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Remembering Dr. Charles Steger

Virginia Western Community College lost a dear friend and inspiring leader on Sunday evening when Educational Foundation Board Chairman Charles William Steger Jr. died at age 70. Dr. Steger, the President Emeritus at Virginia Tech, served for three years leading the Educational Foundation Board of Directors. He will be remembered as a committed advocate for the community college’s mission and its goal of making college possible for any student in the Roanoke Region.

“I had the great pleasure to work alongside Charles for several years and was overwhelmed by his commitment to higher education,” said Virginia Western President Dr. Robert. H. Sandel. “He made an incredible impact leading Virginia Tech through its greatest period of growth. He also believed college was for everyone, no matter what financial or life burdens they may face. His dedication to the Virginia Western Educational Foundation reflects that. We have lost a great champion and a great friend.”

Dr. Steger’s vision for the Educational Foundation included the recent launch of its second major fundraising campaign to benefit the Community College Access Program (CCAP), a nationally recognized effort that provides up to three years of tuition to qualified Roanoke Valley High School graduates.

Neil Wilkin Jr., CEO of Roanoke’s Optical Cable Corp., served as Foundation Board Vice Chairman under Dr. Steger. “It’s no surprise that Charles showed great leadership on the Board, given his outstanding career at Virginia Tech,” Wilkin said. “But I think what needs to also be recognized is the genuine empathy he demonstrated for Virginia Western students. He was passionate about creating a better future for them in Roanoke.”

Amanda Mansfield, the Foundation’s Donor Relations Coordinator, said Dr. Steger understood the financial realities of Virginia Western’s students and committed his time to directly helping them. Earlier this spring, he backed a student-led effort to raise money for a student book and emergency fund.

“We were deeply honored that in his retirement Dr. Steger chose to help students who were very clearly dear to his heart, those who grew up in his native Southwest Virginia,” Mansfield said. “He was a kind and generous man, and will be greatly missed.”

Virginia Western and the Virginia Western Educational Foundation send their heart-felt condolences to Dr. Steger’s family and friends.

Grant funding supports Franklin County residents in manufacturing training

Franklin County residents looking to jump-start a career in manufacturing can get the job training they need at half the cost due to a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

Young people, job seekers, and dislocated workers living in the tobacco region can apply for Workforce Financial Aid to enroll in one of Virginia Western Community College’s non-credit manufacturing training programs. These short-term programs prepare students for entry-level positions with regional manufacturers in just three months or less. The Tobacco Commission grant will cover 50 percent of tuition, and prospective students may qualify for additional funding depending on their individual needs.

The next qualifying program is Basic Manufacturing Skills starting July 25, where students can earn a Manufacturing Technician Level 1 (MT1) credential in just 10 weeks. With this credential, individuals starting in the field can earn $12-13 per hour. However, experienced machinists and industrial maintenance technicians can make over $50,000 per year in our region according to the recruiting website, Glassdoor.

Franklin County residents include individuals living in Boones Mill, Rocky Mount, Ferrum, Henry Fork, North Shore, Penhook, Union Hall, Westlake Corner, Callaway, Glade Hill, Hale’s Ford, Redwood, Snow Creek and Wirtz.

WHAT:                Basic Manufacturing Skills Training Program

WHEN:                 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 5:30-9:30 p.m., July 25 – September 27, 2018

WHERE:               Goodwill Jobs Campus, 2502 Melrose Avenue, NW, Roanoke

COST:                    Full tuition is $2,448. Franklin County students can receive Tobacco Commission funding for 50 percent of tuition, bringing the cost down to $1,224.  Students may also qualify for additional funding assistance.

QUESTIONS?      Contact Amanda Decker at 540-857-6279 or careernavigators@virginiawestern.edu

VWCC honored by Digital Community College Survey

Virginia Western Community College earned 3rd place among mid-sized colleges in the Center for Digital Education’s 2017-18 Digital Community Colleges Survey. This marks the sixth consecutive year Virginia Western has placed in the top 3 in its category of the survey, which analyzes how community colleges use a range of technologies to improve services to students, faculty, staff and the community at large.

This marked the 13th year of the Digital Community Colleges Survey. All accredited U.S. community colleges are eligible to participate in the Digital Community Colleges Survey within three classifications based on enrollment size.

Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond was first in the Large Colleges Category, Walters State Community College in Tenn. Was first in the Mid-Sized Colleges Category and New Hampshire’s Manchester Community College was first among Small Colleges.

The survey also revealed insights about community colleges’ technology priorities. Colleges surveyed indicated that mobility devices/app support is their top priority for the coming year, followed by cyber security tools and testing, website redesign/updates, upgrading classroom technologies, digital content and curriculum, and disaster recovery/business continuity.