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Military Times ranks TCC best two-year school for vets in Virginia

Tidewater Community College was named the top two-year school in the Commonwealth by Military Times in its Best for Vets: Colleges 2020 rankings.

Best for Vets ranked TCC seventh overall among two-year institutions in the United States and No. 1 in Virginia.

“TCC is honored to be chosen again as a Best for Vets college,” said Batanya Gipson, interim director of TCC’s Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE). “Through our CMVE, we continue to work each day 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 Chris Blow, project coordinator, at for information.

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 many aspects of veteran culture on a campus.

TCC’s natural gas training program recognized for its positive impact

Tidewater Community College’s partnership with Virginia Natural Gas and Virginia Gas Operators Association to train veterans and transitioning military will be recognized for outstanding achievement in October.

The award from the state’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy’s Division of Glass and Oil acknowledges a joint venture or partnership that made a positive impact on the natural gas industry in the Commonwealth of Virginia. TCC will receive the award at a dinner in Abingdon.

TCC developed the workforce development initiative last year that connects transitioning military and their family members to meaningful employment in the natural gas industry.

The SkillBridge-approved weeklong training program on the Virginia Beach Campus is in collaboration with Virginia Natural Gas, the City of Virginia Beach and Virginia Gas Operators Association member companies.

The expansion of pipeline infrastructure replacement programs across the state requires gas companies and their contractors to hire skilled labor to advance pipeline modernization efforts. Two cohorts of 11 students each have graduated with a third group beginning on the Virginia Beach Campus on Sept. 24. GI Bill® funding is offered through TCC’s Center for Military and Veterans Education (CMVE).

“Everyone who has completed the course has had a face-to-face job interview from one of the employers supporting the program,” said Chris Blow, project coordinator, military contract programs for the CMVE. “Our regional partners have contributed to the overall success of this program.”

Taught by experienced utility professionals, the curriculum focuses primarily on natural gas pipeline safety, code compliance and operations. It is designed to provide veterans with basic working knowledge that will be useful in helping to prepare them for employment in the natural gas industry.

For information on the program and eligibility, contact Blow at or call 757-822-7725.