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TCC receives a $50,000 grant from Truist Foundation for workforce career planning 

Tidewater Community College received a $50,000 grant from Truist Foundation for workforce career planning.  

The grant will be used to provide workshops on career readiness for low- to moderate-income individuals so they can build the skills necessary to obtain positions to support their families with full-time, quality work. 

TCC’s Center for Workforce Solutions will provide the training and partner with local employers and community stakeholders to connect disadvantaged workers with these programs. 

“We are grateful to Truist Foundation for this grant as it will greatly impact families in our region,” said TCC President Marcia Conston. “We are unwavering in our commitment to helping individuals reskill and upskill so they can provide for their families and give back to the community.” 

Truist Foundation is committed to creating sustainable wealth-building opportunities for historically excluded people that can impact future generations.  

TCC President Conston and former board member Delceno C. Miles during the Truist donation event.
TCC President Marcia Conston with Truist Senior Vice President Mark Johnson and Delceno Miles, chair of TCC’s Educational Foundation.

“To build and prepare our state’s future workforce, it’s critical that we provide individuals with opportunities to be introduced to and prepare for career paths by reducing financial barriers,” said Thomas Ransom, Virginia regional president for Truist. “Our partnership with Tidewater Community College to provide workforce planning workshops illustrates our purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities, and we are proud to help create positive change.” 

Truist Financial Corporation has a history of supporting TCC and provided a $75,000 grant to the college in 2019. Those funds also supported workforce development. 

TCC part of new Community College Workforce Cooperative

Tidewater Community College is part of a new collaboration among three community colleges in Hampton Roads designed to meet the large-scale job training needs of the region’s businesses and industries. The new Community College Workforce Cooperative (CCWC) will create a single point of contact to access the workforce training resources of TCC, Camp and Thomas Nelson community colleges which together serve 11 cities and four counties through 10 college locations.

“In my first year as college president, I quickly learned how limiting the artificial boundaries of our college service regions can be to the work we do,” said TCC President Marcia Conston. “This is an important step for us to take to ensure that boundaries that were mapped out in the 1960s don’t stop us from addressing Hampton Roads’ many training needs.”

The CCWC will direct and coordinate the job training resources, leveraging facilities, labs and additional training resources of all three community colleges to address the sizeable training needs that exist today in industries like shipbuilding and ship repair. That centralized coordination means those needs will be addressed faster and more cost-effectively. The CCWC will also ensure that the colleges are better prepared to meet emerging trends in the region, like the growing alternative energy industry.

“By working together, we can build an even stronger and more vibrant workforce,” said Tamara Williams, interim vice president of TCC’s Center for Workforce Solutions. “This collaboration positions us to help advance the region’s economic development priorities, filling workforce gaps, and making community college training even more accessible to large employers.”

The CCWC welcomed new Executive Director Todd Estes with the Virginia Community College System. The group held its first meeting this winter and included the presidents of each of the three community colleges, as well as representatives of their workforce development centers.

REV program a win-win-win for students, employers & the economy

It’s not just Tidewater Community College students who will benefit from the Re-Employing Virginians (REV) initiative, which will provide scholarships to those unemployed or underemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional employers will benefit as well. Gov. Ralph Northam’s $27 million initiative in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act targets those in the essential industries of health care, information technology, skilled trades, public safety and early childhood education.

“TCC is ready to lead this charge to help students in these essential fields,” said Cindy Free, chair of the TCC College Board. 

REV vouchers are available now

One-time REV scholarships of $3,000 are available to those who qualify for a full-time workforce program and scholarships of $1,500 will help those who qualify for a part time or a short-term, noncredit training program.

Training the next generation of skilled technicians has been an ongoing priority for TCC.

“Mitsubishi Chemical has long supported TCC’s development of workforce training and we have benefited directly from it,” said Bill Yannetti, president and chief executive officer of Mitsubishi Chemical Composites America. “We believe graduates of the Mechatronics program, and others within the college, are a fantastic source of well-trained, ready-to-work manpower.”

TCC students who complete workforce programs often have jobs prior to graduation.

Helping Virginians get back to work

“We know jobs are plentiful in these high-demand career areas in the Hampton Roads region,” said TCC President Marcia Conston. “TCC’s curriculum aligns with the needs of its industry partners in those areas, so once you have the education, you are prepared to be hired immediately. “

TCC’s allotment, $3 million in tuition-only scholarships, will be passed on to those who meet some basic eligibility requirements.

Norfolk’s Jessica South, 21, is among the first to use a REV voucher to enroll at TCC. She looks forward to working toward an associate degree in early childhood education. She is unemployed and would not be able to afford college without the REV program.

“I read up on it and found my degree on the list of programs and right away decided to apply,” said South, who received $3,000 toward her tuition. “I received a call from a TCC advisor the very same day. It was such an easy process.”

TCC partners agree this is a win-win for the community

TCC has a long history of working with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council and that continues with the governor’s REV initiative.

“Governor Northam’s commitment to providing the resources to meet the educational needs of Hampton Roads and Virginia residents is a great step in the recovery process,” said Shawn Avery, president and chief executive officer of the Hampton Roads Workforce Council.  “The Workforce Council looks forward to supporting Tidewater Community College in promoting this opportunity to the region.”

Northam regards the program as a win for workers, employers and the state’s economy.

“As we focus on recovering from the impacts of the global pandemic, the new REV initiative will give Virginians the resources they need to get back on their feet and help ensure that our Commonwealth emerges from this public health crisis even stronger than we were before,” he said.

To find out if you qualify for a REV scholarship, visit here.

Governor visits TCC for workforce listening tour

Gov. Ralph Northam’s visit to Tidewater Community College on Sept. 17 marked another stop on his workforce development listening tour. The hour-session provided an opportunity for community members, business leaders and educators to collaborate on how to best strengthen Virginia’s talent pipeline and address emerging employment challenges.

Northam addressed the group, which included Glenn Dubois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, at TCC’s Norfolk Campus Student Center.

“People ask me all the time what is my top priority as governor,” Gov. Northam said.  “It’s really very simple. It’s about jobs and making sure all Virginians have jobs that they can support themselves and their families with.”

The listening sessions coincide with National Workforce Development Month, which is September

 “It is really appropriate for community colleges to be central in discussions on workforce development,” said TCC President Greg DeCinque. “We’re here to listen and respond by developing programs that will put people to work in Virginia.”

Northam last stopped at TCC when the college’s Skilled Trades Center opened in December. The 20,000-square-foot facility in Portsmouth prepares students for careers in everything from welding to pipefitting, marine coating and pipe laying. Graduates of these short-term training programs transition into high-paying jobs that don’t require bachelor’s or even associate degrees.

Hampton Roads anticipates 68 percent more job openings in skilled trades over the next five years than workers trained to fill them.

“How do we as parents, legislators, educators and counselors get past the stigma that if our children don’t go to a four-year school, they won’t be successful?” Northam asked. “In today’s job market, there are plenty of good paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.”

Chancellor Dubois noted that community colleges started 50 years ago to meet workforce needs and continue that mission today.

Also joining the conversation with the governor: Atif Qarni, Virginia Secretary of Education; Dan Lufkin, president of Paul D. Camp Community College; and John Dever, president of Thomas Nelson Community College. Megan Healy, Chief Workforce Development Officer, moderated the session.

Additional ideas that emerged from the listening session regarding community colleges include:

*Stress the benefits of community college with parents, especially regarding career technical training.

*Educate guidance counselors on community college offerings and 21st century jobs requiring less than a four-year degree.

*Create educational opportunities that line up with new business needs, such as gamification, cybersecurity, unmanned aerial systems and biotechnology, as well as jobs in science, technology, engineering and math.

*Offer internships to provide workers with needed experience.

*Continue to be military-friendly and provide education for veterans and their families.

 “We are blessed in Virginia to have great colleges and universities, and we need to make sure they are affordable for all Virginians,” Northam said. “We also have 23 great community colleges, and we are putting a lot of emphasis on high school level vocational training.”