The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) celebrated its largest group of workforce training completers Wednesday at a ceremony with more than 230 people in attendance.

Brian Ball, the Commonwealth’s Secretary of Commerce and Trade, served as the ceremony’s guest speaker.

“I know that this is one of SVHEC’s proudest traditions, and it is inspiring to be here today among such dedicated students, their families, staff and partners,” Ball said.

During his remarks, Ball emphasized the importance of a strong workforce and the vital role it plays in economic development.

“The success of any state depends on the ability to equip its workforce with the modern skills that they need for a 21st-century economy,” said Ball. “SVHEC’s welding, mechatronics and IT Academy programs prepare individuals with the skills and certifications required for employment in Southern Virginia’s high-growth industries. These programs are a shining example of what can be accomplished when we empower our citizens with short-term workforce training for long-term careers.”

“You can now be counted among the ranks of Southern Virginia’s skilled workforce,” SVHEC Executive Director Dr. Betty H. Adams told the 71 customized training/mechatronics, IT Academy and Welding@SVHEC workforce training completers.

“This evening’s honorees completed a total of 14,372 training hours and earned, among them, 161 industry-recognized credentials. This represents a 90 percent program completion rate and 93 percent credentials-earned rate for program completers.” 

 SVHEC workforce training programs are hands-on, credential-based training that can be completed in less than a year.

Real world projects and employment success skills are embedded into the training programs to help trainees achieve long-term career success.

“The IT Academy has given me the chance to increase my earnings potential in a solid career field,” said IT Academy completer Kenny Wilson.

Fellow ITA completer William Jordan Saunders agreed saying, “The IT Academy has impacted my career goals tremendously by giving me more options for employment.”

Welding@SVHEC and mechatronics completers valued the hands-on training SVHEC programs provide.

“I valued watching my classmates and myself grow and learn in order to provide a better future for ourselves,” said Keon Gutrich, a newly certified welding trainee.

Tyler Whitlow, Mechatronics Level 2 completer, said, “I chose this program to further my knowledge in mechatronics in a program that was more about the actual real world application versus learning from a textbook.”

Whitlow and fellow trainee Caleb Langley are the first to complete the SVHEC’s Mechatronics Level 2 training and earn the internationally recognized Siemens Level 2 Mechatronic Systems Associate credential.

Customized training specializes in hearing the voice of the employer and responding with innovative, individualized training solutions to meet an employer’s needs.

Mechatronics is a hands-on training program combining knowledge of mechanical, electrical, computer and software/control engineering.

The program prepares individuals for a wide-range of jobs including electrical/electronics technician, maintenance mechanic, smart operator and entry-level electrician.

 As an authorized CompTIA Academy, the IT Academy Professionals Program provides a core curriculum leading to two CompTIA certifications—A Plus and Server Plus.

Advanced training in Networking Foundations and Security Foundations leading to CompTIA certification in Network Plus and Security Plus are also available.

Welding@SVHEC provides 10-months of hands-on training in MIG, TIG, Stick and Pipe welding leading to industry-recognized credentials through the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER).

For more information about Workforce Training Programs at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, visit www.svhec.org/workforce, email info@svhec.org, or call 434-572-5473.

The IT Academy, Mechatronics and Welding@SVHEC programs are enrolling new trainees now.