Ten years of Workforce Development success

Published 7:15 am Saturday, January 26, 2013

by Felicia Blow

Nothing brings people together like a celebration.

And the event to commemorate and recognize the 10th anniversary of Paul D. Camp Community College’s Regional Workforce Development Center is a milestone that many of us in the Franklin-Southampton region will want to celebrate.

The anniversary event will be held on Thursday, Jan. 31, in the Regional Workforce Development Center in Franklin. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. The chief executive officer and president of Smithfield Foods, C. Larry Pope, will deliver the keynote address.



The work of the Regional Workforce Development Center has positively touched the lives of many in our area. From businesses to students to civic and community groups, there are few who’ve not been touched in some way by the work of the center.

PDCCC’s Workforce Development Division offers a variety of training and educational options to meet the needs of new and existing employers. Categories of training for business and industry include: Work-keys job profiling and job candidate assessment; consulting, coaching and facilitation services; as well as customized training.

Other programs include those for new entrants into the labor market, temporarily dislocated workers and currently employed workers.

The center also offers community education courses and delivers a host of training programs for youth, such as Kids College. And finally, the center serves an important role as a meeting and entertainment hub for western Hampton Roads.

It has a rich history of success in supporting business, and below are just a few historical highlights:

• More than 310,000 people have used the center since it opened. • More than 500 different businesses have used the center since it opened • Over 2,300 workforce related classes have been held at the center



This upcoming event also is special because it represents the collaborative efforts of the regional community.

The business community was involved in the creation of this resource; the Virginia Community College System was very engaged in the process; and civic/community leaders also saw great value in the creation of the workforce development program.

But three individuals in particular are to be commended for championing the cause of expanded education and workforce training for this region. The late Del. J. Paul Councill Jr., the late Sen. Richard J. Holland and the late Dr. Jerome Friga, the fifth president of PDCCC, were instrumental in the establishment of the Workforce Development Center.

Many feel that the program we have today would not exist without their efforts. These individuals were tenacious in their pursuit to seek funding from the state and other sources to build the center. They also were dedicated to ensuring that there was ample community and legislative support for this endeavor.

These men were true visionaries and “forward-thinkers” who recognized that without such an investment in our community, this region would not be able to live up to its true potential.

While these great men have gone on, on Jan. 31, we will pause to honor and recognize them posthumously. We will pay respect to them by formally recognizing their hard work and passion for education and learning.

We also will honor them through another important tribute.

Proceeds from the series of workforce anniversary events planned for 2013 will fund Workforce Development scholarships. Through the establishment of targeted workforce development scholarships, the college will create even more opportunities for students who wish to change their lives for the better through the workforce training.

We believe that Councill, Holland and Dr. Friga would be pleased with this step.

In conclusion, the Regional Workforce Development Center is obviously a critically important part of our community college educational system. But beyond being an important part of the college, it’s part of the fabric of the community.

The Regional Workforce Development Center is truly “a jewel” of the western Hampton Roads region. Join us in celebrating more than 10 years of workforce development success.

Felicia Blow is vice president of institutional advancement at Paul D. Camp Community College and can be reached at fblow@pdc.edu.