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Memorial Day Closure

TCC will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.

TCC staffer pays it forward at the CMVE

Meet Ed Sivells. He is a proud Navy veteran who is paying it forward at TCC.

Sivells is one of the certifying officials for the Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE). Last week, he submitted the 1 millionth application to certify a military-related student for educational benefits through the Veterans Administration’s new enrollment management site.

To mark the occasion, Ed is being featured in a video for the VA. And sharing his story.

Sivells is a retired Navy senior chief petty officer. He was a culinary specialist who served the Office of the Secretary of Defense, preparing meals in the White House. He also spent time in Washington, D.C. as an enlisted aide to Admirals.

When he retired from the military, he came to TCC to earn an associate degree and landed a position as a work-study student in the CMVE. He became a full-time staff member in 2017. “I found my calling in this place. When I saw the opportunity to serve military members and their families, it sparked a passion in me.”

He added, “You can hear the sound of relief in their voices when we help them find a path forward. I know what it’s like to walk in their shoes and this job is my way of giving back.”

Sivells earned a Hospitality Management degree from TCC and a bachelor’s in business administration from Regent University.

Sivells encourages other veterans to follow in his footsteps. “TCC is a veteran-friendly school with people here to help. TCC made me feel comfortable in the transition from the military and I’m grateful. Now it’s my joy to make things happen for other members of the military community.”

For more information about the CMVE, visit here.

From service to semis: TCC receives grant that aims to train more vets as truckers

Tidewater Community College received an eighth federal grant to specifically help train military veterans and their spouses for careers in trucking.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently awarded TCC a $102,769 grant, which will be administered by the college’s Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE).

TCC is one of 12 community colleges in the nation and the only college in Virginia to receive the award.

“We’re very proud of the work we’re doing to serve our military veterans and their spouses in trucking,” said Beno Rubin, Ph.D., Pathway Dean for Manufacturing and Transportation. “TCC’s trucking instructors have over 100 years of combined training and road experience and share that knowledge with students behind the wheel and in the classroom.”

“During this pivotal time with supply chain issues, it’s especially important to offer veterans, who know how to serve, a way to contribute even after they leave military service,” Rubin added.

Since the initial grant was received in 2014, a total of 245 veterans and spouses have enrolled in TCC’s Truck Driving program using this funding.

Recipients of the grant pay nothing to complete the one-semester, 16-credit certificate. Students learn how to drive a truck in state-of-the-art simulators that allow them to practice in varied road and weather conditions. The program includes 140 hours of on-the-road training. Course work qualifies students to obtain the Class A CDL (commercial driver’s license) from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

After completing the program, TCC instructors take students to the DMV test site for the final skills exam. Students must be able to successfully complete a series of tests including a set of backing maneuvers with the truck and a road test in live traffic.

TCC students have a 98% first-time pass rate on the DMV tests for commercial licenses.

TCC has its own driving range at its Center for Workforce Solutions in Suffolk.

Trucking classes are taught at TCC’s Center for Workforce Solutions on College Drive in northern Suffolk. Day, evening and weekend sessions are offered year-round.

Contact Alesia Wroten, at awroten@tcc.edu or 757-822-7714, for information on qualifying for the grant program.

Ten reasons to consider attending community college

Tidewater Community College has been providing quality education in Hampton Roads for over 50 years. Today, TCC is the largest provider of higher education and workforce services in Hampton Roads.

TCC provides flexible, affordable education options to close to 30,000 students each year, both online and on campuses in cities across the area.

So why is community college a good place to start? Here are 10 reasons to consider.

Cost

Save big on tuition by starting at TCC. Tuition costs at TCC are significantly lower than four-year schools. That’s why three in five TCC graduates leave debt-free. Compare that to the national average of $37,172 and it’s easy to see why TCC is a great option for those looking to start their careers.

Quality education

TCC professors bring real-world knowledge into the classroom, creating a dynamic learning environment for students. In fact, students who graduate from TCC’s career and technical programs have some of the highest pass rates on certification exams. Also, students who transfer to universities have high success rates thanks to the strong start they got at TCC.

Faculty and staff here to help

TCC Professors have one goal in the classroom and that’s student success. They go the extra mile and connect with students to ensure they reach their educational goals. In addition, TCC staff strive to solve problems and ease barriers to higher education for all students.

Education that works

TCC offers hands-on training for all kinds of careers from IT to health care to mechatronics. Students looking to train for a specific career benefit from industry-focused curriculum and partnerships that include internships and clinical experience. If you want a degree that will get you hired, TCC can get you there.

Guaranteed transfer

TCC’s guaranteed transfer programs offer immediate transfer to every public university in Virginia and most private four-year colleges, too. Just put in the work for two years (and sometimes less) at TCC, then go pretty much anywhere in Virginia.

Military friendly

About one-third of TCC students are military-related. The college provides a full array of services to support prospective and current military-related students in our offices on campus and on base. Students benefit from military and academic resources tailored to active duty and reserve service members, veterans, military spouses and dependents.

Scholarships and financial aid

TCC and the TCC Educational Foundation provide thousands of dollars in scholarships to students each year. Most of them are worth $500 or more and don’t need to be repaid, making one of the most affordable options in higher education even more cost-effective. Staff are here to help students explore scholarships, grants, loans and work-study options.

Flexible and convenient

With four campuses in Hampton Roads, TCC is an easy commute from anywhere. Also, community college classes are designed with convenience and are offered in the daytime, evenings, weekends and online.

Smaller classes

Large classes held in auditoriums are less likely at a community college. Even though TCC is the largest provider of higher education in the area, classes and labs are still small allowing for personalized attention.

Tim Slootmaker with Chuck Thomas, student center staff member.

Student life

Student life at TCC encompasses the entire collegiate experience. Along with classroom and laboratory work, various clubs and organizations are available to broaden and deepen students’ views. Leadership opportunities in student government are encouraged and student centers on each campus offer a wide variety of study, work-out, gathering and food options.

TCC secures seventh consecutive grant aimed to help veterans transition to careers in trucking

Tidewater Community College received a seventh federal grant to help train military veterans and their spouses for careers in trucking.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently awarded TCC a $94,842 grant, which will be administered by the college’s Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE).

“So far we’ve helped more than 200 transitioning military, veterans and dependents train for a career in trucking at no cost to them,” said Alesia Wroten, veteran resource liaison with TCC’s CMVE.  “We are grateful to be one of two schools in Virginia to receive this funding, especially as the need for trained truck drivers is growing nationwide.”

TCC alum Tim Raub is a Navy veteran who now drives trucks.
Navy veteran Tim Raub earned his Truck Driver certificate at TCC.

According to the American Trucking Association, the United States will be short 175,000 drivers by 2026. A lack of drivers continues to make goods more expensive and delays orders as freight rates are climbing.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a commercial truck driver is 55 years old. A significant percentage of these drivers will retire over the next 10 years.

TCC is one of 21 educational institutions that received funds from the $2 million federal grant to help train veterans for jobs as commercial bus and truck drivers.

Since TCC received its first grant in 2014, 220 veterans and spouses have enrolled in the Truck Driving program.


TCC students have a 98% pass rate on the DMV tests for commercial licenses.

Recipients of the grant pay nothing to complete the one-semester, 16-credit certificate. Students learn how to drive a truck in state-of-the-art simulators that allow them to practice in varied road and weather conditions. The program includes 140 hours of on-the-road training. Course work qualifies students to obtain the Class A CDL (commercial driver’s license) from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

Classes are taught at the Center for Workforce Solutions on College Drive in northern Suffolk. Day, evening and weekend sessions are available.

Contact Alesia Wroten, at awroten@tcc.edu or 757-822-7714, for information on qualifying for the grant program.

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 afontes@tcc.edu 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 afontes@tcc.edu.
  • 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.

CMVE ready to assist military-related students with everything

Military-related students, we’ve got you covered.

Pose any question about almost anything, and Tidewater Community College’s Center for Military and Veterans Education will provide an answer.

“The buck stops here,” said Shelly Bearden, a VERITAS veterans resource liaison. “I’m not going to send anyone to another office. If something’s not working, if you’re frustrated with a process, if you have any kind of problem, I will make sure it gets solved.”

Bearden refers to herself as an advocate for all of the college’s military-related students. Echoing that are her colleagues Cassandra Harris, lead military academic advisor, and Alesia Wroten, also a VERITAS veterans resource liaison.

With the Navy a part of all of their backgrounds, the administrators don’t just understand the language of the military — they’re fluent in it. They understand acronyms, including myCAA, VMSEP and TA and can explain if you qualify.

They can answer any questions about GI Bill benefits. The email askvetaffairs@tcc.edu was set up specifically to respond to questions related to military-related students looking to use their GI Bill.

Wroten handles workforce programs geared toward military-related students seeking a short-term program that leads to immediate employment. A sampling:  

Wroten works with student vets to ensure they know all their options before selecting a program. “I make sure they know about all the workforce programs they can take advantage of,” she said.

Harris had been on base prior to COVID-19; now she is based at the Virginia Beach Campus with the others. She works primarily with active duty service members, but also assists veterans, spouses and dependents. She provides a range of services, including the evaluation of credit from military experience and prior college/universities attended to ensuring that qualified military-related students receive a domicile exception to pay instate tuition.

Harris also helps military who might not be able to finish the semester due to deployment or temporary assignment. “We can get them pulled out of class and get their tuition fully refunded,” she said.

She’s happy to help military-related students navigate the transfer process and will even advise a student vet on how many hours he or she can handle based on other obligations.

Bearden can assist former military looking to transfer to an Ivy League college as TCC is part of the Warrior-Scholar Project.

The CMVE is also able to direct veterans to a plethora of resources — from assistance to pay for books to filing a disability or unemployment claim.

“We take a holistic approach,” Harris said. “The CMVE is a one-stop shop.”

You don’t have to remember who does what if you’re a military-related student in need of assistance. Email military@tcc.edu for any questions. Virtual service is available daily or via phone; see this link for information.

Earn an associate in one year at TCC’s Norfolk or Portsmouth Campuses

Students who want to fast track their education by earning an associate degree in just one year can take advantage of an accelerated degree option on Tidewater Community College’s Norfolk and Portsmouth campuses.

By enrolling in consecutive eight-week sessions, students can complete all 61 credits in one year for an Associate of Science in General Studies. Those who complete the degree and meet the required GPA for admission to their transfer institution will likely be admitted as juniors.

“This dynamic initiative is perfect for students willing to make the commitment to take classes consecutively for nearly a full year,” said Michelle Woodhouse, provost of TCC’s Portsmouth Campus. “Students who enroll in the accelerated degree program will receive the support of our dedicated advising staff to ensure a seamless transition to a four-year university or college.”

Classes on both campuses will be offered in five eight-week sessions beginning on Aug. 20 and concluding in July 2019.

Courses for each session are tentatively scheduled for Monday and Wednesday evenings, some Saturdays and online at the Portsmouth Campus.

Students able to attend classes every weekday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., can complete an accelerated degree on the Norfolk Campus. Some classes will be online only.

Recent high school graduates and adult learners, including military-related students, are eligible to apply. Applicants must complete the Virginia Placement Test and schedule an interview with the Portsmouth Campus Advising & Counseling Department.

Anyone with an interest in the accelerated degree program should email enroll@tcc.edu for information and logon to tcc.edu/accelerated.

The application deadline is July 23. Financial aid is available by completing the FAFSA.