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News Releases

To focus on seniors with no plans for college

NORFOLK, Va. – (April 12, 2004) – Planning a career for post-high school will become a little easier for 100 or so seniors in South Hampton Roads this summer.

As a part of Gov. Mark Warner’s Education for a Lifetime initiative, Tidewater Community College has begun a pilot program with up to 27 South Hampton Roads high schools for select seniors interested in industry certification. (To date, 18 schools have signed on.)

The pilot program at TCC – one of four launch sites in the state – will start in June with approximately 100 just-graduated students from Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach schools. The statewide head count will be at least 200 and will multiply many times over as it expands later this spring to include next-year seniors.

Students, selected by counselors at their high schools, can choose from 13 TCC programs. They must complete the Senior Year Plus, Path to Industry Certification program at TCC within nine months of graduation.

“This is a critical time to educate our youth who want to step into good jobs through certification, simultaneously addressing industry workforce needs. Clearly, this is a forte of community colleges,” says TCC President Deborah M. DiCroce. “We’re pleased to apply TCC’s long-held expertise in career preparation to this important program for select high-school seniors who may lack the skills needed to enter the 21st century workforce.

“The Industry Certification program will give these students impetus to earn their diploma and immediately follow through on a certification path, with no tuition costs to them,” adds DiCroce.

The program requires students and their parents to sign a Student Compact. The compact states that the student will complete high school and then enroll in technical training to acquire the appropriate skills and certifications to enter a career. Students also complete an “interest inventory” to best match a certification program with what they enjoy doing.

Industry certification curricula in which selected seniors can enroll at TCC – all established programs – include real estate, nurse aide, emergency medical technician, greenhouse operator, automotive, restaurant operations, lodging management, welding, computer graphics programs: Photoshop and Fireworks, IC3, and Microsoft Office specialist. TCC will provide career counseling throughout the program.
“ Building on the launch this summer, we expect the number to more than double at TCC next year,” predicts Diann Holt, associate vice president for occupational/technical education at TCC and coordinator of the pilot program at the college. Holt worked intensely with TCC academic divisions to select best-fit curricula for high school seniors, many with little or no training in their respective certification program.

Participating high schools responded enthusiastically, says Holt. Interested juniors and seniors should contact their school counselors.

The high schools taking part as of April 1:
· Chesapeake – Great Bridge, Indian River, Hickory
· Norfolk – Lake Taylor, Maury, Norview
· Portsmouth – Churchland, I.C. Norcom, Woodrow Wilson
· Suffolk – Lakeland
· Virginia Beach – Bayside, Floyd Kellam, First Colonial, Frank Cox, Green Run, Kempsville, Landstown, Salem

The other three Virginia community colleges piloting the program are Danville Community College, New River Community College and Patrick Henry Community College. Five more colleges will join the pilot as it expands to include next-year seniors.

“The Governor’s Path to Industry Certification provides a tremendous career opportunity that can lead to more focused, productive and fulfilling lives for Virginia’s students,” says Bob Almond, director of career and technical education services, Virginia Department of Education. “The dedication of counselors, career and technical education professionals, and community college coordinators to this initiative has been impressive.”

To learn more about Gov. Warner’s Education for a Lifetime initiative, visit

MEDIA NOTE: TCC will host information sessions for parents and students who have been selected, April 19 at the Chesapeake Campus and April 20 at the Advanced Technology Center, Virginia Beach Campus. Students will have the opportunity to talk with TCC faculty members and counselors as well as complete college application and registration forms. For more information and interview sources, contact Laurie White:
Laurie White
Media Relations

Tidewater Community College is the second largest of the 23 community colleges in the Commonwealth of Virginia, enrolling more than 34,000 students annually. The 37 th largest in the nationís 1,600 community-college network, TCC ranks among the 50 fastest-growing large community colleges. † Founded in 1958 as a part of the Virginia Community College System, the college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in the theater district in downtown Norfolk, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth and a regional Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-three percent of the regionís residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC.