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Small Town Girl Now Working At The Pentagon

“Just because you are from or live in a small town, this does not mean your chances and options are limited,” advises Brishauna J. Hawkins-Wesson.  A native of Lawrenceville and graduate of Southside Virginia Community College, this small town girl now works as a Temporary Hire for the U.S. Department of Army Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management at Headquarters, U.S. Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia.

Hawkins-Wesson graduated from Brunswick High School in 2014 as number 6 in the top ten percentile of her class.  Having tried but not gotten a spot in the prestigious Governor’s School of Southside Virginia, she enrolled in dual enrollment courses as well asclasses on her own at SVCC in order to complete her Associates of Arts and Science degree in General Studies with a specialization in Administration of Justice the same year as her high school graduation.

Having many credits to transfer to her four-year college of choice, she completed a Bachelor of Science degree at James Madison University in two years.  Hawkins-Wesson received the B.S. in Public Policy and Administration with a concentration in Public Management and a minor in Political Science in May 2016. 

An added bonus was serving the state of Virginia and Virginia’s 5th Congressional District by interning for U.S. Representative Robert Hurst and U.S Senator Mark Warner from May to August of 2015.

About her experience at SVCC, she said, “First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the late Mrs. Rosa Hawkins (former dual enrollment Coordinator) for her dedication and service in shaping and molding the dual enrollment program, as well as serving as a mentor to the students within the SVCC community. Her encouragement and spiritual wisdom carried me through this program and made my SVCC experience the greatest. In addition, I would like to thank Professors: Lisa Jordan, Teresa Hudson, Shanley Dorin, and Mary Downing-Gardner for shaping and molding me to become a better learner and student.”

She also encourages students to “seize every opportunity that is provided or available for you and persevere and stay focused on achieving your goals.”

Both of her parents are Brunswick County natives. Her mother, Rachelle Hawkins-Wesson, is a popular educator and We The People coordinator for Brunswick County Public Schools and her father, Terrence Wesson, is SGT First Class in the U.S. Army and human resource specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Setting and meeting goals is in Hawkins-Wesson’s DNA.  Her future plans include receiving a Master’s in Homeland Security and Emergency Management or Security Studies at a well accredited and qualified institution of higher learning within the next two years. Within the next four years she plans to be proficient in Arabic and to obtain graduate certificates in Islamic or Middle Eastern Studies and possibly cyber security.   She hopes to work for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the future also. 

SVCC offers dual enrollment opportunities throughout Southside Virginia in many areas of studies including administration of justice, nurse aide, culinary arts, fire science, welding, emergency medical services, high performance technology, advanced manufacturing, general education coursework, and more! For more information, please contact the guidance department at your local high school.

WIOA Summer Program Recognizes Participants/Partners

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act's Summer Youth Work Experience contracted through Southside Virginia Community College held a closing luncheon and awards ceremony on July 29, 2016 at the John H. Daniel Campus in Keysville.   Guest speakers included Edward DeJesus, motivational speaker and author of Makin’ It”: The Hip-Hop Guide to True Survival.  Other speakers included Joseph Ashley, Assistant Commissioner of Grants and Special Programs for the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, and Dr. Rick Mitchell, Deputy Director of the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired. 

For the program, participants are matched with an employer in their area to do a four to eight week paid work experience. 

According to Christin Jackson, Coordinator of the WIOA Adult and Your Programs for SVCC, “There were 19 employers that worked with our 41 participants this summer.  Each week, the WIOA Case Managers (Suzanne Lawson, Monica McMillan, D'Elia Gafford, and part-time assistant case manager Julia McInturf) taught the employment soft skills class created by the NCCER called Tools for Success.  Successful participants in this class received a certificate for completion to put with their resume that included their employment skills such as resume writing, interview skills, working as a team, conflict management, thinking outside the box, sexual harassment awareness, etc.”

The students were also offered the opportunity to take the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) Assessment. A total of 14 took the CRC Assessment and the results were: 1 - Gold, 2 - Silvers, and 6 Bronze Certificates.  

This year for the Work Experience SVCC and WIOA partnered with DARS (Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services) in a Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities (CPID) Grant to put on three Dream It Do It Academies.  This enabled all 41 participants to experience an academy.   The first academy was taught by Vincent Brown and was a Robotics/Drones Academy where the students built robots and flew drones and were able to take aerial photos and videos.  These students also toured UAV Pro, a drone manufacturer in Blackstone.  The second academy was taught by Scott Edmonds and was a 3-D Imaging Academy and the students designed marketing tools for various companies using AutoCad.  They were able to print their designs using 3-D printers.  They created a portfolio of their work and they were able to tour Cardinal Homes, Inc. of Wylliesburg to see 3-D imaging that is used in creating homes.  The last academy was Welding taught by Fernandez Bruce.  The students worked as a team to create two beautiful drafting tables.  Also, individually the students designed and created a fireplace poker and shovel.  These students toured Slap Nasty Custom Designs of South Boston.  All of the academy participants got to tour Dollar General Distributing in South Boston to see what happens to products after manufacturing. 

“At the finale on July 29th, the employers were awarded certificates of appreciation for their participation in the program.  The students were given portfolio's with their resume, a letter of reference from their employer, their CRC Certificate, their Dream It Do It Certificate and their Tools for Success Certificate to ensure that along with the valuable work experience, they would be prepared for interviews,” said Jackson.  

The 2016 Summer Work Experience Employers are Virginia Cooperative Extension Office (4-H0 in Charlotte Court House, Charlotte County Treasurer’s Office in Charlotte Court House, Ellis Acres Memorial park, Dillwyn, Southside Virginia Community College Buildings and Grounds, Keysville, Southside Virginia Community College Student Services Office, Keysville, Randolph-Henry High School office in Charlotte Court House, South Boston and Halifax County Museum in South Boston, The Prizery in South Boston, The Prissy Hippie Beauty Shop, South Hill, Central Middle School, Charlotte Court House, YMCA, Farmville, @Work Personnel Services, Farmville, Farmville-Prince Edward Community Library, Farmville, Central High School, Victoria, South Hill Workforce Center, South Hill, Estes Community Center, Chase City, Butler Memorial Library, Chase City, Life Changing Community Development, Blackstone, Chase City Rescue Squad in Chase City.

Lauren Upton of Dinwiddie Receives K. George Verghese Memorial Academic Merit Award

Lauren Upton of Dinwiddie was a recent recipient of the K. George Verghese Memorial Academic Merit Award. Dr. Verghese was a long time faculty member at SVCC and was instrumental in the establishment of the Registered Nursing and Practical Nursing Programs. Lauren (center) is shown with Karen Abbett (right), Practical Nursing Program Director and Patricia Archer, Associate Professor of Practical Nursing.

Machining Skills Program Graduates

Front row, left to right: Gary Holderness; Jason Cates; Chad Garcia, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Lee, Command Sergeant Major Clarence D. Richardson; Chief Antonio Belmar, Sr of Fort Lee; Gabriel Kelechi;   Second row, left to right:  John Bright;  Brandon Cooper;  Robert Homer.  (Absent were Smith Jeandenis, Vantyne Montes, and Bruce Trask)

2016 New Student Orientation at SVCC

New Student Orientation (NSO) will take place on both main campuses of Southside Virginia Community College in August. New students, parents, and mentors are encouraged to attend an NSO closest to them!  Students will learn about SVCC services, tour the campus, complete the enrollment process, and get a Student ID card. A variety of dates and times are offered to make this informative event convenient for our newest SVCC Panthers!

New Student Orientation Dates Fall 2016:


August 18th    5:30 PM       John H. Daniel Campus located in Keysville, VA    

 August 19th 10:00 AM      Christanna Campus located in Alberta, VA

*Please check in with Student Services when you arrive on campus*

The New Student Orientation program is hosted by Student Services on each campus of SVCC. For additional information about the New Student Orientation experience please call Le’Tina Giles Student, Activities Coordinator at 434-736-2023. New students may also visit the NSO website at

2016 Century 21 Clary & Associates Scholarship Awarded

Jean Clary Bagley (left) recognizes Hannah Hendrick (center) as the recipient of the 2016 Century 21 Clary & Associates Scholarship though Southside Virginia Community College.  Representing SVCC is Bernadette Battle, SVCC Director of Student Services.

Check Your Mailbox

Coming to a mailbox near you!!!! The Fall 2016 Printed Semester Schedule from Southside Virginia Community College is coming back to your mailbox. There is much information contained in this 20-page booklet to explain how to register for classes, what is being offered, special events, orientation, workforce training, CNA, Power Line Worker Training, nursing, HVAC, and much much more. Be on the lookout for your personal copy or stop by an SVCC location to pick one up!!!! Register Now. Classes begin August 22, 2016.  For more information, call 1 888 220 SVCC or visit the website at  Success Starts Here!!

SVCC Graduates Nurses

The Associate Degree Nursing Program graduates from the Christanna Campus of Southside Virginia Community College are (First Row, Left to Right) Instructor Leigh Moore, Haley Wilborn-Crewe, Ashton Paul- Lunenburg, Dawn Poythress-Lawrenceville, Kristen Wilkinson-Blackstone; Second row, l to r; Joanna Baird- South Hill , Sydney Brumbelow-Boydton Kelli Powell-Emporia; Third Row:   Kathy Davis-Brodnax, Savanna Barker-Victoria, Jennifer Bradley-Valentines, Meaghan Frick-Dinwiddie, Amanda Earp-Emporia; Last step up: Amanda Matthews- South Hill, Melissa Hoefer-Lunenburg , Polly Carr-South Hill, Alexandra Orrell-Dinwiddie, Victoria Lewis- Blackstone

Who's Who at SVCC

Each year, Southside Virginia Community College recognizes a select group of students to accept one of the most prestigious awards an academic community can bestow.; that of being selected to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.  Among those chosen who attended a ceremony recognizing the accomplish from the Christanna Campus are Left to Right Wade Bagley, Monica McMillan, Faith Merricks, Kaylin Weise, Derrick Carpenter, Jr., Richard Watson, Cade Hamm and Kathy Drummond. 

Cupcakes and Calculus

By Dr. Al Roberts

What do cupcakes and calculus have in common? Students at Southside Virginia Community College are learning about both through the wide variety of camps and classes available this summer.

Calculus is just one of many opportunities for students who are continuing their studies, working toward certifications, associates degrees, or entry into a four-year institution. In addition to Mathematics, the college’s summer schedule features offerings in many other diverse areas from Accounting to Welding (too bad we don’t offer zoology).

Some other summertime opportunities feature enrichment activities intended to foster excitement and curiosity in younger learners. That’s where the cupcakes come in. Through a fun and tasty activity, SVCC’s Kids Camp Cupcake Wars provided sessions for children to learn about cake decorating techniques and designs.

The Cupcake Wars launched a series of Kids Camp activities available from SVCC. Other Kids Camp activities on slate for June and July include “Commotion in the Ocean,” a storytelling and painting activity, “SNAP! I’m an Engineer,” through which young people experiment with resistors, capacitors, LEDs, and other electronic equipment, and “Lego Robotics,” an activity that enables students to use creativity and problem-solving skills as they design, build, and program Lego Mindstorm Robots.

SVCC also partners with Dream It Do It, an initiative formed to introduce students to advanced manufacturing and engineering technologies. One of this summer’s Dream It Do It camps will provide students who are registered for services under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) an opportunity to receive hands-on experiences with 3D modeling and printing. Another will focus on robots and drones. During its five days, students will learn to create and program a robot and how to fly a drone and capture video. In addition to providing first-hand experience with cutting edge technologies, these activities will help students improve their computer skills, participate in brainstorming and decision-making processes, and learn to work in teams.

Summertime is also a great time to think about career advancement. Some SVCC students will take a preparation class prior to receiving a Career Readiness Certificate (CRC), a portable credential designed to provide evidence that an individual is ready for work with respect to fundamental standards. Plumbers, electricians, HVAC mechanics, and gas fitters will be taking continuing education classes for tradesmen. Additionally, for people who need CPR and First Aid training, SVCC offers one-day courses at several locations.

With these and other activities, SVCC is doing its part to help young people and students of all ages maintain active and engaged minds throughout the summer months. If you’re interested in knowing more about SVCC’s numerous seated and online classes, please visit the college’s website,

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

Southside Virginia Community College Class of 2016

Caption for this photo:  Dr. Al Roberts leads the processional at Southside Virginia Community College on May 14, 2016 during the 26th Commencement.  To the left is Gerald W. Watts, SVCC Local Board Chair, and Dr. Tara Carter, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and behind is Martha Reed, Speaker, and Dr. John J. Cavan, former SVCC President.

Dr. Al Roberts awards Tiffany Posey of Emporia with her diploma at SVCC's graduation.

Debra D. Norwood of Emporia was among those graduating from SVCC on May 14, 2016

Graduates from Emporia

Disheka Lanae Adams

Shaheed Nasir-Hakim Ahmad

Alexandra Nicole Allen

Haley Dawn Allen

Lesley Daniel Allen

Moniqua La'Chae Allen

Tamarreious Kemond Anderson

Sarah Kathleen Ashcraft II

Alexis Tilton Autry

Deborah Leigh Barnes

Jordan McKaley Boney

Autumn Karen Britton

Tenisha Renee Broadnax

Aviel Ranisia Brown

Brian Matthew Bullock

De'Shawn Tre'Von Cain

Derrick   Carpenter Jr.

Harvey Lee Cifers Jr.

Ciara Dare Cifers

Arden Carol Samson Cosio

James Bryant Cutcliff

William Henry Davis Jr.

Dynisha Te'sha Davis

Khadysia Simone Davis

Sonji S Davis

Morgan Elizabeth Dianis

Leslie Claire Dickens

Allison Gray Draper

Kathy Robinson Drummond

Terri LaPHaraha Drummond

Stewart Cordell Dugger

Amanda Lynn Earp

Skylar Dawn Ferguson

Ayjah Lashay Fields

Jessica Marie Flynt

Jessie Roland Gay

India RaQuell Gillus

Tammy Jo Goddard

Markeisha Denise Green

Paula Pettis Grizzard

Garrett Leon Gund

Denita Powell Hardy

Dykee Quashawn Harrison

Taylo Mariah Harrison

Andre' Malik Hayes

Michelle J. Hensley

Bryant O'Neal Hicks Jr.

Isaiah Cornelius Hicks

Davida S Jackson

Felicia A Jackson

Dillon Jacob Jenkins

Ny'Lisha Shaqiell Jones

Tillacia Breyaun July

Nathaniel Joseph King

Carman Kelli Larson

Zacia Tianna Lewis

Kimberly Ann Lucas

Porscha C Offer Lundy

Shastany DeAnn Lundy

Meredith Kaitlyn Lynch

Cleophas Franklin Malone

Kayla Ivona Maloney

Mallie Evelyn Manning

David Franklin Martin III

Lorraine   McDowell

Haylee N Miller

Deja Imani Moody

Kristen Nicole Moseley

Laurice Danielle Moses

Debra D Norwood

Michaela Romonza Parker

John Russell Perkins Jr.

Angel M Person

Austin Lee Petty

Justin N. Phillips

Kevin Neal Phillips

Latisha   Pitt

Rafiq JaQuail Akmed LilNay Pitt

Tiffany La'Rose Posey

Erica Rose Potempa

Kelli Miller Powell

Shaketta Shanelle Powell

Terrance   Price

Nayr Q Robinson

Valerie J Robinson

Edmund Marcus Saleeby

Moesha Chardae' Seaborn

Kayla Marie Simmons

Markesha Tonyale Simmons

Martina La'Shay Singleton

Darius Marcel Sneed

Kiarra Litia Speller

Tamara Lynn Starke

Michael Ray Stephens

Kevin McGlenn Stephenson

Allysa Jordan Thomas

Dominique Montayia Thomas

Sedarous Martiz Thomas

Makayla Lynn Tomlin

Al Lee Tucker

Dontae Shaquille Tucker

Angela Rowena Turner

Courtney Denise Vaughan

Stewart Eric Veliky

Alyssa Brooke Velvin

Tyler Wayne Velvin

Jarques James Walton

Katina Tiara Washington

Keeana Nastaaja Washington

Roland Eubank Weaver III

Ahmeara Elizabeth Wilfong-Linder

Kylah Simone Williams

Deondre Malik Williams-Porter

Harry Wilson Woodley Jr.

Rebecca Leeann Wrenn

Alanna   Wright

Lance Ryan Wyatt



Graduates from Jarratt

Stephen Dwayne Allen

Codi Alexander Autry

Tabria Neshae Bailey

Precious C Colbert

Donella Grant Crist

David Michael Gwaltney

Kaitlin Renee' Harrison

Madilyn Marie Harrison

Candace W. Joyner

Desmond Naron Manning

Matoya Shenelle Nicholson

Shacacia Tygi Parker

Laquishia Denise Person

Dallas Morgan Phelps

Kathryn Alexandra Rae

Shanice Shanae Squire

Robert   Sykes Jr.

Tameka Massenburg Williams

Graduates from Slippers

Tavonia Danielle Banks

Nicole M. Hicks

Dashawn   Jefferson

Jonathan Carl Jones

LaMoni Chetrel Lee

Tyler Dean Moore

SVCC College Diesel and Auto Tech Graduation

The Southside Virginia Community College Diesel and Auto Tech programs held a ceremony to recognize successful graduates on May 5, 2016.  The program is taught at the SVCC Occupational Technical Center in Blackstone at Pickett Park.  Two of the students completing the program, Chad Philpot and James 'Kenny' Davis, are Dual Enrollment students who received the college Certificate before their high school graduation.  Those completing the program are:

Front Row Kneeling L - R: Antonio Watkins - Roanoke, Chad Philpot - Amelia, James (Kenny) Davis - Blackstone, Charles McKay - Rice, Tyler Moore - Skippers, Zachari Perkinson - Dinwiddie, Robert Cofer, Roanoke. 2nd row: Russell Hicks, Instructor, Tavon Jones - South Hill, Kyle Harlan - Jetersville, Arrick Chaffin - Nottoway, Chris Griffin - Chase City, Dylan Ray - Moseley, D. J. Winn - Chesterfield, Damon Honn - Chester, Ryan Huddleston - Farmville, Bryan Lewis, Instructor, Josh Smith, Instructor, Billy McGraw, Instructor.  3rd Row: Sedarous Thomas - Emporia, Thomas Wach - N. Chesterfield, Skyler Woollett - Lynchburg, Jeremiah Kelly - Crewe, Jonathan Kelly - Crewe, Michael Stephens - Emporia, Chance Holland - Lexington, Zachary Piper - Blackstone.

First SVCC Power Line Worker Program Celebrates Graduation

Graduates of the Southside Virginia Community College Power Line Worker Program are(Front Row, Left to Right) Joseph Alan Anthony, Jr.  of Blackstone, Kevin Lee Dalton of Blackstone, Robert Joseph Parlante, Jr. of South Chesterfield, Derek Hunter Staton of Clarksville, and Brad Wike, Instructor and (Back Row, L to R) Cameron Willis Gibbs of Burkeville, Clyde Robertson, Instructor, Anton Andrew Lewis Carwile of Charlotte Court House, Joshua Lanier Crenshaw of Midlothian, William Andrew Jordan of Mineral, Lucas Brent Storey of Chester, of Powhatan,  Matthew Thomas Cox of Powhatan and Jackie Eugene Lewis, Jr. of Chase City.

The inaugural class of the Power Line Worker Program of Southside Virginia Community College celebrated graduation with family, friends and supporters on May 12, 2016.  Eleven students completed the 11-week program earning Level 1 certification from NCCER (National Center for Construction Education & Research), a commercial driver’s license, first aid & CPR certification and OSHA 10 safety training.

This comprehensive training program includes pole climbing, pole-top rescue, power line repairs, electrical circuits, rigging, setting and pulling poles, electrical test equipment, and trenching, excavating and boring equipment.  Prior to the graduation ceremony, students demonstrated pole climbing, rescues and other skills on the outdoor pole range.

The first of its kind in Virginia, the school was founded earlier this year by a public-private partnership between Virginia’s electric co-ops, Southside Virginia Community College, the Virginia Community College System, Virginia Foundation for Community College Education, Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative and the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The motivation to establish the program grew from the demand for power line workers throughout Virginia and the nation. 

Clyde Robertson, Instructor and a 41-year veteran lineman, noted, “This class set a high bar for the classes to follow.”

Senator Frank Ruff, guest speaker, said, “This type of skill and training is a building block to your future.”  He commended the partners who brought this program “to our part of Virginia, it saves costs and keeps dollars in our economy.”

The Program opened on March 1, 2016.  At the time, Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President said, “The establishment of the Power Line Worker Training School is a shining example of the high level of partnership and collaboration that is required if we are to advance our local economies and meet the demands of Governor McCauliffe’s New Virginia Economy.”

SVCC Vice President of Workforce Development, Keith Harkins points out “ this program is a wonderful example of how short-term training leading to an industry credential can result in a rewarding career”.  Two of the recent graduates have accepted jobs with electric cooperatives and several others have had interview opportunities.

The second class of the program starts on July 11 and is almost full.  An October class is filling up also.  This program is open to any high school graduate or GED recipient and includes extensive hands-on training that will prepare students for apprentice level line work at electric utilities.

Serving Those Who Have Served

By Dr. Al Roberts

Every year, more than 200,000 men and women leave the military and re-enter civilian life. These returning heroes often possess advanced skills and good work habits acquired from valuable service-related training and experiences. Despite these advantages, however, many veterans encounter obstacles as they transition to civilian life.

Dean Schwartz, the Veterans Affairs School Certifying Official at Southside Virginia Community College, who is himself a wounded veteran, explains that part of the problem stems from the military’s culture. He cites interpersonal communication as just one example. “Military communication is blunt, very blunt, and not following an order can hurt or kill someone.” As a result, Schwartz says veterans sometimes find it difficult to adjust to civilian perceptions about what it means to be polite.

Additionally, veterans who pursue education opportunities are typically nontraditional students, returning to the classroom after a break in schooling. They are likely to be older than many of their classmates and more likely to have families and dependents. For some veterans, injuries have left lasting disabilities. For some, settling down after frequent moves is a significant lifestyle change.

Identifying a new career path can also be a challenge. Schwartz says his military training—dealing with landmines, explosives, and machine guns—had little applicability to what he wanted to pursue in civilian life. For him, a successful career meant one devoted to serving others. Swartz has been able to achieve this goal at SVCC where he meets with veterans, helps them learn about available GI benefits, and guides them as they explore options.

SVCC also reaches out to veterans in other ways. Each of the college’s main campuses hosts a Student Veterans of America chapter. Monica McMillian, past president of the Christanna chapter, served with the Army Reserves for nearly ten years. She says SVCC provided a veteran-friendly, comfortable environment with one-on-one assistance that helped her remain motivated.

Sometimes SVCC’s engagement with service members begins while they are still on active duty. In collaboration with the Fort Lee Soldier for Life Program, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), and other partners, the college developed an innovative advanced manufacturing training program. Its graduates prepare for a seamless transition to civilian employment through the attainment of National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certifications.

Financial assistance to qualifying veterans is also available. The SVCC Foundation administers the William M. "Bunky" Warren Memorial Veteran's Scholarship and the Jack M. Rainey Memorial Veteran's Scholarship, both established by American Legion Post #79. Veterans who would like more information about these scholarships, and people or organizations interested in funding additional scholarship opportunities, can call 434-949-1051. Former military personnel and transitioning service members who are re-entering civilian life can learn more about the services SVCC offers veterans by contacting Dean Schwartz at 434-736-2100.

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

SVCC Classes are Coming for Summer Beginning May 23

Summer is hot, welding is cool.  You can take welding this summer at Southside Virginia Community College or a lot of other cool classes.  Our classes can get you a head-start or transfer to your away-from-home college.  Check out the listings at

Home from college for the Summer??  Right out of high school?  Don’t waste your long hot summer, take classes at Southside Virginia Community College!!!  Jump start your college education or pick up a few transfer courses such as biology, Physics, English, Public speaking, Business or many others.   Or the college is offering Administration of Justice classes, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Cosmetology, Diesel Tech, First Aid and CPR and much more. 

 Southside Virginia Community College has a variety of class offerings and there are ten week and five week sessions.  Classes begin May 23, 2016.  For more information, to see the entire schedule of classes and to put some class into your summer,

Or call 1-888-220-SVCC or come by a location!!!


In keeping with Southside Virginia Community College’s Strategic Plan for 2015 – 2021, the college is dedicated to making efficient and effective use of resources in order to serve the region as the leading provider of quality academic and workforce services.  This, along with reductions in funding due to enrollment declines, necessitates a major restructuring and realignment of departments and personnel at the college. 

As of June 30, 2016, a total of 14 fulltime positions at SVCC will be eliminated, some of which have been vacated due to retirements and other factors and will not be filled.   Several additional part-time positions will also be eliminated.  The major budget expenditure of the college is in the area of personnel.

Dr. Al Roberts, President, said, “None of the eliminations are performance related.  There are several factors that go into the multimillion dollar shortfall for the 2016-17 fiscal year including a decline in enrollment, lower revenues and decreases in state funding.”

Over the past year, the college administration has implemented a number of measures in anticipation of a budget shortfall including a hiring freeze in September 2015 for full-time and wage positions.  Voluntary early retirement incentive programs were offered as well as pre-retirement workload reductions to further alleviate the possibility of cutting the workforce.  Operational cost saving measures were initiated and will continue. 

As a part of the restructuring process, SVCC is targeting growth by focusing on programs, both credit and non-credit, which offer career opportunities and nationally recognized credentials that meet employers’ needs.

“We are committed to the college’s mission that says all citizens should be given an opportunity to acquire an educational foundation.  By focusing on quality education, student success, and community partnerships to provide workforce training and enhance economic development, we will continue to make decisions for the long-term future of Southside Virginia Community College and the communities we serve,” said Dr. Roberts.

Southside Virginia Community College Hosts 8th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet

Southside Virginia Community College held the 8th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet at the Christanna Campus on April 21, 2016.  This event recognizes Officer of the Year and Employee of the Year for correctional facilities in the area of the college.Kenneth J. Reagans, Assistant Warden of Operations, Lawrenceville Correctional Center was guest speaker.  Those receiving awards are (Front Row, Left to Right) Cassandra Roberts, Employee, Halifax Correctional Unit #23, Rosa L. Booker, Employee, Dillwyn Correctional Center, Officer Alease J. Royall, Buckingham Correctional, Linda H. Mayo, Employee, Lawrenceville Correctional, Alfonzo Seward, SVCC Criminal Justice Assistant Professor, LaCretia Watkins, Employee, Lunenburg Correctional, Cindy F. Spencer, Employee, Nottoway Correctional, Officer Betty J. Wardell, Nottoway Correctional and Officer Lisa V. Pearson, Lawrenceville Correctional and (Back row, L to R) Officer Michael Gary, Greensville Correctional, Dr. Tara Carter, SVCC Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, John A. Stearrett, III, Employee, Buckingham Correctional, Officer James D. Jackson of Halifax Correctional, Paul E. Hawkins, Employee, Deerfield Correctional, Lt. Jeanette S. Minggia, Deerfield Correctional, Robin Y. Ramsey, Employee, Greensville Correctional, Dale C. Compton, Dr. Chad Patton, SVCC Dean.Southside Virginia Community College held the 8th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet at the Christanna Campus on April 21, 2016.  This event recognizes Officer of the Year and Employee of the Year for correctional facilities in the area of the college.Kenneth J. Reagans, Assistant Warden of Operations, Lawrenceville Correctional Center was guest speaker.  Those receiving awards are (Front Row, Left to Right) Cassandra Roberts, Employee, Halifax Correctional Unit #23, Rosa L. Booker, Employee, Dillwyn Correctional Center, Officer Alease J. Royall, Buckingham Correctional, Linda H. Mayo, Employee, Lawrenceville Correctional, Alfonzo Seward, SVCC Criminal Justice Assistant Professor, LaCretia Watkins, Employee, Lunenburg Correctional, Cindy F. Spencer, Employee, Nottoway Correctional, Officer Betty J. Wardell, Nottoway Correctional and Officer Lisa V. Pearson, Lawrenceville Correctional and (Back row, L to R) Officer Michael Gary, Greensville Correctional, Dr. Tara Carter, SVCC Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, John A. Stearrett, III, Employee, Buckingham Correctional, Officer James D. Jackson of Halifax Correctional, Paul E. Hawkins, Employee, Deerfield Correctional, Lt. Jeanette S. Minggia, Deerfield Correctional, Robin Y. Ramsey, Employee, Greensville Correctional, Dale C. Compton, Dr. Chad Patton, SVCC Dean.

Greensville Correctional Center employees were recognized at the 8th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet held at Southside Virginia Community College.  Assistant Warden Valerie Washington(Left to Right) and Joyce Merritt-Johnson congratulate Officer of the Year Michael Gary along with Alfonzo Seward,Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at SVCC.

Greensville Correctional Center employees were recognized at the 8th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet held at Southside Virginia Community College.  Assistant Warden Valerie Washington(Left to Right) and Joyce Merritt-Johnson congratulate Employee of the Year Robin Y. Ramsey along with Alfonzo Seward,Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at SVCC.

Deerfield Correctional Center employees were recognized at the 8th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet held at Southside Virginia Community College.  Assistant Warden Cynthia Bhuya and Assistant Warden Jo Ann Halsey-Harris (Left to Right)  congratulate Employee  of the Year Paul E. Hawkins along with Alfonzo Seward,Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at SVCC.

Deerfield Correctional Center employees were recognized at the 8th Annual Corrections Awards Banquet held at Southside Virginia Community College. Assistant Warden Jo Ann Halsey-Harris and  Assistant Warden Cynthia Bhuya (Left to Right)  congratulate Officer of the Year Lt. Jeanette S. Minggia along with Alfonzo Seward,Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at SVCC.

Student Appreciation at SVCC and SVEC

Students at the Southside Virginia Educational Center and Southside Virginia Community College were treated to Chili Dogs and a movie.  In addition to the Hot Dogs and Homemade Chili, there was fresh popcorn and a large selection of candy and soda.  There were several door-prizes.  Students screened the movie "San Andreas," staring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.


New Members of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society at SVCC

New members were inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society Alpha Theta Chi Chapter on the Christanna Campus of Southside Virginia Community College recently.    Membership is extended by invitation. To be considered for membership a student must be enrolled in a two-year college, have accumulated 12 semester credit hours, have established academic excellence as judged by faculty, and be of good moral character and possess recognized qualities of citizenship.  Students recently inducted into the Christanna Campus Honor Society are

(Front Row, Left to Right) Savannah Sixbey of Chase City, Jonaya Lewis of White Plains, Jessica Gillis of Lawrenceville, Javana Boyd of Brodnax, Shadae Ruffin of Lawrenceville, TaNeisha Moore of South Hill, Amber Woodard of Emporia, Albertina Drumgold of Lawrenceville, Deona Hancock of Emporia, Julia Gilliam of Emporia, and Back Row , L to R) Ahmad Negm of Crewe, Chiatyra Turner of Ebony, Donella Crist of Jarrett, Susan Seitzinger of Kenbridge, Ingrid Fogg of Kenbridge, Taquanna Lane of Emporia, Zacia Lewis of Emporia, Anthony McAvoy of Bracey, Summer Howerton of Bracey, Marjorie Crayton of Brodnax, Marva Jones of South Hill and Cameron Basham of Lawrenceville. 


Access Is Nice, Success Is Best

By Dr. Al Roberts

Citizens of Virginia have many reasons to pursue higher education. Some want skills and knowledge. Others desire a better quality of life, enhanced respect, and greater self-confidence. Many seek increased career options and the associated financial gains. According to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), “On average, people with a college education earn nearly twice as much as those with only a high school diploma.” SCHEV also notes, “The earnings gap between someone with a college degree and someone with a high school diploma has widened in the last decades and that gap is projected to widen even further in the future.”

Students have a plethora of higher education options, including the pursuit of certificates and industry-recognized credentials, associates degrees, and other higher degrees. The Commonwealth offers 23 public community colleges plus one other public two-year college, 15 public four-year colleges, 44 accredited private colleges, and many other types of education-related enterprises.

Yet many people discover that access to college is only part of the equation. Without needed support, success remains elusive. In fact, recent statistics suggest that more than half of college students who embark on an education journey in the United States fail to reach their goals.

Recognizing that students face significant barriers, Southside Virginia Community College offers a wide array of resources that make success more likely. In fact, a team from SVCC recently participated in a Student Success Leadership Institute (SSLI) sponsored by the Virginia Community College System. The SSLI is designed to implement proven student success strategies system-wide.  Under the guidance of experts, the SVCC team examined our college’s data and practices for the purpose of developing an action plan to enhance increased college completion.

These new steps complement resources already in place. For example, the college offers Comprehensive Learning Centers (CLCs) on both main campuses where professional tutors and trained student assistants offer assistance. The CLCs also help students learn how to organize and remember large amounts of information, how to maintain a schedule, how to take notes, and how to manage stress.

Additional supportive services can be found throughout the college. Admissions advisors help students explore options. Financial aid advisors help students figure out how to fund their education, and the SVCC Foundation annually disburses more than 250 scholarship awards. Counselors and faculty mentors also help keep students on track for graduation.

All these elements contribute to student achievement. On May 14, 2016, the SVCC family will gather at a graduation ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of more than 1,300 students. Combined, they will be awarded more than 700 Associate of Applied Science and Associate of Arts and Science degrees and more than 600 other certificates and diplomas. We are proud to have helped these students find success.

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

SVCC Nursing Program Receives ACEN Accreditation

The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has granted initial accreditation to the Associate Degree Nursing Program of Southside Virginia Community College.  The recommendation of the ACEN is for initial accreditation as the program is in compliance with all Accreditation Standards with the next review set for 2020.

The ACEN supports the interests of nursing education, nursing practice, and the public by the functions of accreditation.  Accreditation is a voluntary, self-regulatory process by which non-governmental associations recognize educational institutions or programs that have been found to meet or exceed standards and criteria for educational quality.  Accreditation also assists in the further improvement of the institutions or programs as related to resources invested, processes followed, and results achieved.  The monitoring of certificate, diploma, and degree offerings is tied closely to state examination and licensing rules, and to the oversight of preparation for work in the profession.

 "We have always known that our Associate Degree Nursing Program is excellent, but the accreditation by the ACEN further solidifies what we have always known to be true!  The accreditation process was a team effort by our entire organization but specifically I am so proud of the director of the program and the faculty who made the accreditation a reality for SVCC, “ said Dr. Michelle Edmonds, DNP, MSN, RN, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health, and Natural Sciences

Dr. Al Roberts, SVCC President said, “ Southside Virginia Community College has a history of delivering top-notch education to our students; and the national accreditation of our Associate Degree Nursing Program is another example of excellence.  I am proud of this program and the team that works daily to make it one of the best around.”

The program consists of a five-semester, 67 credit curriculum that is designed to lead to an applied associate of science degree in nursing.  Successful completion of this degree allows students the opportunity to test for the national Registered Nurse licensure examination.  The program is offered at the Christanna and John H. Daniel Campuses as well as the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston.  There are six full-time faculty members as well as a full-time program director who teach in the program.  Approximately 110 students per year attend the program across the three locations and complete clinicals at area hospitals and other health care facilities.

The ACEN noted one of the key strengths for the SVCC program as “Significant community support and partnerships enhance the nursing program.”  Deliberations about the SVCC program centered on the Self-Study Report, the Catalog, the Site Visit Report, and the recommendation for accreditation proposed by the peer evaluators and the Evaluation Review Panel.

 In 1982, Southside Virginia Community College began offered the first year of an Associate Degree in Nursing Program in affiliation with J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond, VA.  This affiliation was successful for twenty years, but in the summer of 2000, several local health care agencies’ representatives were quite concerned about the nursing shortage in the SVCC service area.  They believed that traveling to Richmond for the second year of the program was a major hindrance to many potential nursing students, as well as to Licensed Practical Nurses who wanted to become Registered Nurses.   Together, Community Memorial Healthcenter, Greensville Memorial Hospital, Halifax Regional Hospital, Southside Community Hospital and SVCC formed a partnership to provide funding for the second year of the program.  In March of 2002, SVCC was granted provisional approval by the Virginia Board of Nursing to admit students to the new program for fall of 2002.

 Today, the program remains one of the most successful degrees that the college offers.  This is just another way that SVCC is serving the Southside Virginia area.  For more information about this or other nursing or allied health programs at SVCC please contact us at www.southside.eduor call 1-888-220-SVCC.


EleVAte SNAP E&T Pilot Program at SVCC

On Wednesday, April 13th, Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) with its local partners, Brunswick County Department of Social Services, Charlotte County Department of Social Services, Greensville/Emporia Department of Social Services, Halifax County Department of Social Services, Nottoway County Department of Social Services and Prince Edward County Department of Social Services, will launch a new employment and training pilot program called EleVAte SNAP E&T to help residents who currently receive food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to secure better jobs in high-demand fields.

Last year, the Virginia Department of Social Services received a $22.3 million competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and test innovative SNAP E&T strategies. The pilot program will serve approximately 5,386 SNAP recipients who are required to work in 13 counties and 11 cities across both urban and rural areas over three years.  The Pilot program will provide training and education as well as focus on teaching participants soft skills such as employment readiness and self-confidence, the ability to work in teams and communicate well, and help with writing resumes and interview skills. It may also provide limited financial assistance for travel, clothing, exam/certification fees, etc.

Through an innovative three-prong approach, the EleVAte SNAP E&T services will be individualized with an Adult Career Coach providing guidance and support through Employment & Training, Support Services, and Career Counseling. The program will also be tailored to meet the needs of each community, matching participants with labor market opportunities.

Eligible participants could have a chance to access one or more of three different components:

1) EleVAte Virginia Online: an online and in-person program lasting about six to eight weeks. This program will help participants develop literacy, math, and other job readiness skills useful in any industry. These services will also help prepare them for additional job training;

2) Job Skills Training Program: a job training program that will help participants get ready for employment. This program lasts eight to twelve weeks. Participants will earn a certificate of job readiness; and

3) PluggedIn Virginia: a program lasting about six to eight months that will give participants job training, career readiness, GED preparation and an industry-recognized certificate.

SNAP recipients interested in finding out more should contact their local Department of Social Services and ask about the EleVAte SNAP E&T Pilot program. Employers, and others interested are encouraged to contact Southside Virginia Community College, LaRoya Walton at laroya.walton@southside.eduor Gloria Westerman at


Register now for Fall Classes

Register now for Fall 2016 classes at Southside Virginia Community College!!  Classes begin in August but are enrolling now reserves your space and allows you to get the classes you need.

The classes offered are on the college website now at  If you need additional help, you can visit a campus or center or call us at 888-220-SVCC or call 434-949-1000 or 434-736-2000.  You can register by mail, phone online and in person. 

SVCC offers the first two years of a four-year degree and transfer is made easy.  Southside Virginia Community College offers degrees and certificates in

  • Accounting
  • Administration of Justice
  • Medical Office Assisting
  • Agribusiness
  • Welding
  • Nursing
  • Business Administration
  • Automotive Technology
  • Cosmetology and Barbering
  • Diesel Technology
  • Education
  • Electricity
  • Electronics
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Fire Science Technology
  • General Studies
  • Human Services
  • Business Management
  • Information Systems Technology
  • Administrative Support Technology
  • Industrial Maintenance Technology
  • Practical Nursing
  • Precision Machining
  • Truck Driver Training
  • Air conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration

And also offers credentials in areas such as Power Line Worker Training, Nurse Aide and Phlebotomy.


Fifty Years Ago, Legislation Signed Creating Comprehensive Community College System for Virginia

This photo of legislation being signed appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch on April 7, 1966

RICHMOND —April 6 marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of legislation that created the Virginia Community College System.

Fifty years ago, the General Assembly passed and Governor Mills Godwin signed, on April 6, legislation that created the State Board for Community Colleges and the State Department of Community Colleges.

The legislation paved the way for what would become, by 1972, a statewide system of 23 comprehensive community colleges, realizing the vision of having higher education opportunity within commuting distance of all Virginians.

Virginia’s Community Colleges are marking the 50th Anniversary of the statewide system of comprehensive community colleges in 2016 with a year-long observance that celebrates the progress of the past 50 years as well as the promise of the future.

Since then, Virginia’s 23 colleges have served well over 2.6 million people, awarded more than 575,000 credentials and associate degrees, and launched countless numbers of transfer students into bachelor programs, advanced degrees, and successful careers.  

The original legislation creating the system merged technical colleges that existed or were under construction with two-year branches of four-year institutions, and subsequently, with entirely new institutions to promote Godwin’s vision of a comprehensive community college that served both the transfer and the occupational needs of all Virginians.

Two colleges, Northern Virginia and Virginia Western, opened as part of the system in the fall of 1996, which grew to eight by the next fall and to 23 by the fall of 1972.

“Whatever else our community colleges may accomplish,” Godwin said at the 1967 dedication of John Tyler Community College, “they have taught us that we can never again think of a college education as something that belongs to the privileged or the few.”

In 2016, Virginia’s Community Colleges are celebrating tremendous gains while enthusiastically looking forward to the profound difference community colleges will make in Virginia’s new economy over the next half-century.

As part of that year-long observance, community members can share their stories regarding what community colleges have meant for them.  A web landing page has been created to collect those stories at


REED Is 2016 SVCC Commencement Speaker

Martha Reed has a passion for teaching.  This passion will undoubtedly be evident in her speech to the Class of 2016 of Southside Virginia Community College at the May 14th Commencement to be held at the Christanna Campus in Alberta at 9:30 a.m.

Reed, Assistant Professor of Biology, has been a member of the SVCC faculty for 23 years.  She teaches Anatomy and Physiology, General Biology, Basic Human Biology, Foundations of Biology and has taught Dual Enrollment and Governor’s School classes. 

A graduate of Randolph-Macon Womans College (Phi Beta Kappa), she received her Masters degree from Virginia Tech (magna cum laude).   During her tenure, she has received many awards including 2009 Virginia Community College Association’s Faculty Showcase 2009 and 2014, 2012 NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development) Excellence in Teaching and the 2015 Virginia Community College Chancellor’s Award in Community Service.

“Teaching for me is a mission and not just a job.  I have the chance to change someone’s life every day.  Teaching at a Community College as compared to a larger university gives me the opportunity to get to know my students on a more personal level,” Reed said.

Not only does she love teaching but her students also return the love.  In student surveys, they have said, “She was helpful and helps the student when needed.  Also cares about her students.  Absolutely love her as a teacher,” and “Mrs. Reed is always willing to go out of her way to answer any questions asked.”

Reed also has a passion for mission work and she expects her students to become involved in community service projects also.  These have included Stop Hunger Now events, March of Dimes and Alzheimer’s Walks.  She has been on three international medical mission trips to Honduras and Guatemala.  She has also helped with mission trips to South Carolina to help the Edisto Indians and workied with the homeless in Atlanta.

She is married to Dr. David Reed, resides in Blackstone, VA,  and they have two daughters Maggie (21) and Mary Preston (16).  Besides her mission work, she enjoys cooking, gardening, walking and spending time with her family at the beach.


The Costs and Value of Higher Education

According to U.S. Census Data, only 24.5% of people older than 25 years in 1940 had completed high school. At that time, people without a high school diploma could still earn family-sustaining wages. By the mid-1960s, more than half of all people over the age of 25 held a high school diploma, and increasingly that credential was needed to secure stable employment.  Today, a high-school education isn’t enough. Employers often demand postsecondary credentials.

Many recent studies have reported that people with any level of higher education generally have a greater earnings potential than others. Research also shows that they have better perceptions of personal health and well-being, demonstrate increased levels of volunteerism, and are more likely to vote.

Although these benefits are known, a crisis looms over America’s higher education system. Indebtedness for education loans currently totals more than $1.2 trillion. This is more than the amount owed on all credit cards combined. It is more than the total amount owed on auto loans. In fact, student debt is the second largest category of debt in the United States. Only mortgage debt surpasses it. Increasingly, college graduates are unable to achieve independent lifestyles or make the types of purchases (such as cars and homes) that have traditionally been associated with moving the economy forward.

Community colleges play a vital role in creating a solution. Virginia’s community colleges offer high-quality academic programs at tuition rates that are generally less than half those charged by other types of public higher-education institutions. Furthermore, students who can pursue their studies while still living at home save on room and board charges, and these added fees can nearly double the cost of attending a four-year college or university.

Here at Southside Virginia Community College, we offer a comprehensive array of accredited post-secondary programs that lead to Associate in Arts and Science degrees, Associate in Applied Science degrees, and other industry-recognized credentials. For students who plan to continue an education path leading to baccalaureate and advanced degrees, SVCC simplifies the process through transfer and guaranteed admissions agreements with more than 20 other colleges and universities. Additionally, SVCC’s dual enrollment program allows high-achieving students to meet the requirements for high school graduation while simultaneously earning college credit. For students and their families, this represents a chance to reduce future college expenses.

If you have questions about admission, visit SVCC’s website at or call one of the two main campuses: the Christanna Campus in Alberta (434-949-1000) or the Daniel Campus in Keysville (434-736-2000). To learn more about financial aid solutions that do not rely on loans and indebtedness, call SVCC’s financial aid office at 855-877-3943. For details about dual enrollment, call 434-736-2080. Early registration for the Fall 2016 semester begins on April 1.

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

Job Fair Coming To SVCC Alberta

Job Fair 2016 is coming to Southside Virginia Community College in Alberta on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m.  Sponsored by SVCC Workforce Development, Elevate Virginia, Lake Country Business Solutions and SVCC Student Development Services, this offers free admission to all job  seekers.

Early entry at 1:45 p.m. is offered with proof of your WorkKeys CRC.  Be sure to dress to impress, bring plenty of resumes, photo ID and WorkKeys Career Readiness Certificate.

Many employers are planning to attend and may get more information by contacting Angela McClintock at 434-949-1026.


Prospective Power Line Workers Climb to New Heights

March 1, 2016 was a Super Tuesday at Southside Virginia Community College’s Occupational/Technical Center at Pickett Park in Blackstone, but not for reasons related to the nation’s primary elections. Dignitaries from around the Commonwealth gathered to celebrate the launch of SVCC’s Power Line Worker Training School and to honor the students enrolled in its inaugural class. Under the banner “Climbing to New Heights Together,” the event brought together many of the people involved in partnerships that made the new program possible.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Al Roberts, President of SVCC, said “Meeting the workforce needs of our region is a monumental task, and no single agency or organization can do it alone. Our success is dependent upon the collaborative engagement of leadership across the Commonwealth.”

Dr. Glenn Dubois, Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, explained how the VCCS and SVCC worked in collaboration with key partners to make the program a reality. Commitments from the Virginia Maryland Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives membership, along with a grant received through the Governor’s Competition for Talent Solutions, provided the foundation.

John C. Lee, Jr., President and CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, was among those on hand. He spoke words of encouragement to the students, reminding them, “Thomas Edison, a man those of us in the electric industry hold in high regard, once said, ‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work.’” He continued, “Here at SVCC’s Power Line Worker Training School, opportunity is dressed in fire retardant clothing, wearing a hardhat, a set of climbing hooks and a tool belt, and make no mistake about it… represents hard work.”

The Power Line Worker Training School offers tremendous opportunities for students and electric utilities. Graduating students receive credentials that confer a significant advantage in the utility job market, giving them entry into a career path that leads to a well-paying occupation. Electric utilities gain potential employees trained in safety and with the skills necessary to enter the profession at a time when many current line workers will soon be eligible for retirement.

Jeff Brown, Director of Workforce Services for the Governor’s Office, called the establishment of the school “a no-brainer” saying it fit into the New Virginia Economy plan and that there is nothing much more important than sources to power our nation.

Keith Harkins, SVCC’s Vice President of Workforce remarked on the urgency he felt from industry partners concerned about their large number of pending line worker retirements. Mr. Harkins also commented on the outstanding career opportunities students will have upon completing the program. “This program allows students to train for a career in 11 weeks! There are just not many opportunities like that out there today. “

Calling the new school “the perfect public/private partnership,” Jeff Edwards, CEO of Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC), said that SEC and the Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative felt fortunate that the site is located nearby and that it offers an outdoor laboratory for real life skills. He claimed that students “will stand out in job applications.”

The school program runs 11 weeks. Clyde Robertson, a 42-year veteran lineman serves as instructor. He is assisted by Brad Wike. Students learn essential pole climbing skills and also earn commercial driver’s licenses and OSHA certification. Those in the inaugural class will graduate in May.

Enrollment for the next class, beginning on July 11, 2016 is currently underway. To be eligible, prospective students must hold a high school or equivalency diploma and be able to qualify for a CDL license. For more information, contact Susan Early at 434-292-3101.



The Career Readiness Certificate can prove to employers that you can do the job.  This Pre-Course for this testing is available locally at the Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia.

According to Natalie Slate, Director of Economic Development for Greensville County, “The ACT NCRC not only assists individuals, it also helps assure employers that the people they hire and promote have the skills necessary to succeed. Having a skilled and trained workforce is vital to attract business and industry to our area."

The Virginia CRC is a credential designed to provide evidence that an individual is ready for work with respect to fundamental standards or workforce literacy. 

Prep courses will be offered in Emporia on March 16 from 8 a.m. until 12 noon, April 20, 2016 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and May 25 from 8 a.m. until 12 noon.  Pre-registration is required by calling Angela McClintock at 434-949-1026 or email

Testing dates are available the second Tuesday of each month through June at the SVEC.  Tests begin at 9 a.m. and pre-registration is also required through Angela McClintock.


New Classes Beginning AT SVCC In Mid March

It is not too late to take a class at Southside Virginia Community College this semester.  Students can catch up or get a head-start with eight week classes beginning the week of March 14, 2016. 

For more information, call Student Services at 434-736-2022 or 434-949-1067 or visit the college website at

New offerings include Online Classes that can be taken from any computer.  The classes are Intermediate Accounting II, Specialized Software Applications, Principles of Microeconomics, College Composition I, Survey of African American Lit. II, Ethics, Principles of Psychology and Religions of the World. 

Christanna Campus in Alberta is offering Developmental Chemistry for Health Sciences, Intro to Computer Applications and Concepts and College Skills and the John H. Daniel Campus offers Basic Switching and Routing-Cisco, Aerobic Dance and Zumba, and College Success Skills.  At the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston, the new 8-week classes are Human Anatomy and Physiology including a Lab.

Students can also begin registration for Summer classes on March 14, 2016.  For information about Your Community College, visit



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