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Earned cred from higher ed / August 14, 2017
Forty-seven graduates from the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center received a total of 121 industry-recognized official credentials for completing their courses in mechatronics, welding, information technology and work ready foundations (a course designed around advanced manufacturing techniques) at a Thursday ceremony.

Betty Adams, the executive director of the SVHEC, praised the completers. “With these credentials, many of you have received job offers before completion” of the program.

She praised the Virginia Tobacco Commission and the SVHEC’s local business partners for providing an education for the students as well as the State of Virginia for the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Program.

The grant pays for a third of the students’ training once they complete it and can then pay for another third once the student attains their industry credentials. The student is responsible for a third of the cost, but the remaining funds can be accrued from other scholarships, grants, vouchers and financial aid.

Guest speaker Sara J. Dunningham, executive director of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development and the Governor’s chief workforce policy advisor, spoke on the importance of the new grant and her own experiences in the workforce.

“It took me a long time to get my college degree, and I held many jobs before I found my way,” she said. “I don’t care if it took you six months or 10 years like I did,” she said. “This [ceremony] is an opportunity for the Governor and I to see the results [of this initiative],” she said.

South Boston Mayor Ed Owens, Halifax County Administrator Jim Halasz, Halifax School Board member Fay Satterfield, Mecklenburg School Board member Dora Garner, Matt Leonard of the Industrial Development Authority, SVHEC operations manager Deb Halasz and Jeremy Satterfield of the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation were all in attendance, along with friends and family of the graduates.

IT Academy completers included Catrina Anderson, Charles Barnes, Dolores Cabaniss, Courtney Carson, Bradley Cole, Donna Conde, Travis Denny, David DeShelter, Sandra Ferri, Justin Francis, Cynthia Lewis, Amber Morgan, Tina Morgan, Benjamin Murphy, Bryan Newbill, Jeremy Newton, Stephen Pattarini, Shawn Pryor, Stephen Puryear, Matthew Rulli, James Rutherford III, Lawrence Smith III, Seth Sweeting, James Terry, Tevin Watson and Thomas Wright.

Completers for the mechatronics program include William Ballou, Mark Gravitt, Ramone Perkins, Dereke Ridgeway, Nicholas Simms, John Spell and Alicia White.

The welding program graduated Tara Bailey, Roger Bennett, Clarence Crews, Eric Ford, Jim Holt, Stacy Morris, Justin Overby, William Ridgeway, Christopher Terry, Jordan Wagstaff and Ernest Womack.

Brandon Fisher, Christopher Royal and Kenny Wilson graduated from work ready foundations.

For information on future classes: (434) 572-5440 and

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