Tag Archives: John Tyler Community College

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

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Where everybody knows your name

heather-901.jpgAt John Tyler Community College, everybody knows your name. “You are not a number,” says Heather Rice, who says faculty members call her by name even in larger classes. “I feel so welcome here.” 

Heather joined classmate Justina Kim and about a dozen others for a visit to the General Assembly today to share their community college experience with legislators.

“I wasn’t the best student in high school,” says Heather, who graduated in 2006. “I needed a fresh start.” Now with an associate’s degree within reach, she’s ready to transfer to VCU to complete a teacher education program and teach elementary school.

Caring faculty has also made the difference for Justina Kim, who at 22, found at Tyler the supportive environment she needed to succeed.  Kim started college at University of Hawaii when she was 17, “but I found the transition to college life very hard.”justina-902.jpg

With her parents in the armed forces (her mother is currently deployed in Iraq), she found herself starting again at John Tyler, getting to know the faculty, and took a professor’s advice about majoring in business and accounting. “I love John Tyler,” she says. “The faculty relationships have made a great difference for me.”  An excellent student, Justina is president of the college’s PTK honor society. She has a college transcript that will get her in anywhere — but needed the confidence and maturity to back it up.

They are just two of the students seeking to use Virginia’s Community Colleges as a stepping stone to a baccalaureate degree.  John Tyler’s group was full of potential transfer students — from nontraditional students going back to school after several years to homeschooled students who find the community college atmosphere a better transition into higher education.

Transfer was also today’s theme at the community college display on the ground floor of the General Assembly Building. With guaranteed admissions agreements with more than two dozen public and private colleges and universities, opportunities abound. 

Karla Boughey, legislative aide for Sen. Walter Stosch, reminded John Tyler students that it was Sen. Stosch who proposed the transfer grant legislation that provides for scholarships moving on to the four-year colleges and universities in the Commonwealth.  Sen. Watkins shared his own transfer success story about a nephew, now at Virginia Tech, who turned a lack of achievement in high school around and excelled at a Virginia Community College.

Justina’s achievements are being noticed by four-year institutions. “I never thought I would be getting a letter from Cornell inviting me to apply,” she says, although she’s also considering George Washington, Georgetown, and the University of Virginia.

“John Tyler has certainly opened doors for me.”

Pictured:  Heather Rice, top; Justina Kim, bottom

Posted by Susan Hayden

Community colleges: a critical link for community success

Community Colleges are a critical connection between the success of individual students, employers and the communities they share.  That’s the message splashed across Sunday’s edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch op/ed page.

Marshall Smith, the president of John Tyler Community College published a piece about his college’s workforce training programs.  It’s an interesting read, especially if you aren’t up to speed on how community colleges are connecting young people, who don’t know what they want to do, and employers seeking qualified people to hire for good-paying jobs.

Many high school students, parents, and counselors are simply unaware of the lucrative careers available to those who pursue two-year degrees in fields as diverse as mechanical engineering, information technology, and funeral services.

In a conversation between RTD editors and Eugene Trani, president of Virginia Commonwealth University and Gary Rhodes, president of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, that essential link between higher education access and community success was further explored.

President Trani identified community college transfer students as an important piece of that access puzzle.

Trani: Our community-college transfer students who enroll with more than 30 hours from the community college do as well as our native, first-time freshman in terms of retention rates. We love the community colleges. I think that is a good on-ramp.

Rhodes: Let me piggy back on something that President Trani said about the partnership between VCU and Reynolds. The phrase he used was “on-ramp.” The community college mission has 3 parts: (1) its transfer to 4-year colleges and universities; (2) it’s career programs — we have about 80 programs, whether you want to be a nurse, an automotive technician, or work in electronics; and (3) the third part is work-force development.

You can read the longer conversation by clicking on this link.

For more information on how Virginia’s Community Colleges are serving the three missions Rhodes identified, visit our website.

Posted by Jeff Kraus