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TCC’s Summer Camps are back on all campuses

Are you looking for summer fun with a purpose for your kids? Check out Tidewater Community College’s in-person summer camps with offerings for budding artists, chefs, entrepreneurs, musicians, jewelry-makers, computer wizards, outdoor enthusiasts and more.

TCC has more than 90 camps, offered over 8 weeks, geared for youth ages 8-18.

New Black Rocket Computer camps include Pokemon®Masters Designers and 3D Makers Unite, Python Programmers, Roblox®Coders-Entrepreneurs and Roblox Makers!

Spark your child’s imagination with interactive and fun programs tailored to their interests and age.

TCC’s week-long programs are affordable and conveniently located on the Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach campuses, and at the Center for Workforce Solutions in Suffolk.

Limited enrollment size ensures students receive personalized attention.

Camps begin June 20 and run through the week of Aug. 7.

For a complete listing and to register, visit

Registration is now open. To receive a $5 discount per camp, register by May 31.

For more information call Emily Richardson at 757-871-7871 or call TCC’s Workforce Solutions Center at 757-822-1234 or email

TCC grad trained for construction career in just a few weeks

Alexander Williams has a hard hat that he’s quite proud of. He has a full-time construction job with benefits, and great hours thanks to training offered through Tidewater Community College’s Center for Workforce Solutions.

TCC’s program provides introductory training as part of the National Center for Construction Education and Research. The class covers topics like basic safety, communication skills and introduction to construction drawings. Completing this curriculum gives graduates the basic skills needed to get a job or continue their education in any craft area of their choosing.

Williams learned about the program from his sister. “I enjoyed interacting with others in my classes and gaining those soft skills that are essential on the job,” he said.

Williams works for Hampton Roads Connector Partners where he is part of the environmental team. “Our job is to protect the land and the water supply. It’s a good job, with consistent hours and competitive pay,” he said.

Thanks to new funding from the state, more qualifying students can enroll in “G3” programs – Get a Skill, Get a Job and Get Ahead – for several fields, including construction. And many students can get the training using “G3” tuition assistance, allowing them to gain the skills they need for a good career without worrying about the cost.

Tamara Williams (no relation to Alexander Williams) is vice president of TCC’s Center for Workforce Solutions. She says, “Students who go through this construction portion of our program have jobs before they have credentials. The employers come in and they stay engaged. We don’t have anyone left for placement when the course ends.”

Williams is proud of how his new career will position his entire family for success. “The program was a great stepping stone into a career with forward mobility,” he said. “I have a 10-month-old son, a significant other and we are making it through,” Williams said.

“A lot of doors opened for me, and my life is significantly improved because of TCC,” he added.

According to Build Your Future Virginia, a carpenter in the commonwealth earns about $44,000 a year while an electrician earns about $67,000 a year.

The next introductory construction course begins this week. To register, visit here. Registration specialists are available Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., by calling 757-822-1234 or emailing

Train for a job that puts you in command at sea

Are you interested in a career on the water as a tour boat operator or fishing boat captain?

Hampton Roads is the third-largest area in the country that employs captains, mates and pilots and you could be one of them.

The Hampton Roads Maritime Training program (HRMT), offered through Tidewater Community College’s Center for Workforce Solutions, can prepare you to be the captain of a vessel up to 100 tons.

Courses are taught by expert instructors, two of whom recently retired from the U.S. Coast Guard.

In addition, the class has been expanded to include experience on the upgraded Maritime Bridge Simulator, bringing state of the art technology to the class. Simulator time enhances the students’ understanding of the Maritime Rules of the Road, as well as vessel operations in all weather conditions. In addition, navigational lights, sound signals, and radio communications can be integrated into each scenario.

Courses are offered throughout the year. Sessions are offered days and evenings on TCC’s Virginia Beach Campus.

Students who successfully complete these courses do not have to take the U.S. Coast Guard examinations at a regional exam center. The course fee includes tuition and books.

The two U.S. Coast Guard-approved classes running this fall are:

Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels (OUPV), also called the “Six Pack,” as this is the Coast Guard license required for those operating vessels for hire carrying no more than six passengers. The course runs for 76 hours with the next session beginning on Sept. 28 for evening classes and Oct. 11 for day classes.

The second course upgrades the OUPV license to Not More Than 100 Gross Ton Master’s License. This license is required by those operating inspected vessels 100 gross tons or less and providing services for more than six paying passengers. The class runs for 28 hours with the next session beginning on Oct. 25 for days and Dec. 7 for evenings.

TCC is a 2021 Center of Excellence for Domestic Maritime Workforce Training and Education. To register for fall sessions, visit here.

For more information, call (757) 822-7669 or the Virtual Student Support Team at 757-822-1111. 

TCC is among the top ten schools in the nation that are Best for Vets

Tidewater Community College was named the top two-year school in the Commonwealth by Military Times in its Best for Vets: Colleges 2021 rankings. TCC is also among the top ten schools in the nation in the Best for Vets rankings.

Best for Vets ranked TCC No. 1 in Virginia and ninth overall among two-year institutions in the nation.

“It’s a tremendous honor for TCC to be selected again as the top school for veterans in Virginia,” said Veronica Cianetti, director of military and veterans services for TCC’s Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE). “The staff of the CMVE and the college work daily to serve the needs of our military-related students. In addition to providing excellent student support services, we work closely with military supportive business, industry and organizations to achieve our mission of facilitating educational and employability success.” 

Military-focused offerings include:

  • A partnership between Virginia Natural Gas and TCC for a workforce development initiative that trains veterans and transitioning military to fill the growing need for skilled workers in the natural gas industry. The week-long program, offered at the Virginia Beach Campus, began in 2017.
  • The Machining Skills Certification, a SkillBridge-approved program that trains military-related students in Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) machinery from setup to operation. CNC machinists are in demand throughout Hampton Roads and the nation. Military-related students may also use their GI Bill benefits to pay for this program. Contact Anthony Fontes, project coordinator, at for information.
  • Solar Ready Vets, a U.S. Department of Energy program in partnership with Naval Station Norfolk and TCC, offers transitioning military the chance to train for new careers in the solar industry. The entire program can be completed in just five weeks and the cost may be covered or reduced for veterans. For information contact Fontes at
  • Training in truck driving. TCC recently received the sixth grant to train military veterans and their dependents for careers in trucking. Recipients of the grant pay nothing to complete the one-semester, 16-credit certificate. Classes are taught at the Center for Workforce Solutions on College Drive in northern Suffolk.

Military-related students make up about one-third of TCC’s enrollment. The statistics used for the Bets for Vets survey do not account for dependents.

The rankings are based on the results of Military Times’ annual survey — a comprehensive school-by-school assessment of veteran and military student services and rates of academic achievement — as well as a detailed review of public data collected by federal agencies. The survey asks colleges and universities to document a wide array of services, special rules, accommodations and financial incentives offered to students with military ties, and to describe numerous aspects of veteran culture on a campus.

From Fortnite to formulas, TCC summer camps offer something for everyone

Designing your own version of Fortnite? Channeling your inner entrepreneur? Learning to publish original content on YouTube?

Tidewater Community College ramped up its camp offerings for the summer to include a plethora of new options.

Among them:

Battle Royale: Make your first Fortnite-style video game

Unreasonable Kids: A social entrepreneurship program for teens (separate camp for tweens)

YouTube Content Creators: (A Black Rocket camp)

Check out all of TCC’s summer camps for budding scientists, engineers, video game enthusiasts, interior designers, computer wizards and more. TCC camps have options for elementary, middle school and high school aged-youth.

Students at work in the STEM camp.

Other popular options:

  • Junior Veterinarian School encourages campers to explore turning their love for animals into a career.
  • Creative Writing lets middle school-aged kids explore their creative side by working with college faculty in writing and producing a short play. 
  • Video Game Animation encourages campers to take their game design skills to the next level by creating and animating their own characters and objects.
  • Interior Design Bootcamp has students explore the design process and tackle a realistic design problems.
  • STEM Camps exposes campers to careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

TCC’s week-long, affordable programs are located on its Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach campuses, and at the Center for Workforce Solutions in Suffolk. Camps are offered from June through August.

Limited enrollment size ensures all campers receive personalized attention.

Campers from Veterinarian Medicine 101.

There is an early bird pre-registration discount of $5 per camp through May 31. Scholarships are available for some camps, and noted online in the camp description.

For a complete listing of camps, visit Registration is now open.

 For information, contact us at 757-822-1234 or email

TCC’s Skilled Trades Academy recipient of gift to fund scholarships

Tidewater Community College’s Educational Foundation is the recipient of a $5,000 gift from Builders & Contractors Exchange that will fund scholarships at the new Skilled Trades Academy in Portsmouth.

The member-based organization that supports the regional construction industry wants to attract more candidates into the trades to address the critical workforce shortage in Hampton Roads, which anticipates 68 percent more job openings in skilled trades over the next five years than workers trained to fill them.

TCC’s Skilled Trades Academy offers a wide range of high-demand skilled trades training in marine coating, pipefitting, pipe laying, welding, framing, electrical, HVAC, roofing and sheet metal. In many cases, training can be completed in six weeks for workers who find immediate employment.

Paul Haveles, executive director of Norfolk-based Builders and Contractors Exchange, is hopeful that the scholarship money will pay off for his membership of 573, all commercial construction companies looking to sustain and grow their businesses and develop their employees.

“Investing in scholarships is something tangible that we can give back to our members to help their businesses grow,” Haveles said.

Previously, Builders and Contractors Exchange had only funded scholarships at four-year institutions.  “We don’t always get an immediate payback. Partnering with TCC allows us to get those workers into the pipeline more quickly to benefit our members.”

Nationwide, 31 million skilled trade jobs will be vacated by baby boomers by 2020.

“We’re out in front of that initiative as evidenced by this building and its purpose,” Corey McCray, vice president for Workforce Solutions at TCC, said while standing in the 20,000 square-foot space at 3303 Airline Blvd. “We’re here because of industry partners who told us this is what they need. The shortage is just starting to be recognized nationally, but right here at TCC, we’re already on it.”

Mary Thompson, president of the Board of Directors for Builders and Contractors Exchange and vice president of Superior Marble & Stone, Inc., said encouraging young people to consider construction jobs must be a priority.

“As an employer, we have a hard time finding employees who can read a tape measure let alone trying to find a stone mason,” she said. “We need to educate young people about employment opportunities in the construction industry and encourage them to pursue careers in skilled trades.”

The Skilled Trades Academy will host its inaugural open house and career fair on April 27 from 9 a.m.-noon.  For more details visit, email or call 757-822-1234.

With new technical studies degree, your work experience = college credit, saving you time and $$

Going from zero to the 60-some credits needed to earn an associate degree can be an overwhelming prospect if you work all day as apprentices Terrance Myers II and Matthew Ramsey do at Busch Manufacturing. Likewise for their manager, Mike Petrice, who started at the Virginia Beach industrial vacuum equipment supplier decades ago but never took the time to earn a college degree.

But thanks to a recent partnership between Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University, all three are on their way to an associate degree and perhaps a bachelor’s.

TCC’s Associate of Applied Science in Technical Studies with a Specialization in Technical Supervision doesn’t require them to start with 0 credits in the bank. By taking into account relevant job-related training and prior professional experience, each of them can be awarded as many as 23 credits.

Given that, Myers said,  college “doesn’t feel so daunting anymore.”

The Great Bridge graduate initially got hired at Busch in the facilities department, but responded as Ramsey did to a post seeking apprentices. Neither would have pictured themselves going that route years ago. But earning wages while having schooling paid for made sense to both, who have already gained career studies certificates in computer numerical controls and basic metal and plastic machine operator.

The TCC-ODU partnership allows students who graduate from TCC with the Associate of Applied Science in Technical Studies with a Specialization in Technical Supervision to transition into ODU’s industrial technology major.

With both apprentices on board, Petrice considered his own goals. “In 1987, you didn’t need a degree to become a manager,” he said. Already an adjunct instructor at TCC’s Center for Workforce Solutions, he’d like to work as a consultant when he eventually retires from Busch.

He realized, “I need a degree.”

So Petrice enrolled in the program, too. It starts with a Tuesday evening gateway class taught by Thomas Stout, TCC’s dean of STEM, who helps each of the students document their technical skills and professional experience in a portfolio. From there, a determination is made as to the number of credits TCC will award for advanced standing.

Petrice is likely to receive the maximum of 23 credits given his background, meaning he will only need 37 more to earn his associate degree. Ramsey could also receive 23 credits given his experience in the Army, a year of college at VMI and the learning he’s mastered as an apprentice.

Myers initially thought his portfolio would be thin but realized the safety and quality training he learned at Busch was applicable. He started making a list of relevant training under Stout’s direction, skills that will translate into college credit.

Petrice believes the associate degree is a good fit for others and recommended it to all the employees in Busch’s machine shop. “I thought I’d be the oldest student in the class at 49,” he said. “But once I got there, I’m right in the middle. It’s a comfortable environment.”

“No matter what you plan to do,” Ramsey said, “a degree gives you an advantage against the guys you’re competing against whether it’s here at Busch or down the road.”

To learn more about TCC’s technical studies degree visit

All the way in Alaska, meet the state’s first-ever cyber security apprentice

You’ve heard our expression from here, go anywhere? Ursula Jones is anywhere – i.e., Juneau, Alaska, to be exact. She’s also a Tidewater Community College student who is the first cyber security apprentice in the state of Virginia.

“Apprenticeship is not impossible, even if you live in Timbuktu,” quipped Jones, a Juneau native who works as a cyber security analyst II at Peregrine Technical Solutions LLC, a company based in Yorktown that has employees in every state. “People need to start thinking more outside the box.”

Apprenticeship, an “earn-while-you-learn” approach to education, isn’t just ideal for candidates straight out of high school or in their 20s. After 23 years in federal service, Jones decided she needed a more stimulating job, but she wasn’t excited about racking up student loan debt.

Apprenticeship made the most sense.

As an apprentice, she doesn’t need to worry about debt; in fact, she earns a salary and benefits. Plus, the company foots the bill for her to complete classes online for TCC’s Career Studies Certificate in Cyber Security.

TCC is a National Security Agency Center of Academic Excellence, as designated by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. The designation recognizes the college as a national model in cyber security. Students who earn the cyber security certificate can apply their credits toward an Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology.

Partnering with the college to create a cyber apprenticeship is an investment in his own workforce, said Peregrine President, Leigh Armistead.

“The task is to assure the confidentially, integrity and availability of information technology assets,” he said. “The apprentice must train and continue to be on top of their game because their adversaries are constantly improving and will be sure to be on top of theirs.”

It’s just the type of challenge Jones wanted. “Changing professions mid-career was a leap of faith and, I have to admit, it made me a little nervous.,” she said. “Leaving a secure career and moving into information technology had its risks, but the rewards have made the career change worth it.”

Cyber security is a booming field with a global shortage of two million cyber security professionals predicted for 2019, according to ISACA, a nonprofit information security advocacy group.

“It is great to have a mid-career candidate as Ursula is unusually efficient due to her ‘can-do’ attitude,” said Armistead, also a member of the TCC Workforce Advisory Board. “She efficiently solves problems, a capability that is at the core of her success.”

Before Jones completes the apprenticeship, ideally in May, she will have completed multiple information technology certifications – each of which will advance her in pay scale.

“No matter what lies ahead, I couldn’t have felt better about my decision to leave federal service and work for Peregrine,” she said.

Contact TCC’s Karen Miller to explore apprenticeship opportunities at

Recent gifts benefit TCC’s truck driving program

Tidewater Community College’s truck driving program received two significant gifts that will allow the college to better serve its students to fill the growing national demand for more drivers.

Givens Transportation donated a three-axle sleeper road tractor that will expand TCC’s current fleet of trucks and offer students the ability to learn on a new type of vehicle transmission.

TCC also received a $20,000 grant from the Dorothy D. Smith Charitable Foundation that will allow the college to refurbish its current fleet of trucks.

“The generosity of Givens Transportation and the Dorothy D. Smith Charitable Foundation demonstrates a commitment to TCC and its mission,” said Corey McCray, vice president for TCC’s Center for Workforce Solutions. “The contributions by both will help the college continue to develop a pipeline of well-trained CDL licensed truck drivers.”

According to the Occupational Information Network, Virginia estimates more than 900 annual job openings for tractor-trailer truck drivers by 2024. In 16 weeks, students who complete TCC’s Career Studies Certificate in Truck Driving can be on the road to a new career.

“We hope that our donation will help ensure the continued success of the Tidewater Community College truck driving program,” said George Woodruff, corporate recruiter for Givens Transportation in Chesapeake.

Grant funds from the Dorothy D. Smith Charitable Foundation will also be used to upgrade the software for TCC’s driver simulators. State-of-the-art electronic aids used in today’s industry will also be added to the college’s trucks.

“Our trustees really value the importance of our trucking industry and the hard work the drivers put in, and they wanted to lend their support to that effort,” said Robert Fox, senior vice president and philanthropic fiduciary manager at Philanthropic Solutions at Bank of America.

Fall classes begin Aug. 20. Coursework qualifies students to obtain their Class A CDL (commercial driver’s license) to operate a commercial vehicle from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

For information on enrolling in TCC’s trucking program, contact instructor Matt Isaac at or

Make your child’s summer count with TCC’s fun and educational camps

Are you looking for summer fun with a purpose for your kids? Check out Tidewater Community College’s summer camps with offerings for budding scientists, engineers, artists, chefs, interior designers, computer wizards and more.

Spark your child’s imagination with interactive and fun programs tailored to their interests and grade levels.

Students learn to make paninis at the Norfolk Campus.
Students learn to make paninis at the Norfolk Campus.

TCC’s week-long programs are affordable and conveniently located on the Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach campuses, and at the Center for Workforce Solutions in Suffolk. Limited enrollment size ensures students receive personalized attention. In addition, every camper will receive a free career interest assessment using the Virginia Wizard!

TCC’s has more than 50 camps geared for rising 3rd to 12th graders. For a complete listing, visit

Registration is now open. For information, contact Emily Richardson at 757-822-1505 or

Inside Skilled Trades: Marine Coating

James Bryant didn’t want to work retail anymore; truckers Larry Morris and Everett Gamble grew tired of life on the road. Karen Gibson and Shaunte Brooks sought a challenge beyond their traditional office jobs.

Roberto Bautista shared a sentiment expressed by the entire group. “I wanted a career, not a job. I wanted to do something interesting and fun,” said the former pizza cook.

After completing Marine Trade Training Coating Level 1 at Tidewater Community College, the six-student cohort will start their next professional chapter as employees at Newport News Shipbuilding. Given the 100 percent pass rate, each of the students will be reimbursed the $250 program fee.

“We’ll be starting off at $18 or $19 an hour,” said Bryant, 20, who aspires to work his way into a management position.

“Now I have a skill I can take with me for the rest of my life,” Gamble said. “This is a great deal.”

The students earned certificates on March 13 at TCC’s Center for Workforce Solutions in northern Suffolk, the same site where they received hands-on training in marine painting. It’s a craft that is far more technical than updating the color in your bathroom.

Marine painters apply protective coatings using brushes, spray guns and rollers. Initial class time is spent learning about rust and corrosion and how to prevent it.  Retired Navy veteran Bill Sowers instructed the class, which introduce students to the properties of paint and the best coating to use for each surface.

Students learn the terminology — from mutt to stern to bow to bulkhead  — and how to use tools – needle guns, sandpaper and gauges – that will be on hand their first day of work in the shipyard.

They practice by painting mockups inside a state-of-the-art portable trailer just a few paces away from their classroom. Student trade turns as inspectors, using a magnetic gauge that checks for anything amiss in their peers’ work.

Sowers encourages them to take pride in their good work. Put succinctly, he noted, “The Navy has gotten sick and tired of their ships being messed up. Seventy-five percent of the time it’s because of painting jobs that have failed.”

Roberto Bautista

That won’t happen with this group, which diligently attending the eight-hour per day class sessions that ran for two weeks. Their foundation taught them how unforgiving saltwater and wind can be to a vessel. The course is taught per Society of Protective Coating standards.

“We’re helping the community in a different way,” Bautista said. “We’re helping the nation, in fact.”

“These students will already know their way around a Navy ship and know what to do,” Sowers said. “They can go right to work because they don’t have to be trained.”

The Virginia Ship Repair Association’s Marine Trade Training Program is designed to help you get a head-start on a rewarding career in the Ship Repair Industry. If you’re interested in a career in marine coating, electrical, outside machinist, pipefitting, sheet metal or welding, start by completing a pre-hire form.