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Jaime Shetrone

Virginia Western Developing State’s Geospatial Workforce Through Partnership

Virginia Western Community College is partnering with colleges throughout Virginia to help develop the state’s workforce in the growing geospatial industry. The geospatial industry, encompassing geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), remote sensing, and the emerging technologies and applications that support the collection, analysis, and interpretation of spatial data, is a rapidly growing yet understaffed field.

The project is called Geospatial Technician Education Through Virginia’s Community Colleges (GTEVCC). In addition to Virginia Western, the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, John Tyler Community College, Tidewater Community College and the Virginia Geospatial Extension Program, based in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, are helping ensure the burgeoning needs for geospatial workers are met.

Two one-week workshops from May 21-26 will provide community college faculty and high school teachers with professional development in geospatial technology. Funded by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education Program, the workshops are being held on Virginia Tech’s campus and coordinated by Tech associate professor John McGee, a Virginia Geospatial Extension specialist.

“It is critical to the state’s future that we provide a literate geospatial workforce,” McGee said. “In 2010 alone the sales of geospatial services increased to $4.4 billion. Industry analysts anticipate that geospatial software sales and related services will approach $5 billion in 2011.”

McGee’s workshops last year generated new geospatial technology courses at the both the community college and high school level, and this year’s workshops are already at capacity. Participants will receive hands-on training in GPS, GIS and remote sensing, including classroom-ready materials and geospatial data for Virginia and their local area.

“These workshops are great because they bring together pre-college, higher education, and geospatial industry leaders to build a strong cohort of educators committed to preparing geospatial technicians to meet workforce demand in Virginia,” said Chris Carter, deputy director of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium.

Al Pollard Memorial Foundation Honored with 2011 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy

The Al Pollard Memorial Foundation of Roanoke has earned the 2011 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy.  Virginia Western Community College nominated the Pollard Foundation for the statewide award, which was given at a luncheon ceremony at the Country Club of Virginia on April 19.

The Pollard Foundation was created to honor the life of Al Pollard, a Roanoke restaurateur who owned well-known establishments like Corned Beef & Company, Frankie Rowland’s and 419 West. When he suddenly passed in 2006, a group of his friends decided to honor him by continuing his legacy of positive change in the Roanoke Valley.

Through an annual golf tournament, the Pollard Foundation has been able to make the largest annual scholarship contribution in the history of the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation, resulting in the Al Pollard Memorial Scholarships for the Culinary Arts. These scholarships go to support first- and second-year students participating in the college’s Culinary Institute located at the Roanoke Higher Education Center. Since 2006, the Pollard Foundation has contributed more than $140,000 in scholarships.

The Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy is hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) to honor the leading philanthropists from each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges as well as the statewide foundation.  This marks the sixth year the awards have been given.

This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of $11 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

“Each of these supporters personifies the theme of this event, Living Philanthropy.  For those of us here today, living philanthropy is the promise that our impact will live on; it will blend with those who came before creating a larger and larger living tapestry of good will, benefitting and elevating those who come next,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Award recipients will have a scholarship named after them which will be awarded next fall to a student attending their community college.  The scholarships are funded largely by the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation.