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ERC’s $400,000 donation will double the size of TCC’s Skilled Trades Academy

ERC representatives at TCC's Norfolk Campus.

Elizabeth River Crossings OpCo, (ERC), the operator of the Downtown and Midtown tunnels, continues its commitment to supporting the community and higher education with a new $400,000 donation to Tidewater Community College.

The gift is designated to support the expansion of the Skilled Trades Academy in Portsmouth. The Academy offers hands-on, short-term instruction for in-demand trade jobs. Programs are offered in welding, sheet metal, pipefitting, roofing, marine coating and more.

“We are grateful to Elizabeth River Crossings for its continued generosity in support of our students,” said TCC President Marcia Conston. “This gift ensures that even more students will be able to take short-term programs that have long-term gains.”

This donation will directly support:

  • New Programs that address emerging in-demand careers, with short-term hands-on programs.
  • Facility expansion that will double the size of the academy creating a 40,000- square-foot, fully equipped facility in Portsmouth.
  • Expanded program offerings by increasing class offerings and capacity.

 “We are proud to help fund quality training for in-demand jobs and invest in the vibrancy of the Hampton Roads workforce,” said Anna Bonet, chief executive officer of ERC. “As an infrastructure company, we strongly value skilled trades and safety training programs. There is such a high demand across multiple industries in this region right now, and we want to help eliminate any barriers for these students to get the training they need and find higher-paying, and more stable careers. These students are truly the future of our economy.”

The Skilled Trades Academy opened in 2019 and currently provides training in 10 trades. The facility offers hands-on training in spaces that mimic a variety of job sites. To date, a total of 96% of students who complete industry-recognized credentials are hired by regional employers.

ERC is also a long-time supporter of TCC’s STEM Promise Scholarship program, helping to provide full scholarships for 20 students each year as they earn their associate degrees in STEM-related fields.

“We appreciate that Elizabeth River Crossings has been our pioneer scholarship supporter in the STEM fields for the past six years,” said Christopher Bryant, TCC’s vice president for Institutional Advancement. “We are thrilled that this new gift will expand the physical footprint of the Skilled Trades Academy and increase student opportunities for hands-on training in the trades.”