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$35K Grant Provides VHCC Precision Machining Students Boots, Tools and Expanded Training Opportunities
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A $35,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Education is providing students in Virginia Highlands Community College’s Precision Machining program with free boots, tool sets, and expanded training opportunities. The PluggedInVA grant was awarded to the Mount Rogers Regional Adult Education Program (MRRAEP) in partnership with VHCC.
Johnnie Keene, assistant professor of machine technology, said the PluggedInVA grant offers valuable enhancements to the education and training students receive while enrolled at VHCC.
“The opportunities provided by the PluggedInVA grant and partnership with Mount Rogers put our machining students in the best position to be successful in college and in the workforce,” Keene said.
The PluggedInVA model encourages collaboration between community colleges and regional adult education agencies to provide side-by-side job skills training and basic skills training. Students co-enroll at VHCC and MRRAEP, and in addition to completing their Precision Machining classes at VHCC, they spend time working on reading, math, and problem-solving skills with MRRAEP instructors to ensure they gain every advantage in their studies and future employment.
“While students complete their college classes and work on becoming expert machinists, they can also work on advanced certifications such as Certified Production Technician and the National Career Readiness Certificate, and they receive boots and tool sets to get them started in their careers – all provided by the PluggedInVA grant,” Keene said.
MRRAEP Program Manager Shirley Carlson said the PluggedInVA partnership is a rare opportunity for students and job seekers in Southwest Virginia.
“Our region struggles with lack of access to education and job opportunities,” Carlson said. “To be able to offer top-quality job skills training alongside expanded educational experiences, trade certifications, and supplies provided at no cost to students is a lifeline to those who have been left behind in school and in the workforce.”
VHCC’s Precision Machining program can be completed in two semesters. Students learn blueprint reading, manual machining skills, and basic Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) processes. An optional third semester provides advanced training in CNC machining techniques.
About Virginia Highlands Community College
Virginia Highlands Community College is one of the 23 comprehensive community colleges in the Virginia Community College System. VHCC has become a dynamic leader in Southwest Virginia with a primary goal of providing comprehensive and quality education and related services for residents throughout its region. We proudly serve the residents of Bristol Virginia, Washington County and the Western Part of Smyth County. The College is committed to teaching, learning & community building, and serves more than 2500 students, offering more than 80 academic areas of study.