Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2017

College Round Up

Paul D. Camp Community College and Old Dominion University are teaming up to offer some hard-working students a fast track to their nursing careers… Some Lord Fairfax Community College students will be walking dead on campus for a good cause… From a miner’s hat to a welder’s mask, Mountain Empire Community College offers a creative and convenient training program for those seeking their next success.

Four Students. Eight Degrees. 

Submitted by Dr. Renee Felts, vice president for institutional advancement, Paul D. Camp Community College

Four hard-working students are pulling off what few hope to achieve: earning two degrees. What’s even more impressive is that they’re earning both degrees at the same time.  Thanks to an agreement between Old Dominion University and Paul D. Camp Community College, students attending PDCCC are able to study for both their associate and bachelor’s degrees in nursing. The program is academically challenging and a lot of work for the students. However, for Ayla Sherman, Taylor Jackson, Taylor Felts, and Caitlin Sawyer, it was worth it to reach their academic goals. All four will be moving on to the next steps in their education and career that much sooner. For Ayla Sherman, the rigorous program allowed her to reach her goals faster and have more time with her family. “I have two young children. I did not want to be in school their whole young lives, and this helps consolidate your school time,” Sherman told ODU. “It was a good option for me, because I was able to get both my associate and bachelor’s degrees in two years. I’m still able to see my kids in their later years, and I’m not going to be in school until they’re 20.” Taylor Jackson is confident that having earned his BSN will help him in the competitive medical job market. “Not only does it save you time,” Jackson said, “It makes you more competitive while you’re out there looking for a job.” “The success of these students not only validates their hard work and persistence,” says Dr. Daniel Lufkin, PDCCC president, “it also reinforces the value of our partnership with Old Dominion University.”

Each of the four nurses plan to find work in the field, and some are considering continuing their education in the form of a master’s degree.

Left to Right, students Taylor Felts, Taylor Jackson, Caitlin Sawyer and Ayla Sherman completed their ADN requirements at PDCCC on May 12, 2017, and will graduate from ODU with a BSN degree in December 2017. They must pass the NCLEX licensure exam before they can graduate from ODU.


Third Annual Zombie Run Benefits LFCC Scholarships

Submitted by Sally Voth, public relations specialist, Lord Fairfax Community College

On Saturday, June 17th, Outbreak 5K will give participants the chance to run as if they’re being chased by brain-eating zombies scattered around LFCC’s Middletown Campus. Actually, zombies will be pursuing both runners and walkers in the third-annual 5K benefitting the W. Michael Larrick Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The scholarship is awarded to a full-time LFCC student who has lost a parent or primary guardian. It was set up three years ago by Britney Larrick Hammond and her brother Michael Larrick in memory of their father, W. Michael (Mike) Larrick, who died in 2004 in a work-related accident. The first $1,000 scholarship was awarded this past academic year.

“Both of us were running a lot of 5Ks there for a while,” Hammond said of her and her brother. “He had done a zombie run and immediately loved it. He knew that there weren’t many around here, and he wanted our event to stand out. He thought that was kind of a fun idea and ran with it from there.” 

This year’s race is made all the more poignant by her brother Michael’s death in a March 22nd car crash.

“We instantly said we wanted to continue this,” his widow, Elizabeth Larrick said. “Participants are helping us to continue Michael’s dream.”

Runners pay a $35 fee if they register in advance, and $40 if they register the day of the 5K, which also includes some obstacles, such as hay bales, mud pits and a rope scramble. Walking is fine and any obstacles may be skipped.

Those wishing to play the role of zombie can do so for free. All ages are welcome. Hammond asked that any zombie wannabes register ahead of time because there is a 50-person limit.

To pre-register, go to Zombies are asked to arrive by 8:30 a.m. for make-up, and runners/walkers by 9:30 a.m. The first wave of runners will leave at 9:45 a.m.

CAPTION: Michael Larrick leaps over a zombie during a previous Outbreak 5K.

Former Coal Miners Graduate from POWER Welding Program at MECC

Submitted by Amanda Christopher, PR coordinator, Workforce Development Services

A group of 11 dislocated coal industry workers recently completed an intensive, 80-hour welding class through Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) and attended a graduation ceremony on Tuesday, June 6th at the Russell County Conference Center in Lebanon.

After receiving framed certificates of completion, the graduates attended a reverse job fair with representatives from a group of businesses in far Southwest Virginia: Tadano Mantis, Steel Fab, and West River Conveyers & Machinery Company. The students have job interviews scheduled at Joy Global (Komatsu) and NorrisBuilt Fabrication, Welding & Machine Shop.

Funded by the POWER-Resource Full National Dislocated Worker Grant, this special welding class was offered by MECC at Ridgeview High School using Dickenson County welding instructor Ben Kennedy as adjunct faculty. The genesis of the project came from Tommy Clements, dean of applied science and technology at MECC, who wanted to reach out to dislocated coal miners and other coal supply chain workers in the Dickenson County area to provide them with training opportunities in their own backyard.

“Being able to offer guaranteed job interviews with several regional employers was a major enticement for these POWER Grant participants,” said Regional POWER Grant Coordinator Stephen Mullins with the Southwest Virginia Workforce Development Board. “Training that upgrades your skill sets is important to become a more competitive job-seeker, but no one seriously embarks on a training program for its own sake. A training and credentialing program must lead to employment or, it is a well-known fact in our area that dislocated workers, especially dislocated coal industry workers, are not interested.”

Craig Ball of Raven, a former driller with several coal supply chain companies, said he found out about the class through a post on Facebook. “I was tired of just being tied to coal,” he said. “When the coal market is down, you don’t get to work. Welding is one of the most highly demanded jobs, and welding is not just for coal. It’s used in manufacturing, transportation, construction – all kinds of different industries. Another factor for me deciding to take the class was because we were promised guaranteed job interviews with several local businesses after successful completion of the class.”

After the 10 weeks of training were completed, the students were assessed and tested for various American Welding Society (AWS) credentials by instructors with the Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing’s Centers of Excellence. Some of the students have already made plans to continue their welding training at one of two community colleges; others are contemplating other training options, such as power lineman or Class A CDL truck driver training.'

Laura Osberger

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