. that’s nursing.” 

Alexander started her career at the early age of 16 as a Licensed Practical Nurse who completed the program at Southside Virginia Community College.  Now, she is a full time Family Nurse Practitioner employed by Centra Health Systems. She mainly works out of the Burkeville office. 

She has her own assigned patients and manages chronic and acute conditions. 

As the only female provider in the office she notes, “I so enjoy my calling. I dare not say it’s a job.  Jobs are chores... this is my passion.”

When Alexander isn’t caring for patients Monday through Friday 8:30am to 5pm, she extends herself and works at least two Saturdays a month from 8 am to 12 noon at the Walk-In Urgent Care Center in Farmville, Va.  

Graduating at 16 from Bluestone High School, the Boydton native then attended SVCC and completed the Practical Nursing Program.  She went on to work at Duke University Hospital in the Emergency Department, the Intensive Care Unit working with spinal cord injuries and open-heart surgery patients for five years.

“Then, I came back to SVCC,” she says enthusiastically about receiving her Associate’s Degree in Nursing in 1999.  

During this time, she continued to work at Duke part-time.   

After becoming a Registered Nurse, Alexander worked for Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill (now VCU Health Community Memoria Hospital) and during this time, she also tutored ADN students at SVCC.  Later, she became an adjunct instructor for her alma mater teaching campus lab, drug dosage, health assessment and clinical instruction at the Emporia/Greensville hospital (now Southern Virginia Regional Hospital).  

With no reduction in energy and drive working all these full-time jobs, she continued to be a student.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Liberty University and, a BA in social work and business administration.  In 2011, she completed a Master’s in business education and Leadership through Liberty also.

And then, there is more…she went back for her Nurse Practitioner(NP) in 2015 completing this degree from South University.  An NP is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse who has additional responsibilities for administering patient care than RNs. NPs can prescribe medication, examine patients, diagnose illnesses, and provide treatment, much like physicians do.

And, finally, she completed her Ph.D. from Liberty in psychology. But, there may be more classes out there for Alexander to pursue. 

Also, during all the studying, Alexander was busy being a mom to three children, a daughter and two sons.   People asked why she kept going, kept studying and adding degrees.

“I was hungry for more,” she said. 

The energizer bunny has nothing on Alexander.  At home, she takes care of her family and three chihuahuas and reads in her spare time.

“SVCC gave me my start.  As for my children, failure is not an option and I use myself as an example for them,” she said.    

“I tell them anyone can play a sport, but knowledge is power,” Alexander said.   

Alexander has a powerfully cool job as she takes care of her community every day with enthusiasm, pride and a smile.

She has many mantras that she applies to her life.  One in particular is this, “If you love what you do... you will never work a day in your life.”

Panther Prep Advising Day Coming to SVCC Campuses and Other Locations

Panther Prep Advising Day, a semi-annual event sponsored by Southside Virignia Community College, is happening again on Tuesday, October 2, 1018 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.  The event offers students and prospective college students a chance to sign up for Spring classes,  meet with advisors and other college staff, learn about offerings at the college and relax with some food and entertainment. 

Panther Prep Day will be held on the Christanna Campus in Alberta, John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville, Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston, Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia, The Estes Community Center in Chase City and Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill. 

If you have question, email them to student.services@southside.edu

Virginia’s Community Colleges expand FastForward workforce training in rapidly growing solar energy, heavy construction sectors

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.

COLLEGE DAY AND FOUR YEAR COLLEGE TOUR SET FOR OCTOBER 3

Area eleventh and twelfth-grade high school students and their parents are invited to attend “College Day” at Southside Virginia Community College’s Christanna Campus in Alberta on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.  This is the Regional College Day program for Brunswick, Mecklenburg, and parts of Lunenburg and Nottoway counties.  Second-year students and graduates of two-year college degree programs are also urged to attend.  Over 40 colleges, universities and special schools will be represented.

Institutions that should be represented include Averett University, Barton College, Bluefield College, Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing, Bryant and Stratton-Richmond, Campbell University, Chowan University, Christopher Newport University, College of William and Mary, Concord University, Eastern Mennonite University, Emory and Henry College, Ferrum College, George Mason University,  Hampden-Sydney College, Hampton University, James Madison University, Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Johnson & Wales University, Liberty University,   Mary Baldwin College, Mid-Atlantic Christian University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina Wesleyan College,  Old Dominion University, Old Dominion University On Line, Pfeiffer University, Radford University,  Regent University, Shenandoah University, Southside College of Health Sciences, Southside Virginia Community College, The Apprentice School, University of Mary Washington, Sweet Briar College, University of Lynchburg, University of Virginia, University of Virginia at Wise, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia State University, Virginia Tech, Virginia Wesleyan College and Winson-Salem State University.  Also attending will be a representative for the Virginia Tobacco Region Scholarship.  For more information about “College Day” contact the Admissions Office at SVCC’s Christanna Campus at 434-949-1014.

Back to School

By Dr. Al Roberts

Fall is in the air, and students are back to work. The hallways at Southside Virginia Community College teem with a mix of new and familiar faces as faculty members guide students who are taking the next steps along their education pathways.

Some familiar faces are absent, however. Last year’s graduates have moved on. Some entered the workforce and some are walking different halls, continuing their academic pursuits at other institutions. Follow-up surveys of graduates indicate that more than half of SVCC students use their time at the community college to prepare for transfer to a four-year, baccalaureate-awarding institution.

One former student, for example, continued his studies through the Art Institute’s Game Design program. He is now working full time as a game developer for a company in Florida. A recent graduate from the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia is currently enrolled in Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. SVCC graduates, including former dually enrolled students and traditional college students, are attending Virginia Tech, Harvard, Yale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Radford, George Mason, VCU, VSU, Norfolk State, Old Dominion, Mary Baldwin, Hampden-Sydney, Ferrum, Lynchburg College, Liberty, Longwood, Clemson, University of North Carolina, Spelman …. The list goes on and on.

Matt Dunn, a transfer counselor, explains some of the benefits of beginning a postsecondary education path at a community college, “When it comes to successfully completing a bachelor’s degree, transfer students have a higher graduation rate.” He also notes, “All of the community colleges in Virginia have agreements with most of the state’s public and private four-year colleges and universities. In addition to these, SVCC maintains agreements with others. With sufficient GPA, in-state acceptance is virtually guaranteed at public and private colleges in the state.” This is because graduates who earn an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree and meet minimum grade point averages, which are set individually by the receiving institution, are guaranteed to be accepted as long as they meet application deadlines. Furthermore, they receive junior-class status, which satisfies all lower level general education requirements.

During their time at SVCC, Dunn says students learn about a variety of topics and discover the niches they find most satisfying. “They use their time here to cultivate and grow their interests. Students investigate college and career pathway options aligned with their strengths and personalities. Some discover aptitudes in areas they never previously explored.”

For students interested in transferring to four-year institutions, SVCC offers one-on-one or group transfer counseling, four-year college campus fairs and visits, and membership in the Transfer Club.  For more information on how to effectively streamline your educational journey and maximize your potential future opportunities, contact Matt Dunn, Transfer Counselor, at 434-736-2020 or matt.dunn@southside.edu.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the city of Emporia. He can be reached via email at al.roberts@southside.edu.

 

Southside Virginia Community College Donates Bikes to Lawrenceville

Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) recently donated some bicycles to the Lawrenceville Police Department(LPD) for use in their patrols.  The college used the bikes for awhile but saw a need at a local department and decided to donate them.  LPD Chief Everett Gibson said his department has three officers, plus himself,  certified through the International Police Mountain Bike Association to patrol with bikes and others will train as well.  The bikes will be used to patrol events and throughout the town.  The college also donated a Firearms Training Simulator to the Emporia Police Department.  Shown at the donation are(Left to Right) LPD Assistant Chief J.T. Stith, Chief Everette Gibson and Dr. Alfonzo Seward, SVCC Administration of Justice Associate Professor. 

Welding Class Beginning Oct. 8

Welders are in demand and Southside Virginia Community College is offering training through its Welding Skills Certification Program.  The class begins Monday,  October 8, 2018 at Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia, Virginia. The class will run through January 16, 2019 and meet four days a week from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. 

The class utilizes the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER).  Financial Aid may be available through FastForward and those completing the course receive credentials. 

Don’t miss this great opportunity to better your future job skills.  Call 434 634 9358 or email Erica.andrews@southside.edu

REMEMBERING REEKES BY PLAYING HIS GAME

Members of the Freddie Reekes Memorial Golf team are shown at the Southside Virginia Community College Foundation's Annual Golf Tournament at Lake Gaston Golf Club.  They are (Left to Right) Ken Peace, David Talbert, Ryan Henry and Shep Moss

Freddie Reekes was memorable.  The definition of the word memorable is ‘worth remembering or easily remembered, especially because of being special.’

Freddie was a coach, a mentor, a friend, a teacher, a golfer, a dad, a husband, a grandpa, an all-around good guy. Four men who share memories of Reekes renewed their bond at a 30th high school reunion.  They have continued their reconnected friendship and recently decided to honor Reekes by playing golf in the Southside Virginia Community College Foundation Golf tournament named for him.

In 2008, Bobby Wrenn of Emporia and Reekes of Lawrenceville coordinated the 1st Annual Foundation Scholarship Golf Classic.  Funds raised through the event support student scholarships.    The SVCC Foundation Board voted to rename the annual golf tournament the Fred "Freddie" Reekes Memorial Scholarship Golf Classic, after he passed away on May 7, 2017.  Freddie spent 40 plus years in education.  He taught in the Brunswick County Public Schools and later recruited students to SVCC. He was also a legendary basketball coach for both girls and boys at Brunswick.  In addition to being an educator, Freddie was an avid golfer and his team, "Old Coach", was a consistent participant in the Golf Classic.

Reekes was an integral part of making the tournament successful for many years, even helping after he retired from SVCC.

Shep Moss, Ken Peace, David Talbert and Ryan Henry were students of Reekes in driver’s education and played on the golf team at Brunswick Senior High School that he coached.  Interestingly, the high school golf team at the time played at the same course that now hosts the SVCC Tournament, the Lake Gaston Golf Club in Gasburg.

Moss remembers traveling to play and practice in the old, beat-up station wagon that served as the activity bus for the golf team.  He remembered that the late Donnie Bane Clary also coached the team. 

About their decision to play in this year’s tournament, “We wanted to do something to honor Freddie, he was our mentor and even after we got out of school, we kept the relationship with Freddie through the years,” Moss said. 

The team played in the 2018 tournament and, did not win but came close, Moss said.  The team played wearing baseball caps that honored Reekes by sporting a bulldog emblem (mascot of Brunswick High) and the name of the tournament; all in bulldog blue and gray, of course.

Another player, Henry noted, “I played in the tournament because I felt it was the least I could do to support the cause.  Freddie was a father figure and mentor to many of us growing up in Brunswick County.  His constant encouragement pushed us to want to be the very best at whatever we did in sports and more importantly…in life.”

The four men all celebrate or have celebrated their 50th birthdays this year.  They have tried to get together for those celebrations.  Moss now lives in South Hill, Talbert and Peace in Richmond and Henry in Virginia Beach.   They plan for this event to become an annual get together for them and a way to remember a man who made a difference in their lives.   

“Noël!” Christmas Is Coming!

Announcing the news that the Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) Chorus will begin its fall rehearsals on Sunday, September 9, 2018 6:00-8:00PM at South Hill Presbyterian Church, 914 Mecklenburg Ave., South Hill, VA  23970. The SVCC Chorus concert will be held on Sunday, December 9th in South Hill and will also include another venue to be announced.

The music for this season is inspired by French Christmas carols using Noëls and Glorias of the angels. The Star lights the night sky for the Three Wise Men as they seek the way to the stable. Lighter holiday music is also included: such as, “Winter Wonderland” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with other favorites. Instrumentalists will include cello, violin and flute. Other soloists and a variety of settings with instruments and voices will complete a delightful program. Carol Henderson is the director and Sally Tharrington is the pianist.

The SVCC Chorus appreciates the support of both the SVCC College and the SVCC College Foundation which allows this chorus to continue sharing music with the community. Most recently in April 2018, the SVCC Chorus presented two (2) exceptional concerts in South Hill and Clarksville, featuring a string quartet, string bass, flute, commissioned music and a visit from stringed instrument maker, Paul Becker of Chicago.

This musical variety of choral music provided by the SVCC Chorus is a welcome addition for the community in Southern Virginia. Comments from attendees in April 2018:

“ [I appreciate the] “diligence…to bring such a professional concert to our community,”

“the angelic voices of the ladies chorus accompanied by the strings created a sacred moment for me.”

“ [The SVCC Chorus is] truly bringing culture to Southside Virginia”.

“highlight [of the concert for me] was the variety of smaller groups…Sally playing…females singing…strings performing alone, solos, etc.”

Perhaps you would like learn some new holiday music and sing Noels and Christmas Glorias with the fine voices of the SVCC Chorus! The SVCC Chorus will begin its fall rehearsals on Sunday, September 9th at 6:00 PM at the South Hill Presbyterian Church. Registration is $20.00 payable to SVCC. For more info please contact: carol.henderson60@gmail.com.

“Noël!” Christmas Is Coming!

Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) Chorus

Rehearsals Begin: Sunday, September 9th at 6:00

South Hill Presbyterian Church
914 N. Mecklenburg Ave
South Hill, VA  23970

Registration Fee due at your first Rehearsal: $20.00

No Auditions

All music included!

For more Info Contact: carol.henderson60@gmail.com or louise.ogburn@southside.edu

Microsoft Graduates First Group of Apprentices at Boydton, VA Datacenter

Anthony Putorek -Microsoft,Wendell Walker-DOL, James Rutherford-SVCC, Harley Ficke-DCC, Kelly Arnold-SVCC and Patricia Morrison-DOL

Inside Microsoft’s Boydton, Virginia, datacenter, cloud storage is racking up. While new expansion is flourishing outside, inside a new workforce training model is also racking up transformations. The datacenter adopted the apprenticeship model as the framework for training their network technicians. For the Microsoft datacenter network technicians, the apprenticeship model is producing results. The success of the apprenticeship model stems from the ability to marry educational instruction with on-the-job training (OJT).

Recently, two Microsoft datacenter employees, James Rutherford and Harley Ficke, successfully completed the two-year training program for Network Support Technician. In doing so, they completed six educational classes and worked 4000 hours of OJT. For their accomplishment, Microsoft held an awards ceremony where Patricia Morrison, Director of Registered Apprenticeship, and Wendell Walker, Apprenticeship Representative from the Department of Labor (DOL), spoke about James and Harley’s outstanding work. Both received a nationally recognized journeyman’s card, apprenticeship certificate, and a commemorative plaque from Microsoft.

Anthony Putorek, Lead Global Datacenter Field and Community Program Manager, spoke on Microsoft’s commitment to training. At the awards ceremony, Mr. Putorek stated, “This is the first datacenter facility to adopt the apprenticeship model for training. And because of the positive results we have seen here, we will replicate this program at our other US datacenters."

In the US, apprenticeship conjures the thoughts of skilled labor training, not a model of training for the high-tech computer world. So, when Microsoft looked locally for training programs, Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) and Danville Community College (DCC) presented the apprentice framework as a solution. With an American Apprenticeship Initiative (AAI) grant from the DOL, funding for the educational component of the program was 100 percent covered. The objective of this grant was to train and up-skill the local workforce, which directly benefits Microsoft’s workforce - all 32 registered apprentices are working on completing the network support technician certification. 

Through the implementation process, Microsoft worked with Kelly Arnold, Apprenticeship Coordinator for SVCC, and Phil Baughman, DCC’s coordinator, to create a profile of the exact educational classes necessary for each apprentice. Through seated and on-line community college classes, each apprentice took classes that helped them achieve certifications in A+, Network +, Server + and Cisco.

Making recommendations and helping the employees select the correct coursework was necessary for them to be successful. As the program rolled out, Arnold stressed to each apprentice how these classes allowed them to receive college credit and industry recognized certifications, which easily builds into an Associate’s Degree in Networking. In the IT datacenter world, certifications are important. But for career pathways, small steps-six classes in this case, all enhance career potential.

For SVCC, Microsoft has helped build and outfit the new CITE (Center for Information Technology) lab in South Hill, VA. Microsoft donated racks of servers allowing the instructors who teach Networking classes to have real-world equipment to teach and clarify various scenarios. This lab now serves dual-enrollment high school students in the morning and adult learners, including apprentices, in the evening.

For many IT companies, mapping the bytes and bits necessary to train their employees can be a real challenge. Oftentimes, a simple plan can be overlooked, but for Microsoft, partnering with the community college and combining that with OJT, which is the apprenticeship model, was a logical choice.

Teachers Needed for Tomorrow

By Dr. Al Roberts

Nationwide, schools are experiencing a scarcity of qualified job candidates for teaching positions. Declining enrollment in programs that prepare students for licensure as teachers is one cause. According to a report issued by the Learning Policy Institute, enrollments in teacher education programs dropped by 35% between 2009 and 2014. This decline represents a decrease of nearly a quarter of a million potential teachers.The impact on school districts across the nation varies considerably. The Learning Policy Institute report noted, “Students in high-poverty and high-minority settings bear the brunt of teacher shortages. Considerable evidence shows that shortages historically have disproportionately impacted our most disadvantaged students and that those patterns persist today.”

These quandaries are very much apparent here in Southside Virginia. Data compiled by the Virginia Department of Education indicates that we have the highest percent of unfilled teaching positions. Paul Nichols, Superintendent of Mecklenburg County Public Schools, says, “We have classrooms of all subject areas that are difficult to find teachers to fill. However, our greatest need is in math and science. Close to 10% of the math and science classrooms in Southern Virginia are in need of a qualified teacher. Career and Technical teachers are also very hard to find.”

One proposed solution is to provide an opportunity for career professionals in other areas to obtain the credentials necessary to teach in Virginia’s classrooms. Virginia’s Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure Program is designed to do just that.  To help support this effort, Southside Virginia Community College has developed a list of the general education courses required for teachers. Potential teachers who have graduated from a four-year college but lack some of the required courses, can pick up their missing credits at SVCC.

Another potential solution is to encourage local high school students to consider careers in education.  With this in mind, the Virginia Department of Education developed a program called “Teachers for Tomorrow,” which provides opportunities for high school juniors and seniors to receive career information, pursue dual enrollment credits, and participate in field trips where they can observe classrooms and gain teaching experience before they head off to college.

For students considering the teaching profession, SVCC offers an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree in Education. The degree is designed for students who want to begin their academic journeys at a low-cost, close-to-home institution and then transfer to a four-year college or university to complete a baccalaureate program. In addition, for people interested in working with young children, SVCC also offers an Early Childhood Programs Career Studies Certificate.If you are interested in learning more about preparing for a teaching career, contact Dr. Dixie Dalton, SVCC’s Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Business (dixie.dalton@southside.edu or call 434-949-1053).

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the city of Emporia. He can be reached via email at al.roberts@southside.edu.

Apprenticeship Builds People at Toll Brothers

Apprenticeship students were recently recognized at Toll Brothers' awards dinner.Apprentices in the front row: Steven Brown, Calvin Terry, Rene’ Gutierrez, Timothy King, and Chad Patton, SVCC Dean of Career and Occupational Technology. Back Row, Kelly Arnold, SVCC Apprenticeship Coordinator,Jerry Irby, Chris Johnson, Toll Brothers' Plant Manager, Rickey Hall, Maynard Stowe, Department of Labor, Mike Wells.

Toll Brothers, a luxury home builder, is not only building component parts in their Emporia production facility but also building and investing in their employees. For Toll Brothers, the investment in people is a priority, and one way they chose to build people is through the Apprenticeship model of training. Toll Brothers’ Chris Johnson, Plant Manager,  partnered with Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) apprenticeship coordinator, Kelly Arnold, to implement the apprenticeship program for training machine operators with the end goal of helping them become Industrial Maintenance Technicians.

The college’s proposal to Toll Brothers was simple; begin educational training one night a week for one year and couple that with 2000 hours (1 year) of on the job training. Although a slow and steady process, this proved to be a doable training model for employees who work 40+ hours per week and have family commitments.

Conveniently, SVCC’s Southside Virginia Education Center location in Greensville County  was outfitted with electrical training equipment, and six eager employees became college students. As the need grew for training, Dr. Chad Patton, Dean of Career and Occupational Studies, and Erica Andrews, SVCC’s site coordinator, helped bring the training lab to life.

The Toll apprentices embraced the educational task with gusto and worked hard to learn. For some this was the first time taking a college level class. The students were determined to finish the three classes, complete the on-the-job component, and earn the Department of Labor credential for Machine Operator.

These students finished their goal and learned what they needed to learn.   Their accomplishments were recognized on Wednesday night, July 18, at the company’s award dinner. Johnson and Maynard Stowe, DOL apprenticeship representative, presented their certificates with family and friends cheering for them.

In Johnson’s opening remarks, he stated, “We have tried many training programs, but the apprenticeship program, by far, has been the most successful for our facility.”

Each apprentice logged the hours, studied, and worked hard, but the simple plan is producing results; results that make a difference to them individually and results that are making a difference at Toll Brothers. While each earned their certificate for machine operator, they immediately turned around and registered to begin the same simple process to earn their Industrial Maintenance Technician apprenticeship certifications.

Starting in the fall semester at SVCC,  the Toll students will walk into a newly outfitted Industrial Maintenance lab. This new lab is a partnership between CCAM in Richmond, SVCC, and a grant from Go Virginia along with Greensville County and the city of Emporia. State of the art trainers now occupy two rooms with wall to wall equipment all ready for students to roll up their sleeves and learn electrical, mechanical, pneumatics and hydraulics, the core of mechatronics training.

For Toll Brothers, let the building of luxury homes continue, but most importantly, for the people of Southside Virginia, let the building up of people be the cornerstone of what drives our community. If you are interested in learning more about the lab in Emporia or Apprenticeship, contactErica Andrews at 434-634-9358 erica.andrews@southside.eduor Kelly Arnold at Kelly.arnold@southside.edu 434-579-7260.

June, 2018 SVCC Truck Driving Graduates

Southside Virginia Community College Truck Driver Training School Graduates from the Emporia class on June 14, 2018 are

Front Row L-R:  Donnie Sisk (Instructor), Isreal Stith (Lawrencevile), Mark Shinn (Virginia Beach); Back Row L-R:  Doug Kemerer (Instructor), Wilson Treese (Instructor), Kyle Hornung (Virginia Beach), Kirtwood Squire (Gaston, NC), Ronald Tucker (Lawrenceville), David Porter (Kenbridge), Adam Hoffman (Guest Speaker and Recruiter for TMC), Duncan Quicke (TDTS Coordinator.  For information, call 434 292 3101.

SVCC Massage Therapy Class Coming to Chase City

Massage Therapy is being offered through Southside Virginia Community College beginning August 28, 2018 at the Estes Community Center in Chase City, Virginia.  Now is the time to sign up for this year-long class that leads to a rewarding career. 

Call today to register and learn more about possible financial assistance.  Classes will meet two nights a week, Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m.  Call Wanda Vaughan for more information at 434 736 2093 or email Wanda.vaughan@southside.edu

Power Line Worker Information Session

Power Line Workers are in demand and information about becoming one will be offered on Thursday, August 30, 2018 at 6 p.m. at the Officer’s Club at Pickett Park, 3951 Military Road, Blackstone.  Learn about admission requirements, schedule, cost, housing, job prospects and scholarships.  This has become a popular program and was the first PLW school in Virginia.  

Register at powerlineworker@southside.edu in order to attend.  Pizza will be served.

CITE Open House is August 2 ***Tomorrow***

Please note the change of date. This event is actually August 2.

Plan now to attend the Open House of the Center for Information Technology Excellence (CITE) on Tuesday, August 2, 2018 at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center at 118 East Danville Street, South Hill, Virginia from 5 to 7 p.m.  Take this opportunity to view the state-of-the-art training laboratory enhancing workforce readiness for jobs in IT.

The lab offers both high school dual enrollment students and adult evening students the opportunity to train as IT technicians while earning both college credit and the ability to earn CompTIA certifications.

This field encompasses the application of computers to securely store, study, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data or information, often in the context of a business or other enterprise. The lab simulates the work environment of large data centers such as Microsoft and Hewlett Packard.

Curriculum is based on a proven program that targets a gap between education supply and occupational demand.  The Career Studies Certificate received upon successful completion is Networking and Computer Support.  It is an 18-hour credit program.

For information, contact Chad Patton at 434-949-1038.

Walker Making The Most of Opportunity at SVCC

The often-used adage, life begins at 40 is something Angela Walker takes to heart.  Of course, she had a full life up to this point but at 41, she decided to complete her studies at Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC).  In December, she will receive dual degrees in Criminal Justice and Human Services, a payoff to her hard work and determination to succeed.

She embraces the fact that she is a non-traditional student.   Walker represents about half of the seven characteristics of a non-traditional student; which include, delayed enrollment into postsecondary education; attends college part-time; works full time; is financially independent for financial aid purposes; has dependents other than a spouse; is a single parent; or does not have a high school diploma.

Recently, she “starred” in a radio commercial for the college talking about her experience of going back to school.  She tells the audience, “It is never too late, my experience at SVCC has been fantastic and I have received work promotions since going back to school.”

Walker works at Greensville Correctional Center and has been there for 21 years.  She is the Executive Secretary to the Warden Senior.  Working full time, she is allotted education leave that enables her to work on some of her classes.    

A single parent, Walker has raised a son who now attends college and he will be graduating in May 2019 from Bluefield College. 

She advises others by reminding them that knowledge is the key to success.

Earning a degree is a milestone for anyone, she said. 

“Having this ability to grow in your career makes me proud and feel accomplished,” she said.

And, even though the end of these degrees is in sight, her educational goals will not end there.  Working towards a Bachelor’s degree is in her near future, she said.

There should be no barriers to people interested in furthering their education.  At SVCC, there are many people in place to make the pathway smoother despite age, financial situation, and other circumstances, so stop making excuses and make the first step to further your education. 

Keeping Your Cool

By Dr. Al Roberts

As temperatures outside rise, indoor thermostats often respond by calling for cooler air. This ability to control the indoor environment helps people be more comfortable. It protects infants, children, medically vulnerable individuals, and the elderly from heat-related illnesses. It enables workers to be more productive.

In our current age, air conditioning is something many folks take for granted. To address this blasé attitude, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry observes Air Conditioning Appreciation Days every year from July 3 to August 15.

But how does one show appreciation to an air conditioner? One way is to learn how it works and how it all began.

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) offers a simplified explanation: A chemical (called the refrigerant) circulates through a closed system that includes three main components where the refrigerant is compressed, condensed, and evaporated. During the process, the refrigerant undergoes changes in pressure and temperature. This enables indoor heat to be absorbed and transferred to the outdoor environment.

The process of cooling the air also accomplishes other tasks. Filters can reduce allergens and other airborne particulates, helping people with allergies or other respiratory problems breathe more comfortably. Also, in addition to removing heat, the process reduces humidity. In fact, air conditioning was invented in 1902 by Willis Haviland Carrier originally as a means to reduce humidity in a printing plant. Cooling was a by-product.

Another way to appreciate your air conditioner is to keep it well maintained. Industry experts offer these tips: replace air filters on a regular schedule; use fans to help circulate air; cover windows with curtains or blinds; and run appliances that generate heat, such as ovens, washers and dryers, and dishwashers, during the evening.

When things go awry, you can call on qualified HVAC technicians, the superheroes of sweltering summer days. HVAC technicians are trained to restore your cool and help AC equipment to operate at peak efficiency.

The demand for HVAC technicians is high across our state and nation, and qualified job candidates can earn above-average wages. Southside Virginia Community College offers two fast-track career studies programs for students wishing to embark on careers in the HVAC industry, a Basic program and an Advanced program. Both are housed at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill. The HVAC curriculum offers students the opportunity to learn how to install and repair residential and commercial HVAC systems. A solar component teaches students how a heat pump powered by solar panels can cool a house and reduce homeowners’ cooling bills.

For more information about entry into HVAC or other technical career pathways, call Chad Patton, SVCC’s Dean of Career and Occupational Technology, at 434-949-1038.

Dr. Al Roberts is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the city of Emporia. He can be reached via email at al.roberts@southside.edu.

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