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Patrick Henry Community College board approves five career studies certificates

Patrick Henry Community College board approves five career studies certificates

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Five new Career Studies Certificates may be offered at Patrick Henry Community College.

That would be dependent upon what happens with the governor’s proposed G3 program, which, if passed, would provide free tuition to community college students who meet certain income and other requirements. That topic was among the matters discussed Monday at meeting of Patrick Henry Community College’s board of directors.

The five areas of study would be cybersecurity and networking foundations, advanced cybersecurity and networking foundations, robotics and automation technology, robotic welding and substance abuse counselor-assistant.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced in December that his proposed budget, if passed, would include $145 million for the “Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back” or “G3” program, which would fund tuition, fees and books for low- and middle-income students at Virginia’s 2-year public institutions.

Under the governor’s plan, students who qualify for federal Pell Grants and enroll full-time in high-demand fields of study would receive an incentive grant of up to $1,000 per semester or $500 per summer term.

Vice President of Academic and Student Success Services Greg Hodges said he has been on “weekly conference calls with weekly updates, and every week it’s different” as the plan develops.

The G3 funding “does not really compete with any of our current funding mechanisms for our students,” PHCC President Angeline Godwin said.

The programs would provide “short-term credentials that lead to long-term credentials,” Hodges said. Students could work their way up through various levels of completion.

Most students enroll in associate degree programs, but many do not complete those programs, they said. The stackable Career Studies Certificate would give those who do not reach the associate degree a recognized level of education, as long as they reach the requirements.

The substance abuse counselor assistant would work under the supervision of counselors who had been trained at the bachelor’s degree level. The program would be open to students who already have an associate degree.

The board approved the five Career Studies Certificates.

Also during the board meeting, Godwin talked about the proposed child care facility, which, she said, “is part of a much, much bigger initiative” including also housing and transportation.

Local needs of and resources for child care, housing and transportation are being studied as part of The Harvest Foundation’s strategic planning. Officials are considered barriers for local economic development and are “barriers we have been dealing with for years” with PHCC students, Godwin said.

State officials recently gave PHCC permission to move forward with plans to build a 32,000-square-foot early childhood development center.

The proposed child care center for the PHCC campus would serve multiple purposes, Godwin said, including child care and training for people to work in the field of early childhood education.

If the plan is approved, “we will not receive state money. We will have to raise this money ourselves,” she said.

Construction is estimated to cost $14 million.

The board also heard other reports:

  • The MET II project to enhance the welding program is halfway through the design phase, reported PHCC Vice President of Financial and Administrative Services John Hanbury. Currently there are 16 welding booths, and with MET II completed by summer 2021, there will be between 40 and 42 welding booths which include robototics.
  • Nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Awards are due by Feb. 14. The awards will be presented in May at an awards dinner at Chatmoss Country Club.
  • The Virginia Community College System has established an athletic peer group with athletic directors and coaches. PHCC Athletic Director Brian Henderson has been asked to chair it.
  • Gary Collins of the nominating committee proposed that Janet Copenhaver be the next board chair, and Dennis Casey the vice-chair. Voting will be at the next meeting.

Holly Kozelsky is a writer for the Martinsville Bulletin; contact her at 276-638-8801 ext. 243.

Holly Kozelsky is a writer for the Martinsville Bulletin; contact her at 276-638-8801 ext. 243.

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