RSVP program helps students at Mountain Empire Community College find new careers

By Mallory Hill, Education Support Specialist, Mountain Empire Community College

Where do you turn when your once steady career is obsolete? Just a few weeks ago, Greg Seals and Rodney Tritt were employed as coal miners in Kentucky. This reality came to an abrupt halt when their employer suddenly closed the mine without warning and filed for bankruptcy. Thankfully, Mountain Empire Community College was there to help. Through the Road to Success in Virginia Program (RSVP), both Greg and Rodney have new career pathways and bright futures ahead of them.

Launched in the spring of 2019, the RSVP program is a partnership between VCCS and the Virginia Department of Social Services, which aims to increase the attainment of postsecondary credentials and degrees in regional demand, increase self-sufficiency through stable, continuous employment and reduce the reliance on temporary benefit programs such as TANF.

Both men received an overview of career pathways available to them and decided to join the Commercial Driver’s License cohort. First, MECC addressed the barrier of transportation by providing gas cards to alleviate the financial burden of their hour-long commute to class.

Next, Seals and Tritt began working on basic skills and soft skills that would be imperative to their success. Both also took advantage of training for job interviews. In addition RSVP was able to help both purchase new clothing appropriate for meeting with potential new employers.



Seals passed his commercial driver’s license test on his first attempt, and his early success inspired him to sign up to obtain career certification in welding.

Tritt also passed his CDL test and has begun work as a trucker for a new employer.

MECC launched the CDL cohort in June 2019 and it was the first cohort for RSVP.

The ability and opportunity to provide job skills training, work experience, job readiness training, adult education, supportive services, and other work-related expense is life changing for these two men and will be for many others in our region. The college is fortunate to be able to offer this platform and support because of RSVP.

For more information about the RSVP program, please contact Cynthia Finley