The Commonwealth’s Deputy Secretary of Education, Frances “Fran” Bradford served as the guest speaker at the SVHEC’s June 7th Job Training Completion Ceremony. The ceremony was held to recognize 31 customized training, IT Academy, and welding program completers.
“When I graduated from college I didn’t know what I was going to do–I didn’t have the skillset that you all are walking out of here with today,” Dep. Secretary Bradford stated as she shared that her educational path as a liberal arts major was not a straight line from education to career. She went on to speak about the value of pursuing pathways that lead directly to the workforce and reminded trainees that “there is more than one educational path, and you can be on more than one path at a time.”
“You can now be counted among the ranks of Southern Virginia’s skilled workforce. You are the new-collar workers who are helping grow our economy,” SVHEC executive director Dr. Betty H. Adams said to completers as she beamed with pride.
Access to a good career with a good salary was the reason why many program completers chose training at the SVHEC. “I chose the welding program to better myself, and to have a career where I can provide for my family,” said Welding@SVHEC completer Allen Fallen. Fellow welding completer Brian Davis agreed saying, “I chose the program to have a trade to better take care of my family. It’s always been a dream of mine to begin a career as a certified welder. I know I have a lot of work to do, and more to learn but I’ve come too far to turn around now.”
IT Academy completer Christina Yesalavich shared the same sentiment. “I have been able to apply for jobs in the IT field that I did not have the qualifications for before this class. The most valuable aspect of the IT Academy was the hands-on experience and the wonderful instructors,” she said.
“I was thrilled to watch the results of everybody’s hard work knowing the completers now have the skills to enter the workforce,” said Deputy Secretary Bradford. “I could not be more complementary of the higher education center here and their work to match the needs of the business community with the training of the students for the betterment of everyone.”
SVHEC Board of Trustees Chairman Mattie Cowan hopes the success celebrated at the ceremony will lead to others enrolling in training. “Tell someone else,” she challenged completers. “If you have a family member or friend who can take advantage of the SVHEC, let them know. Make sure others get to where you are tonight.”