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Rivermont School Photo

The SVHEC recently completed 10 weeks of customized training for 16 students at the Rivermont School in Chase City and Danville, VA.

The Rivermont School reached out to the SVHEC because they needed a training provider who could offer career pathways exploration, and work within their limited timeframe. The SVHEC’s customized training team worked closely with the Rivermont staff to customize the “Work Ready Career Pathways” curriculum to meet their needs.

“Southern Virginia Higher Education Center was the only vendor across the state of Virginia willing to customize a technical program for our high school students with disabilities. This experience allowed them to gain authentic hands-on skills, while learning in a real work environment,” said Terry Templeton, Rivermont School CTE Coordinator.

Rivemont Solar Robot

Over the 10-week training, Rivermont students were introduced to careers in welding, woodworking and the use of Computer Numerical Controls (CNC), and mechatronics. SVHEC staff delivered 30 training hours of classroom and hands-on lab instruction. Using a series of projects including assembling a wire tree, using the welding simulator, and assembling a solar and electrically powered robot, students were given an opportunity to apply the knowledge they gained in the classroom in a hands-on environment.

“For the first time, our students have had the opportunity to actively engage in and explore careers in the field of manufacturing. This experience may foster a pathway to future training or ultimately a viable career,” Templeton stated.

“I really enjoyed working with the Rivermont students during the training sessions. They quickly engaged in the topics presented, and asked questions that were relevant to the learning process,” said Work Ready Career Pathways instructor Bradley Overby. “I was pleased when I could see the students’ eyes light up as they understood a new concept and then applied it during a lab project. The Rivermont staff were wonderful to work with and I look forward to working with them again in the near future,” Overby continued.

Kathaleen Tuthill, Principal at the Rivemont School-Chase City said, “Our kids enjoyed the class. They left kind of dragging their feet in the morning, but came back all smiles in the afternoon. Every one of them said they really liked it.”

The SVHEC hopes to work with the Rivermont School to deliver the Work Ready Career Pathways curriculum again next year.

For more information on Work Ready Career Pathways or customized training at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, contact Deloris Jones, Workforce Support Specialist, at 434-572-5593 or email

About The Rivermont School: The Rivermont School provides a therapeutic educational program for students, ages 5-22, with special needs including autism who have difficulty learning in a traditional school setting. Rivermont’s mission is to help students learn to manage their behaviors so they can return to their home schools, graduate and become productive citizens. For more information visit