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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) today announced a partnership with Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College (Southern) uniquely designed for individuals receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits to enroll in a cohort pilot program at Southern to gain skills to succeed in the workforce.  The ultimate goal of the program is to move more individuals and families toward achieving self-sufficiency. 

“This pilot program will provide support to individuals seeking to improve their opportunities for gainful employment,” said DHHR Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling. “I appreciate the support of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and First Lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin, as well as Southern’s commitment to preparing individuals for careers and look forward to seeing how this partnership improves the stability of West Virginia’s children and families. This pilot is setting an example that will likely be emulated across the state and nation.” 

The pilot program was established by Secretary Bowling and First Lady Tomblin, former president of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.  There are 21 TANF recipients identified as cohort students which will begin classes in the fall 2015 semester and will work toward a certificate or degree program.  DHHR has assisted the cohort students in seeking financial aid and advisement from counselors in regard to the program they will choose.  

“We are pleased to be a part of this innovative project. Our faculty and staff are looking forward to working in collaboration with these students and the WV Department of Health and Human Resources to design a career path that will lead to professional and personal success,” said Merle Dempsey, Interim Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College President. 

Southern will offer these students assistance on all academic levels, from boot camps for math and English, to offering additional skills for their chosen program. Employers in the area were contacted to determine workforce needs so that individuals in the cohort would receive skills needed for emerging occupations in the area. 

Data will be collected through the pilot period and if it is successful, the program will be implemented in other areas of the state.  

The tuition payment deadline for students registered for Fall 2015 classes at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College is being extended. Due to some technical difficulties the college has announced that payment will be accepted until the close of business on Wednesday, August 5, 2015. For more information visit us online at or call 1-866-SWVCTC1.

Charleston, W.Va. – Four community and technical colleges within the West Virginia Community and Technical College System (WVCTCS) were named as the most affordable two-year institutions in the United States. *BridgeValley, Southern WV, WV Northern and Eastern WV community and technical colleges were identified as having some of the lowest net prices in the country, according to the 2015 College Affordability and Transparency Center list released by the U.S. Department of Education. “The price of going to college extends beyond tuition,” said Interim Chancellor Dr. Sarah Tucker. “Our students have to consider cost of living, transportation and the continued ability to support their families. Our community and technical colleges make it possible for fellow West Virginians to access an affordable, high-quality education that will advance them into long-term, high-paying careers.” The annual College Affordability and Transparency list compares the affordability of public and private colleges and universities who grant four-year and two-year degrees. This list is based on data collected during the 2013-14 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data collection cycle. Average net price is calculated by subtracting the average amount of federal, state/local government, or institutional grant or scholarship aid from the total cost of attendance. Total cost of attendance is the sum of published tuition and required fees, books and supplies and the weighted average for room and board and other expenses. West Virginia University of Parkersburg, which also grants four-year degrees, was named as one of the most affordable four-year colleges. Complete listings from the U.S. Department of Education can be found at


* BridgeValley Community and Technical College was founded on March 20, 2014 after the consolidation of Bridgemont and Kanawha Valley Community and Technical Colleges. This data reflects the former Bridgemont Community and Technical College.

The Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Board of Governors is pleased to announce its 2015-2016 slate of officers, as elected during its regular Board meeting. Mr. Thomas A. Heywood, Attorney, Bowles Rice McDavid Graff and Love of Charleston was elected as Board Chair; Ms. Wilma J. Zigmond, retired Superintendent of Logan County Schools, was elected as Vice Chair; and Logan businessman, Mr. Glenn T. Yost, was elected as Secretary. The 12-member Board of Governors is the governing body of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. Of the 12 members, nine are citizen members appointed by the Governor, and three are institutional members elected by the constituent group they represent faculty, classified staff, and student body. Members of the Board of Governors work cooperatively with the college president and administration to establish institutional governance and strategic planning. In addition to Heywood, Zigmond, and Yost, citizen members appointed by the Governor include Linda Q. Akers, Shelly Huffman, Jada Hunter, George Kostas, and Terry Sammons. Southern's institutional members include Russell Saunders (faculty representative), Virginia Stepp (classified staff representative), and a student representative to be named.

The Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Board of Governors approved a Resolution of Commendation as President Emeritus for retiring President Joanne Jaeger Tomblin during its June 24, 2015 business meeting. President Tomblin retired June 30, 2015, ending a 33 year career of unwavering service working in various roles from instructor to chief executive officer at the College. Board Chair, Thomas Heywood, and Vice Chair, Wilma Zigmond, presented President Tomblin with a display of the approved resolution, along with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Board in appreciation of her years of service. President Tomblin was named the eighth president of Southern on November 16, 1999 and has held that post for 16 years making her the longest-serving president of the College, and the longest-serving president in the Community and Technical College System of West Virginia. She is the first female president of Southern and its first president to receive this designation. The extensive resolution honoring Tomblin cited her many accomplishments and acknowledged the College’s progress during her presidency. It noted the College achieved significant milestones including academic program development, enhancement of student life and the campus environment, expansion of campus facilities, community involvement, and surpassing more than $20 million in grant funds during her tenure. Special recognition was made of Tomblin’s leadership of the College. Tomblin is credited with guiding Southern through daunting challenges toward success, and citied that she championed academic excellence and placed a premium on open communication and close engagement with students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

There’s a new but familiar face in the president’s office at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. Dr. Merle Dempsey will serve as Southern’s interim president while college representatives continue to search for a permanent replacement for outgoing president Joanne Jaeger Tomblin, who retired on June 30. Dempsey began his term of service on July 1 and said that he is honored to have been asked by the Board of Governors to serve as Interim President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. “I want to thank the Board for the confidence they have shown in me by allowing me the opportunity to serve the College and community in this capacity.” Dempsey began his career as a teacher and principal in Mingo County Schools. He joined Southern Community and Technical College in Mount Gay, W. Va., in 1987 as assistant director of telecommunications and educational services. He was named vice president for instruction and student services in 1990 and later served as vice president for student affairs and vice president for academic affairs and student services. He served as interim president for five months in 1999 before being promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer, a position he held until his retirement in 2010. In 2012, he served as interim president for New River Community and Technical College in Beaver, WV. He now works as an educational consultant. Dempsey is a graduate of Marshall University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in teacher education, a master's in education administration and a doctorate in educational leadership with an emphasis on higher education administration. Southern provides accessible, affordable, quality education and training at each of its four campuses in Boone, Logan, Mingo and Wyoming counties and its Lincoln County High School site in Hamlin, WV. Dempsey plans to visit each campus and location as soon as possible. “I look forward to renewing acquaintances with those with whom I have worked in the past and to meeting new colleagues with whom I have not yet had the pleasure to work.”

For Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College President, Joanne Jaeger Tomblin, her last day on the job will be the same as her first day, little fanfare and lots of hard work. On June 30, 2015 Tomblin will retire from her position as president to fully embrace the role of West Virginia First Lady.

After more than three decades, half of that time as president giving her the distinction of the longest serving community college president in the state, she realized that there was not a moment when the work is done and the book can be closed. So after deliberate and strategic consideration for the future of the college, she felt the time was right. “Our board of governors, academic and campus leaders, and community supporters have a firm grasp on what is required to achieve continued success,” remarked Tomblin.

Tomblin was born in New York City, New York and educated in the Long Island public school system. She attended the University of Hartford in Connecticut following her graduation from high school and subsequently transferred to Marshall University in her junior year to pursue a degree in Journalism. During her senior year she was selected as Marshall University’s “Broadcast Journalism Student of the Year.”  While working on her Master’s degree she was given an assignment in the Office of Public Information for the West Virginia Legislature where she was introduced to a young freshman delegate, Earl Ray Tomblin.

Her career began directly out of College as the Traffic Director for WMUL-TV in Huntington, now WPBY. In a very short period of time she was hired as an anchor/reporter for WSAZ-TV in Huntington, West Virginia. Following her engagement to Governor Tomblin, she moved to Logan County where she was hired as the Director of the Logan County Chamber of Commerce. After a few years she joined the staff of Southern as a full time media specialist. She brought with her a focused agenda and plenty of energy to keep engaged in the many different aspects of the college. She held many positions at Southern, from teaching classes, overseeing television and the human resources department to interim dean and then vice president for economic development. Tomblin tackled these positions with her usual enthusiastic drive leading her to fulfill the role of president in 1999.

During her tenure she has successfully met the many challenges of making higher education accessible to everyone and has been the driving force behind projects that have made Southern a leader among community colleges and a vital part of our region. Under her visionary leadership the college has expanded its influence and extended its reach. Incorporating strong academics with career ready skills and experiences allowed Southern to be recognized nationally and globally. In October 2011, Southern was ranked as the 14th best community college in the nation by Washington Monthly. Tomblin also lead a team to achieve a global platform. The Academy for Mine Training and Energy Technologies, which sets the gold standard for mine training and safety education in the region, became an international training site for mining officials from China’s Shanxi Province.

Tomblin spearheaded many projects including a new Allied Health Facility on the Logan Campus and the Applied Technology Facility on the Williamson Campus. She encouraged the growth of 14 new technology programs, articulations with four year institutions insuring easy transfers for students continuing their education and the development of the COTIGA Leadership Academy. Additional lands and buildings have been secured in Boone and Mingo counties and improvements continue on all campuses to foster better learning environments.

Of her service as president Tomblin has said that the Vision 2020 Major Gifts campaign has been her proudest accomplishment as president. Under Tomblin’s direction this ambitious endowment campaign began in 2006. Although fundraising for community colleges is not typical, Tomblin wanted to be prepared for any economic shift. The goal was to sustain the college and insure that students would have an opportunity to obtain a quality education. Since the inception of the campaign, a grand total of $17 million in fundraising dollars has been raised through community donations, Foundations, and grants. The Foundation has distributed $2.2 in scholarships since 2007 and provided over $700,000 to Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College in aid and educational support. Southern employees have donated over $250,000. At a recent luncheon, the employees honored Tomblin with a scholarship in her name noting it to be an appropriate addition to her legacy at Southern.

Tomblin’s leadership has been acknowledged with various awards and recognitions. Her legacy extends beyond the college and educational realm. Throughout her presidency, Tomblin has promoted service and volunteerism. She has served on countless committees and numerous boards, some of which include: Emeritus member Education Alliance; Chair Board of Trustees for Logan Regional Medical Center, board member, Logan County Chamber of Commerce; Co-Chair West Virginia College Completion Task force; member Gear-Up Advisory Board; board member CEDAR of southern West Virginia; board member, West Virginia Workforce Investment Council; board member, West Virginia University Excellence in Women’s Health; board member Greenbrier Valley Theater and board member Clay Center. She is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Logan and their Chancel Choir.

The employees of Southern recently gathered to share a video expressing their admiration for this woman of great merit. In wishing her well in her role as first lady it was noted that she exemplifies the best of the human spirit and advocates for all this is worthwhile in our area. As she continues to be a role model, her remarkable contributions to the improvement to the quality of life in our area will be recognized for generations to come.

Has working with math always made you a little nervous? Maybe it’s been quite some time since you’ve worked with math or you hardly ever use it? Perhaps you’ve held off on finishing your degree just because you knew that you would need to take more math? If any of this sounds familiar, then Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College “Math Boot Camp” might be for you!

This non-credit seminar is a short but thorough review of basic skills and will prepare you for placement testing and for coursework. It is a painless and informative refresher class that you will find useful and beneficial.

There are no real quizzes, no real tests, no pressure – just confirming information that you will need in order to make you more comfortable in conquering math.

The camp is open to all students and will be held each Monday and Wednesday, July 6th through the 22nd from 9am until noon on the Logan Campus.

To register students should see an Advisor for a registration form. You may also register by sending an email to either of the Developmental Education Coordinators, or .

 Registration Ends June 25th.


Mary Nemeth-Pyles, Coordinator for Nursing has been awarded the 2015 President’s Eagle Award by First Lady/President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Joanne Jaeger Tomblin.

Tomblin announced the recognition during the annual President’s Awards Ceremony. 

The President’s Award was established by President Tomblin to recognize an outstanding college employee who demonstrates a commitment to the college and is dedicated to making the community a better place.

Nemeth-Pyles has been both student and faculty at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. 

She received her Associate of Science in Nursing from Southern. She continued her academic endeavors with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Marshall University; a Master’s of Science in Nursing from West Virginia University and holds certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Having experience in real world and classroom settings has made her an often sought after speaker for international, national and regional platforms.

Mary generously shares her time at Southern on several committees. She has been a member of the Assessment and Promotion Committees, Curriculum Development and is currently the Faculty Representative to the Board of Governors. She was a 2014 Savas-Kostas Award recipient.

In the community she has volunteered time with the Logan County Board of Education, WV and Logan HealthRight. She has served on the board of directors for Women’s Health Centers, New Employment for Women and Americas Friend Service Committee.

She has been described as an instructor who challenges students to achieve their highest potential. The high success rate on nursing licensure exams is proof she accomplishes that challenge.

Nemeth-Pyles, who recently announced her retirement, lives in Chapmanville with her husband Brad. They have one son, Conner, a student at West Virginia University. 

“At the heart of any great educational institution, are those talented and passionate individuals who devote their time, enlightening and mentoring students for the future,” said Tomblin.