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Holton praises SVHEC job efforts
SoVaNow.com / July 31, 2014Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton visited the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center on Tuesday afternoon and expressed a high level of enthusiasm for what she found there.
Leading Holton through the SVHEC’s Innovation Center Dr. Betty Adams and Dr. Nettie Simon-Owens, accompanied by Hope Harris Gayles, proudly showed off the Center’s award winning Wood Link chairs and the Martinsville Speedway clock that had been produced in the Center for Arts and Design.
Adams also introduced Holton to David Kenealy, director of the R&D Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Efficiency, which has been making the trophies featuring a replica of the race track on them for VIR’s upcoming special event, the Tudor race, set for Aug. 21-22.
Kenealy, who currently has 20 students enrolled in his program, said the young people are very excited about their project and Holton said she was impressed with the work that is being done in the R&D Center.
Holton also toured the new welding center where 18 students are participating in the program which meets twice weekly.
Holton asked how many students the program could accommodate and was told that it is possible to have 24 participants. Turning to members of the press who were accompanying her on the tour, she instructed them to “fill this place up. Get those additional students who can train here and learn how to make a good living wage for their efforts.”
Commenting on the Center’s flexibility, Holton said she was very interested in all the opportunities offered at the Center. She inquired as to how the Center had been able to buy all the high tech equipment there and was told that most of the funding had come from the Tobacco Commission.
“It’s the operational and staffing expenses that w have to struggle to pay,” Owens told the secretary. But Owens was quick to add that with the newly created Center of Excellence which offers advanced training for middle skill workers — welders, precision machinists and industrial maintenance mechanics — she expects to see a growing demand for students who are working at the Center to move out to local businesses and industries.
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