Category Archives: Workforce

What Governor Kaine said about community colleges in his budget cutting speech

The following excerpts come from the Governor’s prepared remarks, which you can see by clicking here:

In higher education, our October actions reduced schools’ 2009 base budgets by 5 to 7%. For 2010, I have increased the reductions to 15% for all schools, except the community colleges and Richard Bland, which will have the reduction level increased to 10%.

My introduced budget includes nearly $26 million in additional money for need-based financial aid. This money will bring every institution up to at least 65 percent of the target financial aid level that has been recommended by SCHEV. My introduced budget also includes increases in the Community College Transfer Grant program, helping more students begin their higher educations at a two-year college and then transfer to a four-year institution to get their degree at a lower cost to their families…

While there are many challenges ahead of us, we can look forward with hope. Even in this atmosphere, our excellent schools, colleges and universities produce the ideas and graduates that will keep driving our economy. The advances we have made in career and technical education and our restructuring of workforce efforts under the community college system enable us to better prepare our dedicated workforce. Our international connections through the Port of Virginia and Dulles Airport give us a unique ability to be a leader in global commerce. These strengths and many others of our beloved Commonwealth continue to be our ticket to a prosperous future.


Virginia’s Community Colleges are focused on workforce needs through the recession and beyond

The Lynchburg News & Advance printed an editorial today that looks at the needs of Virginia’s workforce through the current recession and beyond.

Despite the sour national and global economies, things will turn around, hopefully sooner rather than later. When the economic clouds part, the American worker had better be ready for an even more competitive world.

The editorial explains how Virginia’s Community Colleges, while working through the recession and the government budget challenges that spin-off from it, are focused on the global competitiveness that Virginia communities and employers will need to succeed in the long run.

The commonwealth, in the short run, is facing a budget shortfall of enormous proportions; long term, though, the shortfall in education and competitiveness are of mammoth proportions. Working with private industry, the community college system, in the last decade, has implemented a number of programs and partnerships designed to address the educational challenges the state faces.

The start of the 2009 session of the General Assembly is only weeks away, and the specter of a $3.2 billion shortfall looms over the state Capitol. Now is not the time, though, for Virginia’s leaders to short shrift the future.  

Bad economies are ugly and painful, but the only way to minimize their impact is to ensure that individuals and companinies in Virginia are creating and attracting job opportunities and that requires the cutting edge skills and knowledge that more than half a million people are getting through academic and workforce training programs every year at Virginia’s Community Colleges.

AREVA and Northrop Grumman invest in Virginia’s workforce

AREVA NP and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, two companies that have partnered with Virginia’s Community Colleges to provide workforce development opportunities, are now partnering together and investing $363.4 million in a joint venture to manufacture equipment and pressure vessels for the nuclear industry and to provide nuclear engineering services. The company formed from the partnership, AREVA Newport News, LLC will create 540 production and engineering jobs.

“Here in Virginia, we have access to a great workforce that have been very supportive of our growing business and we are excited to once again expand our operations here,” said Tom Christopher, CEO of AREVA Inc.

AREVA Inc. continues to work with Central Virginia Community College through an engineering sponsorship program that allows students the opportunity for hands-on work with engineering mentors and advances their engineering skills and knowledge.

Northrop Grumman has partnered with Thomas Nelson Community College through a Design Co-Op program that offers paid college tuition and paid co-op work experience for community college students.

For more information on AREVA and Northrop Grumman’s new partnership, please read Governor Kaine’s press release.

Posted by Lauren Von Herbulis

High Paying Careers can Start at Community Colleges

“What do you want to be (paid) when you grow up?” Most people don’t consider salary when imagining their dream job. But, as Jessica Santina points out in her article Get a Head Start on High Paying Careers with a Two Year Degree, “People always say that it’s better to love what you do than make lots of money. But let’s face it – the money would be nice, too, and there’s no shame in admitting that.”  

Luckily, at any of Virginia’s Community Colleges, the opportunity to explore highly sought after, high wage jobs are endless. From engineers to nurses, a certificate or associates degree from a community college can give you the best of both worlds: a career that you love and pays well.

Posted by Lauren Von Herbulis

Local and State Dignitaries Celebrate Opening of New DSLCC Rockbridge Center

Local and state dignitaries joined in an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony on October 7 for Dabney S. Lancaster Community College’s new Rockbridge Regional Center in Buena Vista, VA.

Participating in the ceremony were: Lexington Vice-Mayor Tim Golden; House of Delegates member Ben Cline; DSLCC President Dr. Richard R. Teaff; Dr. Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System; Mack Smith of the Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors; State Senator Creigh Deeds; Debbie Garrett, representing Congressman Bob Goodlatte; and Buena Vista Mayor Mike Clements.

The 15,000 square foot, $1.5 million training center has been open to students since August and features a computer lab with 24 stations, two compressed video labs, a testing center with computers used for proctored testing, two traditional lecture classrooms, a conference room and two offices, a health sciences lab and a greenhouse. 

This is the fourth and largest location for the RRC, since DSLCC opened a site to serve the Rockbridge area almost 13 years ago. The first RRC opened in March, 1996 but the facility space was quickly outgrown by the student population.

“For too long, the Rockbridge Regional Center hadn’t been able to meet the needs of DSLCC’s students in Buena Vista, Lexington and Rockbridge County,” commented Debbie Garrett, Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s representative, who spoke on his behalf. “This new facility accomplishes that task. …I applaud the regional efforts that resulted in this new center being built in such a cooperative fashion in just about a year’s time…This facility will provide benefits to this region for a long time to come.”

Posted by Lauren Von Herbulis

Faith- and Community- based organizations honored at SHARE Network ceremony

The Virginia SHARE Network is to be “congratulated for designing a program that focuses on the employment needs of people in the community and matching those needs with demands of business and industry,” said Brent Orrell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Orrell served as keynote speaker at the SHARE Network meeting and awards ceremony on Friday, Oct. 3 at John Tyler Community College’s Chester campus. Approximately 50 faith-based and community-based organizations and individuals from around the commonwealth were honored for contributing to the SHARE workforce investment system. The honorees offer job-search assistance, résumé help and other services to aid Virginia’s displaced workers find employment.

In its first year, the Virginia SHARE Network has exceeded its goal of implementing 17 SHARE Network Access Points (SNAPs). According to Dr. Kathy Thompson of the Virginia Community College System, there are 32 fully recruited and trained SNAPs – and more to come!

Concluding his remarks, Mr. Orrell encouraged other organizations to join SHARE and “bring back hope to needy communities across the commonwealth.”

Posted by Lauren Von Herbulis

Community Colleges respond to gas prices

Across the Commonwealth, Virginia’s Community Colleges are looking at new options for making classes flexible and accessible to students, even in the face of increasing gas prices.

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College is launching “Fuel Smart Fridays,” allowing students the ability to bunch all of their classes together on Friday to save commuting costs.  And local media are taking notice — a number of local TV stations as well as the Richmond Times Dispatch have covered the Reynolds plan.

Further south, the Martinsville Bulletin applauded earlier this week Patrick Henry Community College’s plans to offer more “block” schedules on its Sunday editorial page:

Hat’s off to: Patrick Henry Community College for making changes in its fall class schedules so students can make less trips to campus, and save gas, if they choose. Since PHCC has no students living on campus, it recognizes that commuting costs likely are an issue for many — if not all — of its nearly 1,300 students.

Local TV stations are also covering their efforts – see the video clip from Roanoke’s WSLS.

Earlier this month, Virginia Highlands was among the first community colleges nationwide to receive coverage for the same concept – see the Bristol Herald Courier — moving from three-times-a-week classes to twice-a-week, reserving Friday for classes that just meet once each week.

Community colleges have always been flexible in meeting the needs of their communities.  They can act fast to respond to local needs, including new programs to meet workforce needs.  It’s nice that they are getting noticed for it.

— Posted by Susan Hayden