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Job Fair Returning to SOUTHSIDE VIRGINIA EDUCATION CENTER

Job Fair is returning to Southside Virginia Education Center on Thursday, April 27, 2017.  The event is sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College, Crater Regional Workforce and Lakes Media:  WPTM 102.3, WWDW 107.7, WTRG 97.9, WSMY 14000 “All Sports” 995 JAMS, WDLZ 98.3 

The event is free and open to the public and will be held at SVEC at 1300 Greensville Country Circle, Emporia, VA from 2 to 4:30 p.m.  Those with proof of WorkKeys CRC can gain entrance at 1:45 p.m.  Be sure to dress to impress, bring copies of your resume, a photo ID and copy of WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate (CRC). 

Job Fair Prep workshops will be held prior to the event at the Center.  These are:  Resume Writing, Job Search/Applying for Jobs on April 11 from 1 to 4 p.m.; Interview Skills on April 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. and Soft Skills on April 20from 1 to 4 p.m.  Pre-registration is required at htts:/southside.augusoft.net

For employers interested in registering, contact Angela McClintock at angela.mcclintock@southside.edu or 434-949-1026.

There are currently 31 employeers. See advertisement on this page for more information.

WELDING COMING TO NEW LAB LOCATED IN GREENSVILLE COUNTY

A career in welding is within reach!  A Welding Skills Certification Program is being offered in Greensville County through Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development.  The classes begin May 1, 2017 at the Southside Virginia Education Center located at 1300 Greensville County Circle, Emporia, Virginia.  The facility recently opened a brand new, state-of-the-art welding lab.

This class will utilize the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Curriculum and offers four credentials for successful completion.  The class meets Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and ends July 19, 2017.   Scholarships are available through the Workforce Credential Grant and other sources.  In-State Tuition is $3,700 and Out-of-State Tuition is $10,900. Credentials earned include NCCER Core, NCCER Welding Level I, NCCER Welding Level II and OSHA 10.

For information, contact Debra Smiley at 434 917 3746 or email debra.smiley@southside.edu

Job Fair Returning to SOUTHSIDE VIRGINIA EDUCATION CENTER in 2017

Job Fair is returning to Southside Virginia Education Center on Thursday, April 27, 2017.  The event is sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College, Crater Regional Workforce and Lakes Media:  WPTM 102.3, WWDW 107.7, WTRG 97.9, WSMY 14000 “All Sports” 995 JAMS, WDLZ 98.3 

The event is free and open to the public and will be held at SVEC at 1300 Greensville Country Circle, Emporia, VA from 2 to 4:30 p.m.  Those with proof of WorkKeys CRC can gain entrance at 1:45 p.m.  Be sure to dress to impress, bring copies of your resume, a photo ID and copy of WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate (CRC).  Companies are: 

Ameristaff, State Farm Insurance, chase City Health and Rehab, Avon, Greensville Correctional, AmeriCare Plus, Penmack, American Industrial heat, Envoy of Lawrenceville, Community Outreach Family Services, Department of Social Services, Colonial life, Plexus, Personal Touch Home CAre, Walmart, Commonwealth Home Health Inc, Georgia Pacific, Armor Correctional Health Services, Emporia-Virginia Employment Commission, Virginia Department of Corrections, Total Image Solutions, Humana, B Bugg Inc, Greensville County Public Schools, Emporia Police Department, Virginia State Police, Personal Touch Home Care Services, Melvil L Davis Oil Company, Smithfield-Hog Production Department, Waverly Health Rehabilitation Center.

For employers interested in registering, contact Angela McClintock at angela.mcclintock@southside.edu or 434-949-1026

Career Exploration

By Dr. Al Roberts

How many children have been asked the question, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Some want to fight fires, some want to help people overcome diseases and disabilities, and some want to teach. Some have aspirations to play professional sports or to travel in outer space. Although a few may follow one career path without deviation, many change their minds frequently.

Visiting places of employment provides a unique educational experience that encourages young people to think about their vocational goals and the preparation that may be required to pursue opportunities.

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work is a nationwide program that encourages parents and other mentors to help children make connections between school learning and workplace activities. This annual observance falls on the fourth Thursday of April, which will be April 27 this year.

The Virginia Education Wizard (available online at vawizard.org) is another resource that can open the door to a wide range of career exploration possibilities. Tools available on the website enable young people and others to assess their skills, interests, and values and see how they align with a variety of potential paths. The site also offers information about the education and training requirements of different careers. One interesting area enables visitors to answer questions about envisioned lifestyles to discover the annual salaries required to sustain different ways of living.

Summer camp programs also provide school-aged children opportunities to supplement classroom learning with hands-on activities. Local schools, along with youth development, faith-based, and mentoring organizations, offer programs across a broad spectrum of options that include science, nature, academics, and fitness. Here at Southside Virginia Community College, we offer summer camps to provide young people participatory experiences that enable them to explore cutting edge topics and technologies, such as 3D printing and robotics.

For today's young people, it's never too early to explore ideas about potential future careers, but it's also never too late. The question, "What do you want to do?" doesn't disappear at childhood's end. 

Career planning is an activity for everyone. According to a 2015 survey conducted the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who were born between 1957 and 1964 held an average of 11.7 jobs between the ages of 18 and 48. While some changes may have represented steps along a single pathway, many involved switching careers entirely. Veterans returning to civilian life, unemployed and underemployed workers, and people with evolving interests and needs were all among those who made significant changes in career trajectories.

If you have questions about exploring career options, for yourself or for a child, contact SVCC at 434-949-1000. Our team of academic and workforce advisors can help you discover an exciting path to the 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.

Beck’s Cool Job Let’s Her Work From Home

Shanetta Beck has a cool job because she is doing what she loves to do.  Beck is owner of her own business, Baskets by Occasion.  She started this as a cottage industry on a part time basis and now has transformed her hobby into a prosperous business.

Beck, who lives in Emporia, is a graduate of Southside Virginia Community College with an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice.  She fondly remembers her mentors from her student years at SVCC, especially Dr. Al Roberts who is now President and Trooper Ron Posey who taught some of her classes. 

When she attended SVCC, she was working as a Corrections Officer and the degree she worked towards helped her with on-the-job promotions. 

In her mid-twenties when she returned to school, Beck also already had children.  She wanted to go to college to encourage them to succeed in life.

“I feel good that I got an SVCC education,” she said and is still involved with the college by using the Longwood Small Business Development Center that comes to the Southside Virginia Education Center in Greensville County and through participation in the Pink Power Celebration at Christanna Campus.

A breast cancer survivor, Beck is adamant in her support of breast cancer awareness and fund raising for the cause.  Only 35 years old when her cancer was discovered, Beck has been in cure mode for the past four years.  One reason she likes having her own business is she can pace herself; her treatment for the disease took a toll on her energy level.  But, with her enthusiasm for her career and her personality, she seems pretty energetic.

She works closely with the Emporia-Greensville Chamber of Commerce and networks with others there to promote her business.  She offers baskets that are custom made for all occasions including weddings, babies, birthdays, holidays, she plans children’s parties and makes welcome baskets and dipped treats and fruits.  Her shop, located in a tiny house in her yard, is brimming with baskets, filled pocketbooks and other ideas for any occasion.

Her enthusiasm for her creations is contagious.  She is in her happy place while tucked amongst the many completed baskets and gift items in her shop.  

Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) Chorus Presents the 2017 Spring Concert

 

EVENT:

“American Homeland”

Spring Concert

Songs of American Values: faith, courage, beauty, hope and love.

 

Southside Virginia Community College Chorus

Directed by Carol Henderson

Accompanied by Sally Tharrington

DATE:

Sunday, April 23, 2017

TIME:

 7:00 P.M.

PLACE:

South Hill Presbyterian Church

914 Mecklenburg Ave. South Hill, VA  23970

ADMISSION: Free - Sponsored by Southside Virginia Community College

The “American Homeland” 2017 Spring Concert will offer songs of American Values: faith, courage, beauty, hope and love. Beginning with the solo, American Anthem by Gene Scheer, sung by soprano Betty Edwards with Sally Tharrington at the piano. This song reminds us of “the dream of a nation where freedom would endure.” How this nation is built on the gifts of each generation and the “quiet acts of dignity” that fortify “the soul of a nation that never dies.”

Judy Kemp, past Director of the SVCC Chorus for 15 years, will play with Sally in a unique piano duet accompaniment arranged by Mark Hayes of the traditional American song Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal. Judy is the current Program Chair and Vice-President of the South Hill Music Club of the National Federation of Music Clubs.

Proudly featured in the SVCC Chorus concert, is a new hymn text written by one of the chorus’ members, Rev. Dr. Stephen DeOrnellas, Blessed Is The Nation Whose God Is The Lord. Sung to the Irish tune, Slane and based on Psalm 33:12, we pray for new hearts, wise love, and Christ-like courage. Stephen is the Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Baskerville.

Other musical highlights by the SVCC Chorus include the Appalachian song, Down to the River to Pray; the new spiritual Order My Steps ( In Your Word), written by Glenn Burleigh and recorded by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, 1996; and from the 60’s, Pete Seeger’s Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season). In Over the Rainbow, the classic, award-winning song from the “Wizard of OZ”, why can’t we fly like the bluebirds, and have our troubles melt away in the clouds?

The men of the SVCC chorus sing The Quest: The Impossible Dream, the quintessential song of the search for the unattainable, from the “Man of LaMancha.” In Stained Glass, a new song by Joseph Martin and Heather Sorenson, the Artist’s hand picks up the shattered, scattered, broken pieces of our life. “Who would have known that God would make art from glass stained and broken, from lives torn apart.” Also included is the simple truth found in that Sunday school favorite: Jesus Loves Me, arranged by Fred Bock with Debussy’s Clair de Lune.  The favorite of church, community and school choirs across the country: Let There Be Peace on Earth closes out the program of beautiful tunes that lift up the values of our “American Homeland.”

Singers this spring in SVCC Chorus are from the surrounding communities and include:

Elizabeth Allgood, Dan Araway, Nancy Bradshaw, Robert Bradshaw, Stephen DeOrnellas, Betty Edwards, Jo Ann Farnsworh, Lloyd Farnsworth, Martha Feagan, Tim Feagan, Mary Hardin, Megan Henry, Patricia Jutz, Becky Laben, John Laben, Kelli Lewis, Jimmy Martin, Judy Moody, Pat Moyles, Louise Ogburn, Guy Pealer, Janie Pealer, Laura Jane Rash, Norma Robertson, Walter Smyre, Jimmie Soyars, Nancy Turner, Debbie Wilson, and Margie Wollenberg. 

Southside Virginia Community College is proud to sponsor and present the SVCC Chorus in a concert for our “American Homeland.” Please bring your friends, neighbors and families for an inspirational Spring evening of music at South Hill Presbyterian Church on Sunday, April 23rd at 7:00 PM. Free admission.

For information regarding joining the SVCC Community Chorus, please contact Nancy Turner at Nancy.Turner@southside.edu or Louise.Ogburn@southside.edu.  

SVCC Welding Lab Opens in Greensville County

The Southside Virginia Community College Welding Lab, located at the Southside Virginia Education Center in Greensville County, was officially opened March 14, 2017 with a Ribbon Cutting ceremony and open house. 

Welding impacts virtually every industry and students using this new lab will have the opportunity to pursue high paying welding careers in a wide range of areas.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), welding is a solid career in addition to a growing field.  The BLS estimates there will be a need for 14,400 more welders by the year 2024.

The lab contains 14 welding booths with separate ventilation systems and represents an impressive public/private partnership.

Fluor is a Fortune 500® company headquartered in Irving, Texas, that came to Southside Virginia to build two colossal power stations for Dominion Virginia Power; their presence has made a huge impact on the area as well.  The global company designs, builds and maintains the world’s toughest projects; and, fortunately, actually involves itself with the communities in the regions where they work.

Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President, said, “Southside Virginia Community College is the recipient of the benevolent nature of Fluor for spearheading the funding of this state-of-the art Welding Lab.  The presence of the company in the area increases welding jobs and encourages workers to learn new skills for better compensation.”

When Fluor comes into a community, they like to leave it better off than it was when they arrived.  This permanent welding facility is evidence of their commitment to enhancing Greensville, Emporia and Southside Virginia.

Other partners in the creation of the lab are Virginia Tobacco Commission, Dominion Virginia Power, Greensville County and American Equipment Company (Ameco).

STUDENT IS PROUD OF HER GED® ACCOMPLISHMENT

Due to unfortunate circumstances, Julie Boyd of Blackstone, was unable to complete high school. 

“I've talked about getting my GED ever since. I am 21 years old and it took me two weeks to obtain it. I couldn't be more proud of myself,” she said.

She noted that the person that inspired her to move forward with her education is her recently deceased brother. 

“He was my 18 year old brother, his name was Joshua Baughan. He died in a car accident December 21, 2016. He was my best friend, my rock. He pushed me every day to do better for myself. When he passed away, it showed me life was too short to take the small things for granted,” she said. 

She also added that he lived his life to the fullest and accomplished everything he started.   

“He inspired me on so many levels. I did this, not just for me, but for him as well. I will work hard and succeed in everything I do, because he is always with me. This achievement means so much to me. But it's only a start,” she said.

Boyd also has a fiancé’ who has also played a huge roll in her life.

“He supports me in everything I do, and he has stood by my side faithfully for three years. I am very thankful to have him in my life. I love all of my family and friends. I wouldn't be where I am today without them,” she said.

 She plans to continue her education in the nursing field or forensic science.   

Her advice to others, you can do anything you put your mind to if you believe in yourself.

“Never give up. Knowledge is power. With power you can do great things in life. I am grateful for the support of my family. They never gave up on me,” she said.

Southside Virginia Community College offers Adult Basic Education and GED® preparation.  For information, call 434-949-1090.  The schedule of classes is below.

Brunswick

SVCC

Christanna Campus

SVCC

Christanna Campus

 

 

Monday-Thursday

 

Monday & Wednesday

 

 

9:00 am – 12:00 noon

 

5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

 

 

Brown

 

A. Lewis

Mecklenburg

Boydton Library

 

Chase City Estes Ctr

 

Clarksville YMCA

 

South Hill LCAKC

 

South Hill Bank Building

South Hill Bank Building

 

Tuesday & Thursday

 

Tuesday & Thursday

 

Monday & Tuesday

 

Monday & Wednesday

 

Monday & Wednesday

 

Tuesday & Thursday

 

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

 

9:00 am - 12:00 noon

 

5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

 

9:00 am - 12:00 pm

 

5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

 

5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

 

Cherry

 

Wilson

 

Kindley

 

McCarthy

 

Scott

 

F. Lewis

 Halifax

SVHEC

South Boston

SVHEC

South Boston

 

 

Monday - Thursday

 

Tuesday & Thursday

 

 

9:00 am – 12:00 noon

 

5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

 

 

Stafford/Clarke

 

Clarke

Online

Sunday - Saturday

Anytime

McCarthy

Let’s Celebrate Reading

By Dr. Al Roberts

When people think of March festivities, they may envision green-themed parties for St. Patrick’s Day or look forward to basketball madness. I like to remember that March is also National Reading Awareness Month.

Read Across America, sponsored by the National Education Association, kicked off the month with events in all 50 states and numerous locations abroad. The observance began in 1998 to honor the legacy of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) whose birthday falls on March 2. The annual remembrance encourages people to enjoy the fun of reading.

Also in March, the National Head Start Association sponsors National Read-Aloud Month to challenge parents and caregivers to read books aloud to children at home. National Head Start notes that "When children listen to books read aloud, they learn about people, places, and how things work. They learn about emotions and feelings and how to use words to share their ideas."

One of my favorite books for reading to children is The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams. It was originally published in 1922 and has become a classic. It tells about a stuffed toy rabbit and how it became real through being loved. Many equally wonderful tales await children's ears. If you need help finding one, stop by your local public library and ask for assistance.

Several other organizations also focus on the benefits of reading aloud to children. For example, a group called Read Aloud 15 Minutes, emphasizes that reading to a child for just fifteen minutes a day can have life-long benefits. Fifteen minutes may not seem like much, but, if practiced consistently during a child's first five years, it adds up to more than 450 hours. Those extra hours of literacy skills building can bestow a measurable benefit in future learning success.

And the benefits of reading don't end with childhood. In fact, they're just beginning. The crucial role that strong reading skills play in academic achievement among older students is also well-documented. In fact, some researchers have estimated that college students can expect to read between 600–750 pages a semester per course.

To help foster life-long growth in literacy achievement, Southside Virginia Community College is embarking on a new Quality Enhancement Plan: iRead, iLead, iSucceed. The QEP embraces a commitment to literacy that focuses on analytical reading comprehension and is designed to promote student achievement and academic success. Through faculty development and training in the promotion of analytical literacy skills, we hope to create students with stronger literacy skills. One of the anticipated outcomes of this new initiative is that students will demonstrate an increased level of engagement in literacy activities through supported reading and writing opportunities both at the academic level and personal level.

Reading. It's something we celebrate all year long.

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.

Recent Emporia Truck Driving Training Graduates

Southside Virginia Community College Truck Driver Training held a class in Emporia, Virginia recently.  Those attending the graduation ceremony are L-R Bobby Wrenn, Skyler Turner (Suffok), Dr. Roberts, Doug Kemerer (Instructor), Richard Mattson, Jr. (Roanoke Rapids, NC), Terence Hendricks (Kenbridge), Keshawn Bennett (Lawrenceville), Darin Williams (Emporia), Jaquante' King (Petersburg), Ron Bagley (Victoria), Jerrell Tisdale (Kenbridge0, Dr. Keith Harkins, VP Workforce SVCC, Randy Betz, VP Workforce Paul D. Camp Community College, Renee Felts, VP Institutional Advancement PDCCC and Duncan Quicke, TDTS Coordinator.

Panther Prep Advising Day Returns to SVCC

Panther Prep Day is coming back to Southside Virgnia Community College.  Everyone is invited to a huge event happening at five locations of the college on Thursday, April 6, 2017.   Panther Prep Advising Day will be held from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. for all current students, those interested in becoming a student or learning more about the college.  The general public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The event is being held at the Christanna Campus, Alberta, John H. Daniel Campus, Keysville, Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, South Boston, Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia and Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center, South Hill.

SVCC will show its Panther Pride on this day with fun, food, door prizes, help with registering for Fall and Summer classes, applying for financial aid and advisors getting students on the right path to success.  There will also be information about the college, entertainment, and college tours.

RSVP to http://www.southside.edu/pantherprepor call Leslie Perkins at 434 736 2022.

SVCC Grads Cool Job Helps Others

Saving lives and helping the sick and injured is a cool way to spend your working days.  Being an emergency room physician is the cool choice for Michael Cieslinski who started his higher education path at Southside Virginia Community College. 

A native of Gasburg, Virginia, Ciesllnski graduated from Brunswick Academy before coming to SVCC where received an associate’s degree in general studies/science.  Cieslinski then transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University, graduated from VCU Medical School and also, received a Post Baccalaureate certificate in anatomy and neurobiology. He is doing his Emergency Medicine Residency through East Carolina University and at Vidant Medical Center.

This year, he will return to Southside Virginia to work as an Emergency Physician at Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg and Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center in Emporia.

“SVCC is such a great community of teachers and learners.  The faculty really seem to love what they do and pass that love of learning on to their students,” he said.

Coming to SVCC directly from service in the United States Marine Corps, he notes that he had no clear direction for his future and is thankful to faculty members who helped him define his course.  He noted Susan Slayton, Sharon Freeman and Shanley Dorin as mentors.

“Enjoy the journey,” are his words of advice.  Cieslinski said that he left SVCC to pursue a degree in economics and ended up in medicine.  He says it was definitely a long and circuitous route but he would not change it for anything.

“Embrace your failures and your critics,” he said.  “I’ve learned more from the times I messed than ever from the times I ‘got it right’.”

His only F grade in college was received at SVCC from Teresa Hudson in Calculus. 

He notes, “I thought I could float through the course and floated my way to an F.  I learned a hard lesson about my limitations, how to expand them and also, received a healthy dose of humility.”

Through his many experiences in life, Cieslinksi has formulated an outlook that encompasses empathy, happiness and health.

He said, “Empathize, be kind, be happy, be healthy.  You don’t have to work in an emergency room to know that no one gets out of this life alive.  What I have learned is, the life we lead is both fragile and unpredictable.  Entire families can be broken up at the drop of a hat; lost to violence, car accidents, drugs, random acts of nature, bad health and chance.”

He reminds us to make healthy decisions and be a blessing to others, quite a cool prescription for living.

For information about SVCC, www.southside.edu

Finding Funds for Your Higher Education

By Dr. Al Roberts

A study titled “Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements through 2020” by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce noted, “The U.S. economy is slowly returning to normal—albeit a new normal—characterized by an increase in the natural rate of unemployment, permanent job losses in sectors employing the less-educated, and an ever-increasing demand for better education credentials and upskilling across an array of new fields.” The study also notes trends indicating that by 2020, 65% of all jobs in the national economy will require postsecondary education.

Obtaining a postsecondary education, however, can be costly. To succeed, most students need financial assistance.

Eligibility for federal financial aid is determined by a formula that considers family income, enrollment status (full or part-time), and costs of attendance, which include tuition, fees, books, materials, housing, food, transportation, and personal expenses. For most students, federal aid comprises the largest portion of an overall financial assistance package.

In addition to the federal government, primary sources of education funds include state and local governments, postsecondary institutions, employers, and private entities. The major types of financial aid are grants, scholarships, tuition reimbursement programs, loans, and work-study programs. For students in courses that lead to workforce credentials, financial assistance is available through opportunities such as Virginia’s New Economy Workforce Credential Grant and the Financial Assistance for Noncredit Training that leads to Industry Credentials (FANTIC) program.

At Southside Virginia Community College, our Financial Aid Department works with students to ensure they receive the maximum benefits for which they are eligible. In fact, 94% of students at SVCC receive some type of grant or scholarship.

The process of applying for financial aid begins with completing a standardized form called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Instructions and helpful videos for completing the FAFSA can be found on the College’s Financial Aid Webpage at southside.edu/financial-aid.  SVCC’s Financial Aid Department can also provide one-on-one assistance to anyone who needs help filling out the FAFSA. Just call 855-877-3943 or stop by the Christanna Campus in Alberta or the John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

People seeking financial assistance so they can pursue short-term industry-approved credentials in high-demand careers, such as certified nursing assistant (CNA), power line worker, commercial truck driving, or precision machining, can get more information by calling 434-949-1026 or 434-736-2004.

Students are also invited to apply for scholarships administered by the SVCC Foundation. These awards are funded by private individuals, civic organizations, and others who establish scholarships as a way to give back to the community. An application portal with access to more than 50 different scholarship programs is available at southside.edu/college-foundation.

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.

New Job Opportunity Follows GED® Success

Earning his GED® at age 34 has given Jeffrey Melton a chance at a new career.  The South Hill resident was working as a mechanic but after receiving his GED®, he will soon begin training at the police academy to obtain a job in law enforcement as a correctional officer at Meherrin River Regional Jail.

After dropping out of high school as a teenager, a full time job and other responsibilities prevented him from pursuing his equivalency diploma until recently.  His dedication and persistence of two years lead to him receiving a GED® in November of 2016 and he plans to attend the graduation ceremony held at Southside Virginia Community College in June 2017.

Melton notes that he was very impressed with the program and he likes to promote the program when he has a chance.  He is appreciative of the support he received through the program and especially thankful for Mrs. Flora Lewis, his teacher.  Melton said he could always have questions answered and was able to gain social skills, time-management skills, and computer skills so he always looked forward to coming to class.

Melton’s advice to others wanting to pursue their GED® is, “never give up, don’t get frustrated, ask for help and listen more than you talk!!”  He notes that he was inspired to complete the task by his own motivation, his teacher and his father.  He always wanted to get his GED® and he wants others to know it is never too late. 

“By obtaining your GED, you can better yourself so don’t let others discourage you if this is your goal,” he said.

SVCC offers FREE GED classes and tests throughout the ten counties in Southside Virginia at many locations.  Contact Lois Hicks at 434 736 2048 for more information on classes and the GED® test.

History, Heritage, and Hope

By Dr. Al Roberts

The opening of a new year provides an opportunity for self-assessment and the chance to embrace renewed hope for the months yet to come. At the same time, revealing January’s calendar page begins an annual roll call of holidays that commemorate past events, reminders of our shared history and challenges we’ve already overcome.

On the third Monday in January, which this year will fall on January 16, our nation honors Martin Luther King, Jr., a dynamic civil rights leader and advocate of nonviolent activism. Dr. King was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929 and assassinated in April 1968.

Rosa Parks, another civil rights pioneer, was born on February 4, 1913 in Tuskegee, Alabama. Mrs. Parks inadvertently stepped into the national spotlight in 1955 by refusing to obey a bus driver who was enlarging the section of seats reserved for white passengers. Her refusal to move to a different seat resulted in her arrest for violating a city law that mandated the racial segregation of public buses.

These two remembrances lead into February’s observance of Black History Month, which provides an opportunity for learning more about the stories, struggles, and achievements of African American people. Other nationally recognized heritage months provide similar opportunities to learn about diverse groups that comprise our nation’s multicultural landscape. These include Women’s History Month (March), Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May), Hispanic Heritage Month (from mid-September to mid-October), National Disability Employment Awareness Month (October), and Native American Heritage Month (November).

Higher education is a key tool in efforts to vanquish inequalities of the past. In a recent report on diversity, the U.S. Department of Education noted, “Student body diversity in institutions of higher education is important not only for improving the economic and educational opportunities for students of color, but also for the social, academic, and societal benefits that diversity presents for all students and communities.”

Southside Virginia Community College is committed to fostering, cultivating, and sustaining a culture of diversity and inclusion. We believe our community is stronger when we welcome diverse ideas and perspectives, as well as people from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. The College’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee embraces goals such as identifying practices designed to hire a diverse faculty and staff, supporting culturally expanding experiences, requesting that students with disabilities self-identify and utilize provided services, and encouraging employees to volunteer with charitable organizations that help diverse populations and people living in poverty. Student organizations include the Minority Awareness Programming Club and Make It Happen, a program that provides an institutional climate supportive to African-American male students.

Through these efforts and more, the College strives to create a welcoming, inclusive environment where all people feel respected and valued.

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.

Josh Baird is a great example of a person with a good work ethic.

Josh Baird is a great example of a person with a good work ethic.  He graduated from Brunswick High School on a Saturday and began working as a contractor at the Dominion Power Plant on Monday.

Thanks to training Baird received in high school through Dual Enrollment Classes at Southside Virginia Community College, he was able to obtain this great job at the new facility located in Brunswick County.

“I received certificates in Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT) and High Performance Technology (HPT) from SVCC (while still in high school)”, Baird said.  This is the reason I was able to secure such a great job, he added.

One of his instructors in the program, Vincent Brown, SVCC Assistant Professor of Technology, said, “ Josh was a great student. He was eager to learn and excelled in both the HPT and AMT programs.  When Dominion Power was looking for an intern, I thought of Josh first.   Since Josh has been at Dominion Power, he has excelled there and continued to be successful.   I'm excited that this innovative SVCC program prepared him for a good job, AND a career.

After finishing the Certificate programs, Baird continued to study at SVCC while working and received an Associate’s Degree in Industrial Maintenance Technician in May of 2015.

Currently a Vibration Technician, Baird works for TEC Industrial headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee but his work location is at the local power station of Dominion.  In his job, he collects vibration data on rotating equipment and performs basic vibration analysis to assist with determination of problems and potential repair plans.  His career goal is to become a Maintenance Operator at the Brunswick plant.

“I would like to share with potential students that they should consider going in the HPT Program during high school.  It is truly a great learning experience,” said Baird.

Baird is from White Plains, Virginia. 

The SVCC HPT and AMT programs are offered through Dual Enrollment at several high schools in the college's service region.  The programs are also available as a Career Studies Certificate programs to the general public.   The HPT consists of 19 credit hours and the AMT is completed in 24 credit hours.  For more information, contact Dr. Chad Patton at 434 949 1038 or email chad.patton@southside.edu

SVCC COLLABORATES WITH LOCAL COUNTY PROSECUTORS ON ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING PROGRAM

Lezlie S. Green (Left) Brunswick County Commonwealth's Attorney and Alfonzo Seward(Right), Assistant Professor of Administration of Justice at Southside Virginia Community College.

“As prosecutors we are always looking for sentencing alternatives.  Probation and/or incarceration doesn't fit every case, but often these are the only options we have,” said Lezlie Green, Commonwealths Attorney for Brunswick County. 

Southside Virginia Community College now offers a diversion program, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Attorneys of Brunswick, Mecklenburg, Lunenburg and Greensville counties. The program is for offenders between the ages of 18 through 25 and is designed as an alternative sentencing option for approved criminal offenses.  

Diversion is an attempt to redirect, educate and rehabilitate young adults that commit and plead guilty to offenses that are approved by the local prosecutor for the diversion program.   Diverting youth who have committed approved criminal offenses away from the system and towards community-based treatment and support options can be a more appropriate response than confinement, and a more productive way of addressing and preventing future criminal behavior.

Green noted, “The diversion program is a great example of tailoring available resources to fit the needs of the community - criminal justice needs and rehabilitation needs.  Our goal is to move a person from a path which will likely lead to incarceration to a path which will likely lead to job stability and good citizenship.”

She also said, SVCC  heard our needs and built a program which addresses them, using resources already in place.  This has resulted in a partnership between the college, community corrections and the court house which will benefit not only Brunswick County but the entire SVCC service area.   

The mission of this program is to rehabilitate, redirect, and develop successful, productive, citizens for an ever-changing global society by using formal education, counseling, discipline and life skills development. Its goals are Personal Responsibility, Reducing Recidivism, Providing Services, Workforce Preparedness, and helping the students obtain Career Studies Certificate.

Offenders can only participate in the program if referred by the local Commonwealth’s Attorney and the judge that has jurisdiction over their case.  The program will consist of cohorts that begin the program and finish together.  The frequency of when a cohort begins will be determined by the needs of the counties that are participating in the program.

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Alfonzo R. Seward, is the program head and various instructors will provide the classroom content.

Seward said “This is an awesome opportunity if the individual that is accepted into the program takes advantage of it and works to complete it successfully.”

2016 SVCC Power Line Grads

Southside Virginia Community College's Power Line Worker Program held its third graduation ceremony on December 20, 2016 at Pickett Park, Blackstone, Virginia. John Lee, Chief Executive Officer for Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative was guest speaker.   There are 18 successful members of the program pictured (Front Row Left to Right) Andrew Redd (Chatham), James Jacobs, IV (Goode), William Haymore (Chatham), Al Barker (Montpelier), John Stockner (Amelia), Brad Wike, Instructor, (Second row, L to R) Blaine Cunningham (Madison Heights), Ryan Hewitt (Windsor), Thomas Drager (Chincoteague Island), Walker Sanderson (Charlotte Court House), Patrick Hughes (Richmond), Taylor Connolly (Glen Allen).(Back row, L to R) Nathan Humphrey (Amelia Court House), Ryan Lockner (Saxe), Korey Martin (S. Chesterfield), Jesse Flack (Dry Fork), Joshua Duggan (Farmville), Adam Yeatts (Appomattox), Tyler Noblin (South Boston) and Clyde Robertson Instructor.

SVCC Programs Lead to Jobs

Southside Virginia Community College offers evening welding classes at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center. Two of the students are employed at American Buildings Company in LaCrosse and are continuing their skills training to be prepared for opportunities. 

Dr. Chad Patton, Dean of Career and Occupational Technology said, “I really love each of the programs in my division because they lead to good jobs.  I would strongly encourage anyone who likes a challenge and who has a good work ethic to spend a few nights a week learning a professional skill like welding.”

Patton also said, “SVCC has many success stories and we are proud of each and every one of them.”

For more information about welding and other classes offered at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center or other SVCC locations, www.southside.edu or call Maki Malone at 434 955 2252.

Pictured (Left to Right) are John Evans, the instructor, Yasin Jones, Wesley Gregory, Raheem Hayes, Douglas Reed, and Gabriel Drewry.

SVCC Encourages You To Panther Up For 2017

Panther Up at Southside Virginia Community College for a successful new year in 2017.  The SVCC Panthers are recruiting new students to the ranks.  Registration is underway now for Spring semester classes and students can register online, in person or by telephone. 

Classes for the spring begin January 9, 2017.  Students can register now or in January but the earlier the better according to Bernadette Battle, Student Services Director.  She notes that financial aid, counseling and advising can all be completed before classes start. Call 888-220-SVCC.

The college will be closed for the Holiday from December 23, 2016 to January 3, 2017.

Visit the college website to learn more about classes offered at www.southside.edu  Plan now to Panther Up and Have a Great New Year.

College Community Connection - Changing Students’ Lives

The end of the year and the holiday season have become inexorably linked with gift-giving. Some gifts are purchased, some are homemade. Some get wrapped in boxes, some entail donating one’s time to a cause, and some involve making charitable contributions. In evaluating different kinds of charity, the twelfth-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon) described eight levels of giving. He ascribed the lowest rank to giving unwillingly. Giving cheerfully was better, as was giving without being asked. He rated giving anonymously higher still, but Maimonides placed the highest honor on giving that enabled the recipient to become self-reliant.  

In more contemporary times, Oprah Winfrey made a similar observation, “It's not just about being able to write a check. It's being able to touch somebody's life.”

Working in education gives me an opportunity to see these principles in action. On a daily basis, I observe faculty and staff members who give their utmost to touch students’ lives. As a result of their influence, I watch students work hard and undergo a transformative process, becoming self-reliant community members and serving as role models for others.

Here at Southside Virginia Community College, we believe that all citizens should be given an opportunity to acquire an education that develops and extends their skills and knowledge. The college's goal is to provide diverse instructional programs ranging from developmental studies to associate’s degree curricula, and our offerings cover a wide spectrum of academic, technical/vocational, lifelong education, and workforce development classes.

People who choose to pursue these opportunities often require assistance to cover the costs of education, and SVCC works diligently to give students the support they need. In fact, 94% of beginning students receive financial aid. Much of it originates from federal sources, such as Pell grants. Some comes from state sources. State funds are particularly important to students enrolled in noncredit, workforce development programs. During its 2016 session, the Virginia General Assembly passed a legislative initiative that established the New Economy Workforce Grant Program, a program that can cover up to two-thirds of the cost of courses leading to credentialing in high-demand fields.

These types of federal and state financial aid do not cover the entire cost of education, however. To help students with unmet financial need, the Southside Virginia Community College Foundation administers scholarship programs that help fill the gaps so that deserving students can successfully reach their education goals. During the most recently completed academic year, the Foundation presented awards to more than 250 students. These opportunities were made possible primarily through the generous contributions of local people and businesses who wanted to help today’s students succeed and become constructive co-laborers who will join in the task of building a better tomorrow.

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.

ABC/SVCC Partnering for Southside Virginia

A local partnership is creating education and jobs for Southside Virginians.  Southside Virginia Community College and American Buildings Company (ABC), a division of Nucor, are working together to offer the training and skills necessary for many of the jobs offered by the company.  

ABC, located in LaCrosse, Virginia, recently purchased additional software for use in the Computer Aided Drafting classes offered at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center (LCAKC) in South Hill.  The software, TeklaStructures, is the same technology used by the local manufacturer in their Detailing Department. 

The local plant has plans to expand their Detailing Department and this leads to opportunities for those interested in learning a marketable skill.  SVCC offers a program designed to train individuals interested in working as a detailer. 

Greg Kuebrich, Business Services Manager, said recently “American Buildings Company and Nucor offer career opportunities not just jobs. We are one of the only companies I have seen where teammates have started out as a painter on the shop floor or a detailer in the office and worked their way up to become General Managers of a division.  The opportunities are virtually endless for those with the right work ethic and initiative!”

Cindy A. Kirby, Human Resources and Payroll Coordinator for the Atlantic Division of ABC, said, “We are excited about the prospect of teaming with SVCC to help grow the skills of the workforce in Southside Virginia.”

She added, “In 2016 Nucor was ranked #26 on Forbes list of best employers in the Nation.  American Buildings Company is proud to be a division of the Nucor Buildings Group and offer local employment opportunities to well qualified individuals.”

The company also hires welders from SVCC’s training program at the LCAKC. John Evans, Welding Instructor, notes that a number of his students have gone to work at ABC and there are two in a current class who work and continue to attend school at night. 

SVCC offers a Career Studies Certificate in these two programs.  Both are designed to give the student the skills and knowledge needed to attain entry-level work at ABC or similar manufacturing industries.

Vincent Brown, CAD instructor, said “These programs allow a working adult to commit a few hours in the evenings and gain a new career in less than one year.”

Learn more about the educational offerings at an Open House at the LCAKC to be held December 14, 2016 from 4 – 6 p.m.  Representatives from ABC and from SVCC’s welding and CAD programs will be present to discuss the classes as well as current and future opportunities.  Students may qualify for financial aid for these courses.

For information, contact Maki Malone at 434-955-2252.

New Members in SVCC Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society

These students are recent inductees into Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Alpha Theta Chi Chapter on the Christanna Campus of Southside Virginia Community College.  The ceremony was held November 29, 2016.  PTK is the international honor society of two-year colleges with students required to maintain a grade point average of not less than 3.5. Student inducted are (Left to Right)Wayne Bruce of Meherrin, Sean Stith of Lawrenceville, Sarah Smith of Baskerville, Sallie Rogers of Kenbridge, Cody Marston of Lawrenceville, Camryn Carter of South Hill, Rebecca Sandlin of Chase City, and Velma Green of Brodnax

Information Session and Open House on Jobs and Apprenticeship Opportunities

An Information Open House will be held on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at the Southside Virginia Education Center located at 1300 Greensville County Circle, Emporia between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Training opportunities are available and this is a time to learn more about them.  This is of interest if you want a better paying job, change the path you are on, develop skills for promotion, learn through hands-on and experience Apprenticeship Training.  Learn more about jobs in welding, precision machining, computer technology, networking and electricity. 

For more information, http://apprenticeva.com/ or call 434 579 7260 or 434 634 9358.

SVCC Hosts Job Fair

More than 30 employers set up displays, handed out applications, and talked with potential employees during the Job Fair held at the Southside Virginia Education Center in Greensville County on November 2, 2016.  Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development and Student Development Services partnered with Crater Business Services Team to sponsor this regional event.  There were about 175 attendees learning about jobs at area nursing homes, hospitals, construction companies, manufacturers, correctional centers, retail stores, service industries, police departments and also opportunities through SVCC in job and workforce training.  For information about programs offered through SVCC's Workforce Department, call 434 949 1026 or for SVCC college programs, call 434 949 1000.

    

    

Teamwork

By Dr. Al Roberts

Southside Virginia is home to some great athletes, and sports participation is one important way young people can prepare for education opportunities and future employment. By participating at their personal best levels and learning to work with others on and off the court, athletes gain valuable experience. As men’s basketball coach Dennis Smith, explains “Playing on a sports team is really about how people work together to meet a goal. Teamwork is the foundation of everything we do.”

The Southside Virginia Community College basketball team joined the Virginia Community College System club league during the 2003–04 season and has earned rising acclaim. The team won three straight VCCS division titles from 2006 to 2008 and captured the VCCS state championship title in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014.  For the last two years, SVCC’s basketball team captured the USA National Post-Grad Championship title, a competition for teams beyond the high school level. In guiding the team, Coach Smith is assisted by Coach Vincent Brown.

During its regular season the SVCC club basketball team plays against other two-year colleges in Virginia and North Carolina, prep schools, and some independent college teams. In addition to about 20 regular season games, the team participates in two showcase events where coaches from four-year colleges scout for talent. This provides an important benefit to SVCC students because most of the college’s athletes are in transfer programs and have plans to continue their education after graduation.

Student athletes have to preserve a minimum grade point average of 2.0, but coaches push them to achieve more. According to Coach Smith, “Our goal for student athletes is 3.5. We don’t always meet it, but that’s our goal because four-year college coaches are looking for athletes they know will also be successful in the classroom.”

SVCC holds an open tryout in September. Coach Smith says, “I’ve been coaching the team for fourteen years, and we’ve had students come to open try-outs and make the team every year.” The current team began practicing in September, and regular season games started at the end of October.

The SVCC club sports roster will expand this coming spring to include a women’s fastpitch softball program under the leadership of Coach Debra Hood. Practices will be held on both campuses, and games will be held on the John H. Daniel Campus beginning in March 2017.

For more information on where you fit into the SVCC team—whether your interests are focused on sports, activities, clubs, workforce training, or academics—call an admissions advisor on the Christanna Campus in Alberta (434-949-1000) or the Daniel Campus in Keysville (434-736-2000), or visit SVCC’s website at www.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.

Panther Prep Advising Day is Coming to SVCC November 21, 2016

Panther Prep Advising Day is coming to Southside Virginia Community College on November 21, 2016.  This day is for everyone to learn more about SVCC and to register for classes.  Prizes, food, DJs, advising, informational sessions and more.  Bernadette Battle (Left), Director of Counseling and Johnny Paws, the SVCC Panther are looking forward to seeing you.  More information, www.southside.edu

Everyone is invited to a huge event happening at four locations of Southside Virginia Community College on Monday, November 21, 2016.   Panther Prep Advising Day will be held from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. for all current students, those interested in becoming a student or learning more about the college.  The general public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The event is being held at the Christanna Campus, Alberta, John H. Daniel Campus, Keysville, Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, South Boston, and Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center, South Hill.

SVCC will show its Panther Pride on this day with fun, food, DJs, door prizes (to include laptops and VISA gift cards), help with registering for Spring Classes, applying for financial aid and advisors getting students on the right path to success.  There will also be information about the new SVCC Women’s Softball team, entertainment, face painting and college tours.

There will be a free screening of the movie, Farmland, at 7 p.m. at the Alberta and Keysville sites to highlight the provide insights on how our food is produced and to highlight SVCC’s Agribusiness Program.

RSVP to http://www.southside.edu/pantherprepor call Leslie Perkins at 434 736 2022.

Job Fair Coming to Greensville-Emporia November 2

Job Fair 2016 is coming to Southside Virginia Education Center at 1600 Greensville County Circle, Emporia on Wednesday, November 2 from 2 to 4:30 p.m.  Southside Virginia Community College Workforce Development and Student Development Services are sponsoring the event along with Crater Business Services Team and First Media Radio.  This is a Regional Job Fair to serve employers in our locality.

Dress to impress, bring your resume, photo ID and a copy of your WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate (CRC gets you in the door at 1:45 p.m.) 

Interested employers with job vacancies should reserve a booth for this event by October 26.  Hiring employers who reserve a booth will be treated to a catered luncheon at 12:30 p.m. compliments of SVCC.

Employer registration is required by contacting Angela McClintock at angela.mcclintock@southside.edu or 434 949 1026.

SVCC Nursing Club Officers

The SVCC ADN Nursing Club Officers for 2016 on the Christanna Campus of Southside Virginia Community College are (Left to Right) Molly Buchholz, President, from LaCrosse, Casey Dalton, Vice President, from Blackstone, Emily Watts, Secretary, from Gasburg, Rose Marie Privott, Treasurer, from Chester, and Stephanie Robinson, Assistant Treasurer, from Blackstone.

Christie Hales Honored for Excellence in Communications

Christie Hales, Public Relations Director at Southside Virginia Community College, received a 2016 Excellence in Communications Award from the Virginia Community Colleges Association.  Hales won a second place award for writing in the category of Feature Story.  The article was "SVCC Student Now Familiar Face on Georgia TV," about Benjamin Billmyer, an SVCC graduate, who landed a job  as Multimedia Journalist with a television station in Georgia.  Hales lives in Lawrenceville and received a B.A. degree in Journalism from the University of Richmond.  She has worked in PR at SVCC for 27 years.

Editor's Note: Christie's words have graced this page many times, and I am grateful for every one of them over the past few years. Congratulations, Christie!

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