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Home > About > Where We Are > Newsroom > Eastern Shore C.C. Plan to Meet Employer Needs and Boost HVAC Career Opportunities Earns Annual Foundation Award

Eastern Shore C.C. Plan to Meet Employer Needs and Boost HVAC Career Opportunities Earns Annual Foundation Award


News Release Highlights:

• Eastern Shore Community College earns the Valley Proteins 6th Annual Award.
• The award will expand ESCC’s HVAC training program to meet employers’ growing needs.
• The Valley Proteins Endowment Fund supports workforce efforts at community colleges through the VFCCE


Eastern Shore C.C. Plan to Meet Employer Needs and 
Boost HVAC Career Opportunities Earns Annual Foundation Award

Eastern Shore Community College (ESCC) will soon expand its HVAC program to train people to maintain large commercial HVAC and refrigeration equipment thanks to an award funded by Valley Proteins, Inc. and administered by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE).

The ESCC program currently teaches people how to repair and maintain residential HVAC units. The $10,000 foundation grant will pay for new equipment and the design of a new, expanded curriculum. Those changes will allow the program to teach people to work on commercial HVAC and refrigeration equipment. Eastern Shore employers, ranging from poultry processing plants to space rocket launching facilities, say they need more people with those skills. That demand is echoed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reports that the demand for HVACR mechanics and installers will grow by 34 percent by 2020, and that their median annual salary is more than $43,000.

The ESCC HVAC training program has graduated dozens since beginning in 2004. Nearly one-third of the program’s most recent group of graduates earned the highest possible credential level.

The Valley Proteins Endowment Fund is awarded annually to support workforce development programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges in the areas of environmental science, commercial truck driving, heating and air conditioning, and office technology in regions where the company operates.

“Earning this award will help us expand a needed program that much sooner,” said Dr. Linda Thomas-Glover, president of Eastern Shore Community College. “That means we can respond to the needs of Shore employers sooner and prepare more hard-working people to start promising careers sooner. We are very appreciative of the commitment of Valley Proteins to supporting ESCC and the Virginia Community Colleges as we combine resources to develop a strong local workforce.”

“This year’s award recipient is a reminder of what a catalyst a community college can be for a local economy,” said Michael A. Smith, vice president of Valley Proteins and former chair of the VFCCE. “Congratulations to Eastern Shore Community College on putting together a wonderful proposal. We are excited to think what this could mean for connecting HVACR-trained folks with the employers who really need them.”

“We are dedicated to expanding opportunities through creative partnerships,” said Jennifer Gentry, assistant vice chancellor for VCCS Institutional Advancement. “This endowment is a great example of the synergy that comes from joining together employers who are vested in the quality of tomorrow’s Virginia workforce and the community colleges that elevate it every day.”

Valley Proteins, Inc. is committed to supporting the workforce, particularly in the areas in which it has a business presence. The 65-year-old firm, headquartered in Winchester, operates plants in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. Its processing facilities recycle food waste materials into usable products and bio fuels for feed and industrial applications.

This is the first time Eastern Shore Community College has earned the award. Previous recipients of the annual award include Blue Ridge Community College, John Tyler Community College, Paul D. Camp Community College and Southside Virginia Community College.

About the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education: Working hand in hand with Virginia’s 23 community colleges, the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education seeks to guarantee financial assistance to all students who dream of attending college. The foundation is building an endowment that is already generating interest to provide full scholarships to selected community college students. Donors to the fund are invited to endow a single scholarship in their name and designate it to any of Virginia’s community colleges or regions. For more information, please visit

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Created more than 40 years ago, the VCCS is comprised of 23 community colleges located on 40 campuses across the commonwealth. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 400,000 students each year. For more information, please visit

About Eastern Shore Community College: Opened in 1971, and situated on 115 acres on U.S. Route 13, ESCC serves the residents of Accomack and Northampton Counties. ESCC serves an estimated 1,400 students a year. For more information, please visit

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