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TCC’s Skilled Trades Academy to host open house on Saturday, April 27

Imagine training for a new career and being hired in just six weeks.

Tour Tidewater Community College’s Skilled Trades Academy on Saturday, April 27, for a firsthand look at available programs and specialized opportunities for in-demand construction and maritime trades that can lead to immediate employment.

TCC’s new Skilled Trades Academy at 3303 Airline Blvd., will host its inaugural open house and career fair from 9 a.m. to noon.

Meet our highly trained and qualified faculty, learn more about program and career options and talk with potential employers throughout that morning. Hampton Roads industry professionals will also have the opportunity to network with other business owners and apply for jobs.

The Skilled Trades Academy opened last December, coinciding with a 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. Nationwide, 31 million skilled trade jobs will be vacated by baby boomers by 2020.

TCC 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 some cases, participants can launch a new career with just six weeks of training.

“We can take people with zero background in skilled trades, put them through a three-week, pre-apprenticeship program and have them employed at a major shipyard making $18 an hour directly after,” President Gregory T. DeCinque said.

Thanks to funding through the FastForward Grant, many of the programs are available at little or no tuition cost. FastForward grants offset tuition costs so eligible students can earn an industry credential at one-third of the cost of tuition. In many cases, the student pays nothing.

“Many programs in these high-demand fields like welding, machine tool and HVAC are eligible for FastForward grant funding,” said Corey McCray, vice president for Workforce Solutions and interim executive vice president for Academic and Student Affairs. “That covers the vast majority of your tuition costs, so students would only have to pay about a third of the cost of their education.”

Reservations are recommended, but not required. RSVP at the Skilled Trades Academy open house page.

For more information, email or call 757-822-1234. For information on FastForward funding, contact career coach Alejandra Diaz-Rangel at

TCC to pursue Domestic Maritime Center of Excellence designation

With support from its Congressional delegation, Tidewater Community College will pursue designation as a Domestic Maritime Center of Excellence, the college announced today.

The creation of these centers, which will help address the critical need for trained workers in the maritime industry, was approved as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018.

Now, the Department of Transportation and the Maritime Administration must establish an application and selection process, which may take months. As one of a handful of colleges meeting the statutory qualifications for becoming a Center of Excellence, TCC has already been actively engaged, President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani said.

“We will be at the table as this process unfolds,” she said. “In the meanwhile, TCC will keep moving forward with expansion and promotion of maritime workforce education.”

The college offers education and skills training in pipefitting, inside machinist, marine welding, marine electrical, marine mechanical and maritime logistics.

Virginia’s two senators and representatives of Hampton Roads in Congress wrote to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao on Feb. 13 in support of TCC’s designation.

“Serving the fifth largest port in North American and the largest Naval Base in the world, TCC has a longstanding history of meeting the maritime workforce needs in the Hampton Roads region,” they wrote.

They also pointed to the Southeast Maritime and Transportation (SMART) Center, based at TCC, and the college’s partnerships with local, regional and national shipbuilding and ship repair companies, such as Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding, AMSEC and BAE Systems.

“For these reasons, we request you give full and fair consideration to designate Tidewater Community College a Domestic Maritime Center of Excellence, as we believe it is uniquely capable of helping secure our nation’s talent pipeline for the domestic maritime industry,” the letter states.

It was signed by Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine, along with Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-01), one of the original patrons of the legislation, Rep. Scott Taylor (VA-02), Rep. Donald McEachin (VA-04), and Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03).

“I am grateful for their support,” Kolovani said, noting that the Virginia General Assembly passed a resolution during its current session recognizing TCC on its 50th anniversary and for its qualifications to become a Domestic Maritime Center of Excellence.

She said that Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth recently awarded the college a new three-year contract to continue providing the academic component of the shipyard’s apprenticeship program, again demonstrating that the maritime industry recognizes TCC’s expertise in maritime education.