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Estate/inside yard sale, May 18-19, 7 am to 3 pm at 966 Doyles Lake Road, Emporia, rain or shine

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

New Nurses Pinned

Southside Virginia Community College held at Pinning Ceremony for those successfully completing the Associate Degree Nursing Program.  This program prepares students to become Registered Nurses.  Those who attended classes at the Christanna Campus are: 

1st row left to right:  Brandi Harrell of Baskerville, Beth Holloway Elliott of Freeman;2nd row left to right: Demetria Anderson of Blackstone, Amber Miles of Blackstone, Patricia Rice of Emporia;3rd row left to right: Emily Watts of Gasburg, Victoria Finch of South Hill, Julie Thi Nguyen-Powell of Emporia, Allison Cheely of Blackstone.

Answering a Call for Help

By Dr. Al Roberts

It starts with a call for help. When an incident causes serious illness or injury, someone makes a phone call. Each occurrence is different. There are traffic-related injuries, workplace accidents, heart attacks, strokes, falls, and countless other events that place life and limb at risk.

After the call, emergency vehicles respond. Every time I pull over to let an ambulance dash on its way, the occasion reminds me to be thankful for the comprehensive system that exists to ensure that urgent medical care arrives when and wherever it is needed.

In years gone by, the situation was different. The Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association explains “The system we have in place today was forged one link at time, dating as far back as the Civil War. With widespread trauma, a systematic and organized method of field care and transport of the injured was born out of necessity. It wasn’t until 1865, however, that the first civilian ambulance was put into service in Cincinnati.”

Our nation’s first independent, volunteer rescue squad was established in Roanoke, Virginia in 1928. Virginia’s first EMT-paramedics were certified in 1976. Today, the existence of emergency personnel waiting to be called into action is so ubiquitous that their presence is easy to take for granted.

To help raise awareness, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and the American College of Emergency Physicians work together in support of National EMS Week to recognize the contributions of personnel who bring pre-hospital care to people in need. This year, National EMS Week will be observed on May 20-26. On behalf of the faculty, staff, and students of SVCC, I offer these dedicated practitioners a wholehearted “Thank you” in recognition of all they do to safeguard the wellbeing of people across our communities.

Beyond giving thanks, I also feel a sense of pride. Many of the men and women who serve as EMTs and paramedics across the counties that comprise Southside Virginia received their training from programs at SVCC. As Bobby Lester, one of the College’s Emergency Medical Technician instructors explains, “The EMS program is vital to the community because it provides an avenue for our students to provide care to the citizens of our local community. Many of our students become volunteer members at local EMS and fire departments.”

Ricky Lyles, Instructor of Fire Science and Emergency Medical Services, wants prospective students to know, “SVCC offers a comprehensive slate of courses to prepare students for EMS careers.” These include four Career Studies Certificates and an Associate’s degree in Emergency Medical Services.

If you want to be prepared to answer someone’s call for help, you can contact Ricky Lyles (ricky.lyles@southside.edu or 434-736-2097) or Bobby Lester (bobby.lester@southside.edu or 434-949-6603) for more information.

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.

April 2018 Truck Driver Training Graduates

Southside Virginia Community College graduated a new class from the Truck Driver Training School on April 19, 2018.  They are

 
Front L-R:  Roger Gholson (Carson), Burt Hurdle (Victoria), Spencer Croner (Pamplin), Darius Jones (Farmville).Back L-R:  Donnie Sisk (Instructor), Doug Kemerer (Instructor), Wilson Treese (Instructor), Thomas McIntyre (Burkeville), Richard Alley, Jr. (Amelia), Byron Moody (Blackstone), Duncan Quicke (TDTS Coordinator) and Don Biggerstaff (Guest Speaker and ATA Road Team Captain, Utility Driver for ABF Freight System, Inc.)

New Inductees into the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society at SVCC

The Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society is an organization of scholars that exists to recognize and encourage scholarship among students in community and junior colleges. New inductees to this society from Southside Virginia Community College are:

Front row L-R Austin Hancock, Ryan Craighead, Destiny Morgan, Stephanie Apruzzese, Ametria Booker, Robin Falwell, Karen Anderson, Jonathan Byron, Na'shiyaa Robertson, Trent Pettus, Amanda Lenning, Teri McCall; and Back row L-R Dean Dr. Dixie Dalton (Congratulating the new inductees), Doralease Jackson, Sinclair Hargrave, Katie Clark, Nidhi Brahmbhatt, Amanda Pierre, Patrick Fowler, Haley Overton, Chyna Levy, Jalynn Hicks, Salima Wasi, Jessica Laws, Haniya Thomas, Emily DavisI

SVCC Nursing Program Wins Excellence in Education Award

The Southside Virginia Community College  Associate Degree Nursing Program's Student Success Initiative 'Team Up To Dream Up! ' received the Virginia Community College System Excellence in Education Award at the New Horizons Conference.   Dr. Michelle Edmonds (Left), Dean of Nursing, Allied Health and Natural Sciences is shown with SVCC President Dr. Al Roberts (Right).  SVCC won in the category of Integrated Student Support.

May 2018 SVCC Diesel Technology Program Graduates

The Diesel Technology program of Southside Virginia Community College held a graduation ceremony  on May 3, 2018 to recognize students who completed the two semester program and received a Career Studies Certificate for that accomplishment.  Those completing the program are First Row, Left to Right:Jacob Craven (Dundas), Kevin Matthews (Wakefield), Nick Cundiff (Midlothian), Chase Canter (Gold Vein), James Johnson (Lynchburg).Second Row, L to R:Greyson Hensley (Crewe), Jared Warren (Farmville), Bryan Lewis (Instructor), Thomas Parrish (Blackstone), Tyler Johnson (Burkeville), Travis Weston (Red Oak),  Justin Irving (Spring Grove), Jacob Monger (Prince George), Russ Hicks (Instructor), Billy McGraw (Instrutor).Back Row, L to R: Dillon Harvey (Gladys), Malik Ellsworth (Emporia), Jacob Walker (Smithfield), Nolin Watkins (Chesterfield), William Chilton (Moseley).

Community College Philanthropists Honored with 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy

L to R:  Dr. Glen DuBois,Chancellor for Virginia Community Colleges; Midge Coward and Emily Coward, board members of Laughing Gull Foundation; Latrisha McCargo, Dr. Tara Blackwell, &  Dr. Al Roberts representing SVCC

 

Richmond– The Laughing Gull Foundation has received the 13th Annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. The progressive family foundation proud of its’ commitment to justice was nominated for the award by Southside Virginia Community College.

More than two dozen individuals, families, and businesses from around Virginia have earned the 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. The awards were presented at a luncheon ceremony in Richmond on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018.

Hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE), the 13th annual event honors leading philanthropists from each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges as well as the statewide foundation. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of $6 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Laughing Gull Foundation is a progressive family foundation proud of its’ commitment to justice.  As a steadfast advocate of higher education in prison, the Southside Virginia Community College’s Campus Within Walls(CWW) program appealed to the Foundation.  Targeting higher education in prisons, LGF aimed to increase access to credit-bearing college courses for incarcerated individuals.  Beginning in 2015, LGF awarded scholarships to incarcerated men at the Lunenburg Correctional Center who were involved in the CWW program. Recently, the group awarded additional funding to hire a coordinator to keep the program operational. 

Keynote speaker Paul Koonce, executive vice president & president and chief executive officer with the Power Generation Group, Dominion Energy, called the community college system “one of Virginia’s greatest inventions.” He also borrowed a passage from a 1903 Teddy Roosevelt speech to underscore the invaluable connection between higher education and opportunity.

“’Far and away, the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. Our purpose (as donors) is to make sure that prize – meaningful work – the best prize that life offers, remains within reach of every Virginian.’”

Recipients of the 2018Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy:

  • BLUE RIDGE: Mr. and Mrs. L. Ronald Smith
  • CENTRAL VIRGINIA: Wells Fargo Bank- Lynchburg Region
  • DABNEY S. LANCASTER: Temple Baptist Church and Ovella Worsham Estate
  • DANVILLE: Anita J. Wyatt
  • EASTERN SHORE: Virginia Space and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport
  • GERMANNA: Ed C. Dalrymple, Jr.
  • J SARGEANT REYNOLDS: The Lipman Foundation
  • JOHN TYLER: Mr. J. Richard and Mrs. Jeannine Commander
  • LORD FAIRFAX: Nick and Kathy Nerangis
  • MOUNTAIN EMPIRE: Donna Stanley
  • NEW RIVER: Eddie and Kathy Hale
  • NORTHERN VIRGINIA: Northrop Gumman
  • PATRICK HENRY: The Martinsville Speedway and the Campbell Family
  • PAUL D CAMP: Mrs. June Fleming                 
  • PIEDMONT: Wendy Brown
  • RAPPAHANNOCK: Northern Neck Electric Cooperative
  • SOUTHSIDE VA: The Laughing Gull Foundation                                   
  • SOUTHWEST VA: Dr. Charles R. King
  • THOMAS NELSON: Continental Automotive Systems, Inc.
  • TIDEWATER: Elizabeth River Crossings, LLC, The Landmark Foundation
  • VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS: First Bank and Trust Company
  • VIRGINIA WESTERN: Friendship Health & Living
  • WYTHEVILLE: Charles G. Crockett
  • VFCCE: Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Whitt

Spring 2018 SVCC Nurse Aid Graduates

Nurse Aide graduates who attended classes sat Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia through Southside Virginia Community College.  Students are from Brunswick, Greensville, Emporia,Mecklenburg and Petersburg areas.  

First row left to right:Montia Monea´ Gray,Lakesha Danielle Claiborne,Crystal Joy Gillus,Josie Vivian Gordon,Brenda Thompson,Ashley Necole Simpkins,Shavon Yvette Barner, and Natasha Eveliz Ayala.Second/back row left to right: Linda Diane Owen,Jermarus Donnell Cabbins,LaQuechia Qwanchia Carey,Alexus Octavia Parrish,Princess Callie Ellies Rawlings,Gracie Baskerville,Christine Michell Cooper andBrandon Aaron Scott

Keeping Athletes in the Game is A Cool Job for this SVCC Alum

Lannie Hales’ job is cool because she gets paid to attend sporting events.  As the athletic trainer for East Carolina University’s Cross Country/Track and Field team, she attends events in the fall, winter and spring to keep her athletes healthy throughout their seasons.  Athletic trainers are highly qualified, multi-skilled health care professionals who collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions.  Athletic trainers are licensed as health care professionals in about 48 of the 50 states in the USA.

Not surprisingly, Hales got her higher education start at Southside Virginia Community College.  Since her mom (Christie Hales) has worked full time for the college since before Lannie’s birth, it was just a natural pathway to follow.

Her first classes at SVCC began as a ninth grader at Brunswick High School through the Dual Enrollment Program.  As a junior, she was accepted into the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia and attended morning classes at the Christanna Campus in Alberta for two years. 

In May of 2012, Hales received her Associate’s degree from SVCC a month before her high school graduation.

For the next move in her career path, she registered at James Madison University, a school she chose because she could major in Athletic Training.    With plenty of credits to transfer, she began at JMU as a sophomore and started taking the pre-requisite classes necessary for acceptance into the prestigious program. 

Hales was overjoyed to learn she had been chosen for the program that only accepts 18 students each year.  For the next two years, Hales studied the necessary classes, observed athletic trainers in the field for over 1000 hours and assisted in the health care and rehabilitation of athletes at Eastern Mennonite University and JMU. 

One of the greatest opportunities was working with JMU Softball in 2014, highlighted by being in the dugout during the Colonial Athletic Association Championship game and travelling with the team to the University of Kentucky at Lexington for the NCAA regionals.

While a senior at JMU, Hales researched and applied to programs offering Graduate Assistantships in athletic training.  She landed a full scholarship to North Carolina State University where she practiced clinically as an athletic trainer and went to school for the next two years.  As a member of the Wolfpack’s Sports Medicine team, she was assigned to the Cross Country/Track and Field team consisting of about 80 athletes.    This was an excellent chance to hone her skills, gain valuable knowledge in the field and continue her lifelong passion and involvement with sports and healthcare. 

She graduated from NC State with a Masters in Adult and Community College Education (with a specialization in Health Professions Education) in May of 2017 and searched for a full-time job as the next step in her journey.  In July, she happily accepted a position as assistant athletic trainer at East Carolina University.

Hales said, “I am very fortunate to have had the career opportunities I’ve had so far as a young professional in athletic training. When I look back on the reasons why I have been so fortunate, my education always comes to mind first. Being an athletic trainer is the perfect job for me; I get to combine my love for sports with my passion for quality health care for others. Getting my degree at SVCC really served as the kickstart for my athletic training career and I couldn’t be more grateful. “

Lannie is the daughter of Gil and Christie Hales of Lawrenceville and the granddaughter of Annie Ruth Kirk Clarke of Lawrenceville.

2018 SVCC Corrections Awards

Southside Virginia Community College recently hosted the 10th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet  sponsored by Lawrenceville Correctional Center at the Christanna Campus in Alberta.  This night recognizes an officer of the year and employee of the year for Southside Virginia's correctional facilities.  Those recognized are (Front Row, Left to Right) Dora D. Hardy, employee for Baskerville Correctional Center, Officer Kathy Turner for Greensville Correctional Center, Officer Regina Pearson for Lawrenceville Correctional Center, Officer Joyce H. Bruce for Baskerville Correctional, Lt. Cynthia Power for Deerfield Correctional Center, Dinah Kreitz, employee for Lawrenceville  Correctional, Cecilia Presseau, employee for Lunenburg Correctional Center, and Sgt. Elsie Pennington for Lunenburg Correctional and (Back row, L to R) Sylvia Lawrence, employee for Greensville Correctional, guest speaker Warden Eddie L. Pearson of Greensville, Elizabeth Carr, employee for Deerfield Correctional, Sheron Jenkins, employee for Dillwyn Correctional Center, Officer Dolly Scruggs for Dillwyn, Pamela Labriola for Nottoway Correctional Center, Officer Tyrone Craighead for Nottoway Correctional Center, Officer John Towns for Buckingham Correctional Center, and Jennifer Andrews, Employee for Buckingham  Halifax Correctional  #23 was unable to attend but awards went to Officer Jonathan Carey and Rickey Childress, employee. 

SVCC Offers Apprenticeship Opportunties

Global Safety Textile (GST) of South Hill, developers and manufactures of airbags, airbag textiles and technical textiles, has partnered with Southside Virginia Community College to help develop and train twelve employees to become industrial maintenance technicians.

“In today’s current economy, hiring qualified maintenance mechanics is a challenge”, said Rob Deutsch, Director of Human Resources for the company.

For years, colleges saw enrollments declining in technical degrees such as Electrical and Mechanical. Unfortunately, for manufacturing this decline presents a real crisis. In fact, the hardest segment of the workforce to staff has been in the skilled trades: welders, electricians and mechanics.

GST, collaborated with SVCC’s Dr. Chad Patton, Dean of Career and Technical Training, and Kelly Arnold, Apprenticeship Coordinator, to formulate a strategy to train current employees. Apprenticeship is a tried and true method for training, remarks, Arnold.

“By combining educational classes with on-the-job training, apprentices learn exponentially,” she said.

Each class the employees are taking was selected with the intention of transforming the twelve into maintenance technicians for GST.

 The group began in January taking classes at Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.  The instructor applies hands-on training to the AC/DC Electrical class. 

Dr. Patton said, “All of our teachers in the program have real world experience.  We have former department lead instructor for Mechatronics and a host of teachers who are currently working in the Industrial Maintenance field to ensure the instruction is relevant.”

The college has also run apprenticeship training for Beach Mold, Georgia Pacific and Toll Brothers located in Emporia/Greensville.  

Each week the employees build on the previous class. While some are coming after work and others before work; both groups arrive ready to learn. Long days or nights at work, coupled with educational classes, homework, and tests all prove the group is willing and able to invest in themselves but also into preparing GST to beat the skills gap challenge.

While maintenance technician may not be the new career buzz, it is certainly a profession where both men and women can find employment in Southside Virginia. In fact, recent statistics indicate that job seekers are realizing that skilled trades are in hot demand. For the twelve at GST, the future is bright. The industrial maintenance program involves taking one class per week, for about 18 months, but provides an easily attainable goal. For more information about industrial maintenance or apprenticeship training, visit LCAKC or www. southside.edu   SVCC also offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in Industrial Maintenance Technician.

Customized, Job-Driven Training

Businesses across the Commonwealth of Virginia, including right here in the Southside region, continue to report a skills mismatch between job seekers and open positions. Skilled workers, especially in information technology and advanced manufacturing, seem to be in short supply. Entrepreneurs often testify to the fact that nurturing a business is a challenging proposition, but when companies cannot find workers with the skills necessary to fill critical positions, business success can be even harder to achieve.

At the same time, escalating college costs sometimes put higher education out of reach. Many young people and transitioning workers are looking for ways to prepare for well-paying careers without amassing heavy burdens of debt.

The solution for growing businesses and the answer for the potential future workforce may be the same: apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship is more than just assisting in a workplace, more than just on-the-job training. Registered apprenticeship programs provide a formal plan that combines at-work elements with rigorous classroom preparation and mentoring. They culminate in a certification that the graduate is fully prepared, experienced, and job-ready.

Traditionally, U.S. apprenticeships have focused on skilled trades, but recent innovations and policy changes are bringing the model to other industries. Penny Pritzker, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce explains that “by building regional partnerships with education, workforce, and social service institutions, businesses and government can create training programs that connect workers with middle class careers.” For diverse companies, she notes that “developing talent through apprenticeships results in a more dedicated, flexible, loyal workforce that is poised to rise into leadership positions and make the companies more competitive.”

Southside Virginia Community College is proud to be able to bring these benefits to the communities of south-central Virginia. Through ApprenticeVA, a collaborative effort among four community college partners, we can help businesses leverage the resources needed to create registered apprenticeship programs and customize them to meet specific training requirements.

Rob Deutsch, Director of Human Resources at Global Safety Textile acknowledges, “In today’s current economy, hiring qualified maintenance mechanics is a challenge.” His company is one among several with whom SVCC has worked to establish registered apprenticeship programs. Others include Beach Mold and Tool, Toll Brothers, Huber Woodproducts, Presto Products, and Microsoft.

At SVCC, more than 40 apprentices are currently registered and working on the job and in the classroom. They will graduate with industry-recognized credentials in fields such as industrial maintenance and network technician.

Apprenticeship programs have a proven track record and are well situated to meet 21st century needs. If your business would like more information about how it can benefit from a registered apprenticeship program, contact SVCC’s Apprenticeship Coordinator, Kelly Arnold at Kelly.arnold@southside.edu or call 434-579-7260.

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.

Celebrate SVCC During Community College Month

Once again, Virginia’s Community Colleges are marking national Community College Awareness Month (CCAM) in April designed to raise awareness of the benefits of attending one of our 23 community colleges.  Southside Virginia Community College has been part of the community since 1970 and is still the best deal around. 

In honor of the Community College celebration, here are a few tips to remember. 

Top 5 Ways to Save Money on Your Bachelor’s Degree
Student debt has reached crisis levels in this country. The typical bachelor’s degree graduate in Virginia leaves college nearly $30,000 in debt. That burden is forcing people to wait longer to get married, buy a home, and even retire. So why would anyone take on more debt than necessary?

Below are five guaranteed ways to save money while pursuing your bachelor’s degree in Virginia.

  1. Know what you really want to do: There’s nothing wrong with changing majors while in college. Lots of people do it. But it means you’re going to pay for classes that you won’t serve you in the long run. Take the free assessment tests on the Virginia Education Wizard. They can help you decide before ever spending the first tuition dollar.
  2. Start college while you’re still in high school: Sign up for Dual Enrollmentclasses which allow you to take college-level classes while still in high school, often at a reduced price. Ask your school counselor or Career Coach about it. Use these credits to jump-start your pursuit of an associate degree at a community college.
  3. Earn your associate degree first: Thanks to an amazing collection of Guaranteed Transfer Agreements, you can earn an associate degree at a community college first, which guarantees placement as a junior at one of more than 30 Virginia universities. Community college tuition and fees are only about one-third of what you'll pay at a public university.
  4. Get free money from the state to attend a university: Virginia’s Two-Year College Transfer Grant Programwill give you up to $3,000 a year, for two years, at a university to finish your bachelor’s degree. That’s FREE money! But, you should graduate from a community college first.
  5. Always take 15 credits every semester: No matter where you go to college, go full-time, which means 15 credit hours every semester. Time is money.

If you follow all five of these steps, you will save at least $52,000 on the cost of that shiny new bachelor’s degree. That's about one-and-a-half times the average student debt load of a graduate in Virginia, and one more way to show that you’re smarter already.

For information, www.southside.edu

MIT Bound SVCC Governor's School Student Feels, Deals With Pressure

The pressure to succeed has always been ‘off the charts’ for Ahmad Negm as the third in a family of educationally gifted siblings.  A senior at Nottoway High School and candidate to graduate from Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) through the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia(GSSV), there were many pre-conceived expectations to reach during his educational journey.

His sister, Maggie, and brother, Mostafa, were both valedictorians for Nottoway, both attended Governor’s School and Mostafa is a senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  Guess what, Ahmad just received his acceptance to MIT recently (sigh of relief) and plans to attend and study Electrical Engineering.   He was accepted at California Institute of Technology located in Pasadena, CA, also.  Oh, and his sister is a graduate of the University of Virginia.

On the day of the interview, Ahmad was in class with Brent Richey studying advanced math courses such as Abstract Algebra and Discrete Math.  Abstract Algebra studies algebraic structures such as rings, vector spaces, fields, lattices, modules and algebra and Discrete Math is the study of mathematical structures that are fundamentally discrete rather than continuous. (Just FYI).

Richey advocates strongly for Dual Enrollment courses at the college. 

He said, “GSSV STEM students have the opportunity to attend classes on the campus of Southside Virginia Community College with other top students from multiple area high schools. I have the privilege of teaching these students Calculus and as part of the class for the last five years we have been building and launching big high-powered rockets. Our students graduate from high school with an Associate’s Degree and then go on to some great universities. Currently,  I have students at Virginia Tech, UVa, NC State, VCU, JMU and MIT. Many of them go into engineering programs but they also pursue other STEM fields like computer science, mathematics, biology and chemistry.” 

“I like to remind people that though these students are academically gifted, they are not necessarily economically privileged. They come from every kind of home situation imaginable. And like other students, some are economically disadvantaged. It is extremely rewarding for me to see these students succeed here at SVCC then again at their university of choice,” he concluded.

Since Negm can independently maintain his studies in a class entitled Computer Programming for Engineers, he is able to spend 2.5 hours a week studying these special advanced math courses.  The math whiz took Algebra I in seventh grade and has been ahead of the game ever since.  He scored a perfect 800 on the Math SAT, just to mention another accomplishment.

His parents, Hussein Negm and Samira Elshebaily, were born in Egypt and came to America for a better life and opportunities for their children.  They settled in New Jersey first and later, came to Virginia.  All the children in the family felt the pressure to succeed and exceed academically.  Although, Ahmad also exceeds in sports running cross country and playing soccer for his school.    

The STEM curricula of the GSSV offers a chance for students to take classes that often cannot be made available at their local high school.  These include Physics and of course, the advanced math Negm is taking. 

Negm is excited to attend MIT.  He has visited Cambridge three times and likes the proximity to Boston.  He will travel with the GSSV STEM Seniors to Sumter, South Carolina in April as part of the launching of a rocket the students designed and built.

As the pressure wains for the third sibling, one can assume the heat is turning up for Abdullah, the last of the family who is currently in ninth grade at Nottoway.  Stay tuned. 

Getting a Second Chance in Southside Virginia

Ja' Kei Woods (Left) and Jamarcus Reid (Right) with Alonzo Seward (Center) recognizing the two young men who recently completed the Diversion Program at Southside Virginia Community College.
 

Second chances are always good.  In Southside Virginia, a Diversion Program for young offenders is offering another chance at a successful life without incarceration.

Alonzo Seward, Coordinator of the Diversion Program at Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) is pleased to announce initial successes from its first class.  Designed to provide alternative sentencing, the first class began in October 2016. SVCC worked in partnership with local Commonwealth’s Attorneys' offices to include Brunswick, Greensville, Mecklenburg and Lunenburg counties. The youthful offenders that enter the program face incarceration in either jail or prison due to a crime that they have committed and to which they have subsequently pled guilty. The program serves as an alternative to incarceration and/or a felony conviction and includes a requirement of participation in group and/or individual community service projects.  Additionally, the program requires participants to be drug free (verified through drug screenings) and of good behavior.

While serving as an advisor to SVCC’s Administration of Justice Program, Lezlie Green, the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Brunswick County, presented the idea to Seward, who heads the Administration of Justice program at the college.  Both Green and Seward throughout their years in law enforcement recognized an unmet need for alternative sentencing programs in Southside Virginia.  They joined forces with Monica McMillan, caseworker with Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act Out of School Youth Program (WIOA) and Linda Macklin, caseworker for Southside Community Corrections to develop a program that was approved by the college’s administration and has been accepted as a sentencing alternative by both the local judiciary and defense bar.

The program is designed to follow a paramilitary format during the initial semester. The semester begins with a cohort of offenders meeting three nights a week in two different courses. These courses are designed to improve life skills, academic skills and overall behavior. The concept of the program is to provide individuals who fit the criteria with opportunity to gain the necessary skills to attain employment and deal with the stressors of life, so that they can become successful citizens.

Recently Seward recognized two success stories: Jamarcus Reid andJa' Kei Woods,both members of the initial group. Although they were in the same cohort, their challenges were different due to differing educational backgrounds. Both men met the criteria of being drug free during the program

Reid completed the initial cohort semester, and transitioned into college courses where he successfully completed hiswelding certification through SVCC’s program. Reid also participated in 24 hours of community service projects while in the program. He participated in projects benefitting SVCC, Alberta Fire Department and the Town of Lawrenceville.

During the course of the program, and in addition to the welding certificate Reid completed a work experience and earned a Career Readiness Certificate. Reid recently secured a fulltime job in the welding industry.

Woods was awarded his GED on February 23, 2018. For a period of almost a year and a half he attended GED classes during the day and diversion courses at night. He successfully completed the “Dream It Do It Welding Academy” and was awarded a $100.00 gift card for his presentations.  Other accomplishments for Woods throughout the program included successfully completing two work experiences, earning a National Career Readiness Certificate, and participating in 32 hours of community service projects. He plans to remain at SVCC to earn his welding certificate.

The program operates through grant funded assistance and donations to the SVCC Foundation, Inc. For more information or to make a contribution, call 434 949 1051.

Governor Visits SVCC Power Line Worker Training Program

Governor Ralph Northam spent time at the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Training Program at the Occupational/Technical Center at Pickett Park.  Among those attending are (Left to Right) Andrew Vehorn, Director of Governmental Affairs for Virginia, Maryland, Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives(VMDAEC), Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, John Lee, CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, Governor Northam, Jeffrey Edwards, CEO of Southside Electric Cooperative, and Brian Mosier, Vice President of Member and Governmental Relations for VMDAEC.

Virginia’s new Governor, Ralph Northam, spent part of a cold, snowy and blustery day touring the field where power line worker students train for jobs in the Commonwealth.  His visit to the Southside Virginia Community College Occupational Technical Center at Pickett Park wasarranged by Virginia Maryland and Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives and Andrew Vehorn, Director of Governmental Affairs for VMDAE. 

The Governor spent time watching power line students climb, saw truck driving activity on the range and met the head of the diesel tech program. He also sat down with the CEOs of Mecklenburg and Southside Electric Cooperatives, John Lee and Jeffrey Edwards respectively, and SVCC President Dr. Al Roberts and VP of Workforce Dr. Keith Harkins to learn more about the impact these programs have on the economy of Virginia. Dr. Megan Healy, Chief Workforce Development Advisor to the Governor was also in attendance.       

Governor Northam was at the Blackstone facility to see firsthand the benefits of the Workforce Credentialing Grant Programand discuss issues facing rural Virginia; including broadband deployment and workforce development. Leepresented Governor Northam with a letter, signed by CEOs from all 12 electric cooperatives headquartered in Virginia pledging unified commitment to collaboratively work on a comprehensive solution to rural Virginia’s lack of broadband availability.         

Now in its third year of operation, this 11-week line worker pre-apprentice program provides Level 1 certification from NCCER (the National Center for Construction Education & Research), as well as commercial driver’s licenses, CPR/First Aid certification and OSHA safety training. At the recommendation of its advisory committee, the PLW program recently expanded to include chainsawsafety, with training provided by Penn Line.         

“We’re proud to help launch these young people into a vital career that will enable them to stay in their rural communities,” said Harkins.

For more information about the Power Line Worker Training School, visit https://southside.edu/events/power-line-worker-training-schoolor call SVCC’s Susan Early at (434) 292-3101.  Next Class begins June 4, 2018.

SVCC Nursing Program Ranked Fourth By Registerednursing.org

Maggie Kendrick attended the SVCC Associate Degree Nursing Program, recently ranked fourth in the state of Virginia by registerednursing.org

According to the website, registerednursing.org, “selecting the best nursing school in Virginia can be difficult.”  Southside Virginia Community College ranked fourth in Virginia behind Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing, Radford University and Stratford University in a recent report on this Nursing website. 

The site also states “To make the process easier first look for a school that supports students towards licensure and beyond. A great way to measure this is through NCLEX-RN "pass rates." We have ranked the top 20 nursing schools in Virginia by analyzing current and historical NCLEX-RN "pass rates", meaning the percentage of graduates who pass the exam, out of the 48 RN programs in the state.

Programs reviewed included graduates from Southside Virginia Community College.  At SVCC students are given five core values throughout the education process including 'patient-centered care, professional identity, nursing judgement, collaboration, and safe and effective care'. These values are what make the graduates an exceptional addition to the nursing field.

So, what makes SVCC Nursing one of the best?  Dr. Michelle Edmonds, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health, and Natural Sciences says this:  "We have world-class faculty and support services to help our students succeed.  Our progressive model of interactive student learning pushes students to excel, and our students have a passion for nursing and excellence that we support.  We know we make a difference in the lives of our students and in the communities that we serve."

Caring, Compassionate Nature Leads To This Cool Job For SVCC Alumnus

If a teenager thinks your job is cool; then, it is acool job.  Roslin V. Davis, says her 17-year-old son, Jaleal, thinks his mom’s job is cool.  Davis never saw herself in the job she now holds:  she is Licensed Assisted Living Administrator for Mecklenburg House in South Hill. 

Mecklenburg House is an assisted living community that offers seniors and the mentally-challenged, the opportunity to live in comfort surrounded by a caring staff that are well trained in a variety of resident needs. 

As administrator, Davis is a great example of how Southside Virginia Community College offers career pathways for the students.  She graduated from Park View High School in 1992.  She did not return to school until 2008 when she entered the Certified Nurse Aide program.    Besides the CNA course, she also received Medication Aide Technician certification and Phlebotomy and took other classes at the college with a medical concentration. 

Her career road led her to work as a CNA at Meadowview Terrace, a nursing home facility in the area and later, she arrived at Mecklebnrg House as a Medication Technician. 

Due to her work ethic and love of the people she cares for, Davis was soon asked to participate in the Administrator in Training Program offered through the American Retirement Homes, Inc.  This is a family-owned management company that has been enhancing the lives of seniors in Virginia since 1968.

“I was eligible to participate in this program because of the classes and credits I received at Southside.  If not for my work at SVCC the gateway would never have been opened,” Davis said.

She completed the coursework and licensure and became Administrator in August of 2014.

Now, it is her pleasure and joy to manage the care of 32 residents at the home, some who have mental issues or have no other home.  The residents range in age from 40 to 93, Davis knows each one and notes, “I learn a lot from each one of them.”

Her positive outlook and obvious love for her wards is evident in her smile and calm demeanor. 

“Making this work is a team effort.  The staff and I work together, I ask them what their opinion is and what is best for each individual,” she said 

She oversees the dietary staff who provide three home cooked meals and snacks daily.  She manages the maintenance department, CNAs and Medication Aids as well.  Davis is on-call for the facility 24/7, however there is staff at the Mecklenburg House caring for the residents at all time. 

She loves interaction with the residents.  They play bingo, cards, invite outside groups to visit, bands and churches and sometimes, take short road trips. Davis shops weekly for home and resident needs and takes residents to appointments.

Part of the reason her youngest son thinks her job is cool is because she is an award- winning administrator.    Davis was named the 2017 Diamond Award Virginia Assisted Living Association’s Administrator of the Year recently.  This award is given for those who demonstrate outstanding leadership on behalf of the assisted living industry.

Catherine Birley, President of American Retirement Homes, notes in a video about the award Davis’ extreme friendliness and compassion.  She said, “She exhibits every single trait one wants in an administrator.  She is a superstar administrator.”

Davis is a single mother with two sons.   Jaleal is a junior at Park View High School, where he is an outstanding student. The oldest, Javon,  received his associates at SVCC and continued on to complete his bachelors and masters at Virginia Commonwealth University.

            Davis caring, friendly and calm nature has taken her far in her career choice.   

Visiting at Mecklenburg House, it becomes evident that Davis possess the greatest trait of all; to love and be loved in return.

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Agribusiness Delivers Dinner

By Dr. Al Roberts

If you could choose anything at all, what would you want for dinner? I would take a bone-in ribeye steak, a baked potato with butter and sour cream, and a fresh Caesar salad. Dessert would feature apple pie with vanilla ice cream. But I’m flexible.  I could also be quite content with Chesapeake Bay blue crabs or barbecued spare ribs or shrimp and sausage gumbo.

All of the items on my list of favorite foods are readily available to me because of agribusinesses, the collection of industries involved in providing agricultural products in desired forms for consumer purchase or consumption. Farming is at the heart of agribusiness, but many additional enterprises support our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and harvesters. Agribusinesses include processors, manufacturers, distributors, packaging companies, advertisers, wholesalers, retailers, and many more. They provide seed, fertilizer, feed, fencing, equipment, and a host of services that range from veterinary care to financing, and they offer career opportunities in fields such as communication, construction, research, resource management, forestry, and the management of fisheries and wildlife stocks.

This wide spectrum of occupations is necessary because agribusiness is responsible for feeding (food), clothing (fiber), and sheltering (wood products) people around the globe. Agricultural products are our nation’s top export category. In Virginia, agribusiness is our largest private industry. In fact, there are 44,000 farms in Virginia with an average size of 181 acres (totaling 8.1 million acres), and the Commonwealth ranks in the nation’s top 15 producers of fresh market tomatoes, apples, grapes, peanuts, cotton, turkeys, and chickens for meat.

Products and services provided by agribusinesses are so ubiquitous people often take them for granted. To help raise awareness, the Agriculture Council of America annually promotes National Ag Week, which will be observed this year March 18–24 with the focus “Agriculture: Food for Life.” Events tied to the observation will help tell the story of agriculture in America, recognize the role agriculture plays in our daily lives, and celebrate the abundance of safe products available in the American marketplace.

During National Ag Week, SVCC’s Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Business and program chair for the College’s agribusiness offerings, Dr. Dixie Dalton, and her colleagues will be visiting area elementary schools to interact with students and talk about the origins of their food. Dr. Dalton will also present a session titled “Agribusiness Is Everybody’s Business: How Is It Yours?” at an Open House for High School Seniors at SVCC’s Daniel Campus on March 23. She will discuss the wide range of agribusiness careers and education options available to students at SVCC and through transfer to senior institutions. For more information about SVCC’s agribusiness degree and certificate offerings, contact Dr. Dalton dixie.dalton@southside.edu or call 434-949-1053.

First Lady of Virginia To Deliver SVCC Commencement Address

Pamela Northam, First Lady of Virginia, will be the Commencement Speaker for the 2018 graduation event at Southside Virginia Community College on May 12 at 9:30 a.m. at the John H. Daniel Campus, Keysville, Virginia. Her husband, Governor Ralph Northam, was sworn in as governor on January 13, 2018. 

An educator, environmentalist and longtime advocate, Mrs. Northam has taken a leading role in Hampton Roads and Virginia to protect water quality and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Most recently, the first lady has served as community outreach coordinator for Lynnhaven River NOW (LRN), a nonprofit environmental group. In this role, she oversaw advocacy and outreach programs for homeowners, congregations and businesses to help them to become more sustainable. 

Prior to joining LRN, Mrs. Northam taught high school biology. Recognizing a need for STEM in elementary education, she became a national award-winning science specialist and worked to develop an inquiry-based, hands-on curriculum for students in grades K through 5. The first lady was appointed to the board of trustees of the Science Museum of Virginia, and she also is a board member of the innovative E3 School in Norfolk. 

After studying at Baylor University and the University of Texas, the first lady specialized in pediatric occupational therapy, where her work included rehabilitation hospitals, teaching hospitals, and special education 

The Northam’s have two adult children: Wes, a neurosurgery resident; and Aubrey, a web developer.

Free Community Event Brings Basketball Extravaganza

The Law Enforcement and Community Basketball Extravaganza is set for Saturday, April 7, 2018 from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.  The event is FREE to the community and features a Basketball Tournament with local greats from the past and present to be held at Brunswick High School Gymnasium, Lawrenceville, Virginia.
 
A day full of basketball will also feature great music, vendors, a job fair and lots of fun for the entire family.  Teams and Tournament Schedule will be announced soon.
 
Anyone interested in being a community resource or job fair vendor contact Alfonzo Seward at Alfonzo.Seward@southside. edu or call 434-949-1092. 
 
This event is brought to you by Southside Virginia Community College, Lawrenceville Police, Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, Brunswick County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office, Brunswick High School and McDonald's of Emporia.

SVCC to Offer ServSafe Classes in March, 2018

ServSafe Training will be offered on the Christanna Campus of Southside Virginia Community College beginning March 13, 2018.  The class will meet March 13, 15, 20, 22 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Workforce Development Center in Alberta.  Only ServSafe offers food and alcohol safety training and certification exams created by foodservice professionals. Cost is $79.00.
 
To register go to https://southside.augusoft.net or email/ fax applications to Angela McClintock at 434 949 0107 or angela.mcclintock@southside.edu

SVCC Regional Job Fair in Emporia

Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) and Greensville County/City of Emporia community partners will once again host a Regional Job Fair at Southside Virginia Education Center (SVEC) at 1300 Greensville County Circle, Emporia, Virginia.  Crater Regional Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and First Media Radio , WPTM, WWDW, WYTT, WDLZ, WTRG, WSMY, WWDR  will support this exciting event.

This event will be open to the public from 2:00 pm until 4:30 pm on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.  All job seekers are welcome during this timeframe.

This Regional Job Fair has invited over 70 employers who have participated in the past.  Job seekers have even been hired “on the spot”!  Employers who have participated in this job fair previously include: Georgia Pacific, Oran Safety Glass, Toll Brothers, Boars Head, Virginia Staffing Services, ProLabor Temps, Southside Virginia Regional Medical Center, GEO Group, Greensville Correctional, etc.

SVCC will host a private luncheon for participating employers who have open job vacancies.  Hiring employers will enjoy networking with other local business and industry.

Job seekers should come dressed to impress with several copies of quality resumes.  Job seekers who have earned a WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) can be admitted 15 minutes early at 1:45 pm with photo ID and copy of WorkKeys CRC.

To learn more about how to earn a WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate, please contact SVCC Workforce Development.

Employer space is limited! Deadline for employers to reserve a booth is March 16, 2018.  Employers who have job vacancies may reserve a booth by contacting SVCC Workforce Development at 434-949-1026 /angela.mcclintock@southside.edu or 434-949-6614/Yolanda.hines@southside.edu

SVCC Welding Students Enjoy Learning

Two women, claiming each other as kin, take Southside Virginia Community College welding class together at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.  Heather McComb (Left to Right), John Evans, Instructor, and Diane Boaz make quite a team in the welding facility of SVCC in South Hill. 

With a total of three women currently enrolled in the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center,  Southside Virginia Community College’s Arc Welding I class, intergenerational learning and nontraditional are not simply “buzzwords.”  SVCC instructor John Evans’ class at Lake Country Knowledge Center in South Hill notes that two of the women weld in booths side by side, but, in age, they are 50 years apart. 

These women enjoy learning together and supporting the efforts of one another.  And, it goes without saying that women enrolled in a welding class are not the norm.  Typically, one thinks of men as welders; and, women in this field are the minority.  But wearing their protective clothing of a cap, helmet, coat, gloves and boots, they fit right in.

Diane Boaz and Heather McComb are both from Lunenburg County.  Another interesting thing about Diane and Heather is that they are grandmother and granddaughter “by choice.”  They found each other when Heather and her family moved across the road from Diane several years ago.  From the beginning the two were of the same mind. Heather said, with emotion, that she wouldn’t be where she is today if it weren’t for Diane and her husband, David.

The Boaz’s have a farm where Diane has been actively working for some years.  Heather has helped with the cows and the farm duties.  For both of them, welding is something they can use to keep the equipment working and in good shape.  Heather will be graduating from high school in May and hopes to find work that offers a great deal of variety.  She knows she doesn’t want to sit behind a desk and really enjoys working outdoors. Ultimately her goal is to farm full-time. Her thinking is that welding skills will give her an employment edge.

A great deal of variety is what Diane has in her work history and a significant amount has been in work that is nontraditional for women.  She once applied for a position as fire fighter for the City of Charlotte, North Carolina.  Unfortunately, she was an inch too short to qualify, but she was the first woman to ever apply.  While her employment in a hospital operating room was more traditional, she was again in the minority as a Pinkerton Security Guard in Charlotte and as a member of a field surveying team in Mecklenburg County. 

Diane began welding in 2015 in two classes also at Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center.  She heard about the offering through Heather’s uncle and took the classes with him.  Heather came to observe.  By January 2018 Heather was enrolled as well and Diane signed up to hone her skills. 

Both women have high praises for Evans, “He is a wonderful, patient, kind person and a great instructor.”

For Diane Boaz, welding is more than just a skill to be used to maintain the tillage tools and other farm equipment.  “It means being more self-reliant and self-sufficient as a woman.”  And it certainly isn’t every woman who receives a Lincoln Stick Welder and a welding table as Christmas gifts from her husband!

Educating Leaders for Tomorrow

By Dr. Al Roberts

Every February, people across the United States observe a holiday commonly known as Presidents’ Day. The official federal designation is George Washington’s Birthday. Virginia and a few other states preserve the original focus on Washington, but many states honor an expanded slate that includes additional presidents.

Washington was an advocate for education. In his first annual address to Congress on January 8, 1790, the president exhorted lawmakers with these words: “There is nothing which can better deserve your patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.”

Since Washington’s time, many of his successors have reiterated similar sentiments regarding the role education plays in maintaining the freedoms outlined in the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents. They have observed that educational institutions are a fundamental ingredient for a properly functioning democracy.

Thomas Jefferson envisioned “a system of general instruction, which shall reach every description of our citizens, from the richest to the poorest.” Jefferson authored the Declaration of Independence and served as our nation’s third president. He also worked to establish the University of Virginia.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, talked about the importance of education from his very first political speech. When running for a seat in the Illinois General Assembly, he told the people about his vision for a country where “every man may receive at least, a moderate education, and thereby be enabled to read the histories of his own and other countries, by which he may duly appreciate the value of our free institutions.”

In 1938, Franklin D. Roosevelt, our 32nd president said, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”

And, more recently, our 44th president, Barack Obama noted that “gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may make you feel like you're flying high at first, but it won't take long before you feel the impact."

At Southside Virginia Community College, we honor the legacy of our nation’s historic leaders by educating and training leaders for the future. Academic and workforce classes prepare students with the knowledge necessary to develop their roles and responsibilities as participants in our ever-changing society. Classroom and extracurricular activities provide opportunities to expand leadership skills. Through counselors and clubs, we provide mentors who help students develop their intellectual, personal, and social skills while gaining a greater self-awareness of their own values and directions.

Tomorrow’s leaders are in classrooms today. If you would like to be among them, visit southside.edu or call 434-949-1000 for more information.

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.

Vondrenna Smithers Cool Job Helps Students Reach Career Goals

Vondrenna Smithers’ job is cool because, in her own words, “I help potential students, both traditional and non-traditional, connect to the best training for their career goals at SVCC.” As Southside Virginia Community College’s (SVCC) Advanced Manufacturing Career Coach and Recruiter, she also gets to talk with high school students about Advanced Manufacturing jobs that they may not have considered.  

Smithers became familiar with the great opportunities at SVCC during high school. As a native of Southside Virginia, Smithers attended Brunswick County Public Schools. There, she took college credit while still in high school through the SVCC Dual Enrollment Program.  By completing dual enrollment classes, Smithers was able to attend SVCC and to obtain her Associate’s degree in General Studies in just one year on campus before transferring to the University of Virginia to complete her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

She came back to SVCC as an employee in 2009 and worked in various roles including Adjunct Instructor, Academic Advisor, Student Activities Coordinator and currently as the Advanced Manufacturing Career Coach and Recruiter. As the recruiter, she is able to use her personal experiences to help prospective students begin their path to success at SVCC. Working closely with students from six area high schools, she also helps them explore advanced manufacturing careers as well as academic and training opportunities.

“I have the chance to meet one-on-one with students, provide classroom presentations, and expose students to various career possibilities through holding special events such as the Dream It Do It Advanced Manufacturing Camp we had this summer in Emporia,” she said. Through this 4-day summer camp, local middle and high school students participated in tours and guest lectures from local industry and learned about blueprint reading, 3D design, programming for CNC machines, and use of manual mill and lathe machines.

A career highlight for Smithers at SVCC has been becoming the co-creator/advisor of the Student Ambassadors program. This group of students are tasked with representing the student body of the college at events and conferences, serving on various college committees and taking an active role in recruiting for the college.  

Besides working diligently at the college, Smithers has been back to school herself.  She completed her Masters in Professional Counseling from Liberty University in December  Her husband, Quentin, has been busy with school as well and will complete his Master’s in Christian Leadership from Liberty University.

Having had the opportunity to experience dual enrollment and attending SVCC as a student, Smithers has the experience and expertise to guide others to success…and a Cool Job like hers.

New Beginnings

By Dr. Al Roberts

Many people usher in the New Year with a fist full of resolutions and renewed determination to start afresh toward achieving personal goals. Surveys done by various news outlets report that some of the most common resolutions deal with exercising, losing weight, managing money, changing habits, strengthening personal relationships, volunteering, reading more, and engaging in spiritual practices. Some folks prioritize learning new skills, seeking a better job, and even embarking on a new career.

Southside Virginia Community College offers a myriad of resources to support people with resolutions focused on education and workforce training. These people include high school students making decisions about their futures, unemployed and underemployed workers looking for improved opportunities, veterans returning to civilian life, mid-career professionals seeking fresh challenges, and retirees who want to try something new.

If you find yourself plotting a path or adjusting your course, SVCC’s counselors can help you discover which career areas are most compatible with your interests, attitudes, and values. They can also teach you how to look for a job, prepare a resume, navigate an interview, and negotiate a salary.

The quickest way to launch a new career may be through one of Virginia’s new FastForward credentialing programs. SVCC and more than 20 other workforce training centers around the state offer 145 different programs in areas such as logistics and transportation, healthcare, welding and manufacturing, skilled trades, and information technology. Statistics show that people with workforce credentials are twice as likely to be hired as applicants who lack a credential. Furthermore, credentialed workers typically earn more than their noncredentialed counterparts.

Other career pathways start with a more traditional, academic base. For example, Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) degrees prepare students for entry into a wide variety of occupations in fields such as agriculture, business, public safety, and health. Just one example is the Administration of Justice program, which prepares graduates for roles in law enforcement agencies or correctional facilities.

Still other career pathways involve educational journeys that culminate with baccalaureate or advanced degrees. After spending their first two years of study at SVCC, graduates with Associate of Arts and Sciences (AA&S) degrees generally transfer to a four-year institution with junior class standing. One popular program is the Education Major. It provides core classes that serve as a solid foundation for students who plan to pursue careers in teaching.

So, if your dreams for 2018 include developing and expanding your skills and knowledge, I invite you to contact SVCC at 434-949-1000. A career counselor can advise you about academic, vocational, and technical programs and explain the array of support services available to help you stay focused on your goals. Let this be the year your successes begin.

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.

December, 2017, SVCC Welding Graduates

Recent successful completers of the Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development Welding Skills Certification course December 13, 2017 at the Southside Virginia Education Center.  

This is an 11-week program utilizing the NCCER Curriculum at the accredited training and education facility.  Those finishing the most recent class are shown (Left to Right) Donald Brown of Bracey, Michael Walker of Lawrenceville, Jason Vincent of Emporia, Stacy French of Emporia, Monta' Gray of Skippers, Rasha Green of Emporia, Andre Clary of South Hill, Derrond Vaughan of Lawrenceville and Dr. Marcus Bridges, SVCC Welding instructor. 

Thanks to a Truck Driver

By Dr. Al Roberts

Santa may rely on a sleigh and reindeer, but other folks who want holiday packages delivered to distant destinations typically rely on trucks. In fact, the entire U.S. economy depends on the trucking industry. Every year, our nation’s truck drivers carry more than 10 billion tons of freight, a total that represents 70% of all shipped domestic tonnage.

Hauling all these goods is a task that requires more than 3.5 million commercially licensed drivers, and the trucking industry currently faces a shortage of qualified job candidates. In October, the American Transportation Research Institute released a study identifying the driver shortage as the industry’s most critical issue. The report noted, “An optimistic trucking industry outlook, based on improving economic growth in the United States, has many in the industry concerned that the demand for truck drivers will further outpace the supply of qualified drivers. To this end, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates a shortfall of 48,000 drivers, with projections that the shortage could increase to 175,000 by 2025.”

Southside Virginia Community College is helping address this need through the continuing expansion of its Truck Driver Training School, which has already educated more than 2,500 students. SVCC’s Truck Driver Training School was established in 1996 at Ft. Pickett in Blackstone. We added a location in South Boston in 1999 and another in Emporia in 2007. More recently, SVCC has entered into a partnership with Danville Community College and Patrick Henry Community College to offer the successful program across a broader region. SVCC’s truck driver program has a graduation rate of 85%, and 75% of program graduates have found employment in the industry. They hold jobs with more than 70 companies in capacities that include long distance (coast to coast), regional, dedicated, and local routes.

SVCC’s leadership in truck driver training is also recognized beyond the borders of our region. Earlier this year, Duncan Quicke, the program’s coordinator, traveled to Green Bay, Wisconsin, at the invitation of Schneider National to participate on their Truck Driver Training Advisory Board, a forum for exchanging ideas and best practices in areas such as safety, training, regulatory compliance, and technology. Schneider is one of the nation’s largest truckload carriers, and representatives from only 11 schools around the nation were selected to be included.

Students in SVCC’s Truck Driver Training School participate in a six-week program during which they receive 240 hours of instruction and hands-on practice. The class day mimics a normal workday, and activities include pre-trip inspections, keeping logbooks updated, highway driving, and maneuvering procedures such as twisting, turning, and backing up.

For information about driver qualifications, student prerequisites, and upcoming class schedules, call the Truck Driver Training School at 434-292-1650.

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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