Latest Southern News

Grant money used by company to create local scholarship

CHARLESTON, WV, December 13, 2017– Learn & Earn grants are an incredible opportunity for employers in West Virginia to have the chance to train ideal future employees. Employers select students who are studying at a local community and technical college (CTC) and are reimbursed from grant funding for up to half of the student’s wages while that student works for the employer and completes their studies at the CTC. This benefit is intended to be an incentive for employers to take on trainees; however, some employers also see is as an opportunity from a different perspective. Some see it as an opportunity to help their own employees continue their education here in West Virginia.

Right at Home, a local Charleston healthcare service has been partnering with BridgeValley Community and Technical College since 2015. What makes this learn and earn unique is that Right at Home uses their grant reimbursement to give back to students. Right at Home uses the funds to create a scholarship for students pursuing a Health Science Associates or Certificate degrees at BridgeValley. Starting December 2017, one intern will be chosen each semester to receive a $2,500 scholarship. The award goes to a student who shows hard work and excitement out in the field while they are working.

“We saw this as an opportunity to draw individuals with a passion for providing care to our program. We want to hire and show them that though this program there is a career path for professional growth.” said Right at Home President, Eric Hicks. When they graduate we want them to stay in West Virginia and in some instances, we will be able to employee them.”

Right at Home gives students hands-on experience in the healthcare field, by allowing them to visit clients in the home and provide “companion care” services such as meal prepping, house cleaning, and laundry. They also assist with “personal care” services such as bathing, feeding, dressing and incontinence care. Right at Home gives people the option of being able to stay in their homes safely by supplying caregivers to perform these tasks. Students receive a hands-on internship experience where they are paid $14 per hour and earn credit toward a degree in health care.

“This program is an exceptional opportunity for our students to gain real world experience and enhance classroom learning,” said Kim Knapp Associate Professor and Director of Grants and Contracts at BridgeValley. “In addition to earning a pay check to help cover expenses while attending college, these students also have an opportunity to apply for Right at Home’s scholarships to help pay for tuition. We appreciate Right at Home’s commitment to helping students overcome barriers and reach their goals.”

Right at Home said they plan to expand the learn and earn program to include their Beckley location by partnering with New River Community and Technical College soon. # # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Samantha Willis at 304.558.0087 ext. 265 or [email protected]

The Community and Technical College system of West Virginia (WVCTCS) serves nine community and technical colleges with campuses throughout the state. Our mission is to promote and provide high-quality, accessible, and responsive education and training opportunities that maximize student learning, improve the standard of living for West Virginians, and contribute to the economic vitality and competitiveness of our state.

Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College (SWVCTC) is now offering a series of courses on unmanned aerial systems. Newly enacted rules by the Federal Aviation Administration on routine commercial use of unmanned aerial systems has created a pathway to integrating the airspace and advancing growth to the $82 billion market and an estimated 100,000 new jobs over the next decade.

Southern is partnering with local and regional industry leaders and Maysville Community and Technical College through an Appalachian Regional Commission POWER Initiative grant to prepare students for this growing occupation. This new program will allow students to enjoy working with the latest in drone technology and explore a variety of career options while earning skill set certificates or a full degree.

Congratulations to Southern's Board of Governors member, Jada C. Hunter, who was named to the 2017 West Virginia Wonder Women by WV Living Magazine. Ms. Hunter was selected alongside 49 other female leaders in West Virginia to receive this honor and accepted her award at the 2017 Wonder Women Luncheon held recently in Charleston, WV. Below is the article featured in the fall issue of WV Living Magazine.

THE TRAILBLAZER - After earning a teaching degree by the time she was 19, Jada Hunter kickstarted the state Human Rights Commission case that forced Mingo County to integrate its teaching staffs in the mid-1960s. She ended up teaching in Mineral County, however, where after two years she was hired as supervisor of the county vocational center’s business department. With the encouragement of her principal, she became the first black contestant and winner of the Miss Eastern West Virginia beauty pageant.

Hunter moved back to her native Mingo County after a few years in Connecticut. She taught at Lenore High School before becoming the county’s first female high school principal, at Matewan High. She was then principal at Birch High for 14 years, retiring in 2003.

Hunter remains active in her community: tutoring at a youth center in Williamson, serving on Southern Community and Technical College’s Board of Governors, and presiding over Action in Mingo, a group that organizes the county’s King Coal Festival and the Great White Way holiday event, among other happenings.

Follow the link below to check out all of the other wonderful women recognized in this issue.

President Gunter has been featured in this Fall's upcoming edition of Bowles Rice, LLP's "Views and Visions" magazine.

In the article, President Gunter speaks on how "Reputation Is Everything" (in reference to the quality of Southern's faculty, staff, and students). The article in its entirety can be viewed here.

At its October 30, 2017 meeting, the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Board of Governors approved to renew the contract of its President, Dr. Robert E. Gunter, through June 30, 2022, following a comprehensive performance review.

The Presidential Review Committee’s findings were reported to the full Board at its October 30, 2017 meeting. President Gunter received from the Board of Governors a good review of his first two years as President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. In a challenging environment for Southern and other community colleges, he has admirably brought fresh eyes and innovative ideas to the institution, just as the Board had hoped. The Board commends the President’s foresight and fortitude, his overarching focus on students, his positive can-do attitude, his open-door policy, and the determination he has shown to prepare the College to meet the future needs of its students and the regional economy. The Board notes concerns expressed by some faculty members related to morale. It encourages Dr. Gunter to take the initiative in dealing with those concerns and informing the Board of Governors of his progress in doing so.

The purpose of this evaluation was to ensure that the institution is being well managed, pursuing sound institutional goals, and to help the president improve his performance. The governing boards of West Virginia’s higher education institutions are required by state statute to conduct a written performance evaluation of its President at the end of his/her initial contract period. President Gunter will complete his initial contract and second year as President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College on December 31, 2017.

President Gunter commented, “While the past two years certainly has had its challenges, Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College is an institution full of potential and promise.” He thanked the Board of Governors for its support and commitment to Southern and to his Presidency, and looks forward to working with the Board, faculty, staff, and administration to advance Southern to its fullest potential.

Community and Technical College System of West Virginia
New River CTC offers software development boot camp to fill tech job openings

CHARLESTON, WV October 26, 2017 – The WV Community and Technical College System (CTCS) is always looking for new opportunities to assist people seeking employment or retraining. The system works closely with employers to train people in programs that prepare them for high-paying, in-demand jobs. Mined Minds had a need for well-trained software developers, so they developed a training boot camp to prepare their own workforce. Later they realized they could hire even more trained workers, so they partnered with New River Community and Technical College to train their faculty to deliver the same boot camp program and train even more people who will be eligible to be hired by the company.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin helped facilitate this partnership.

“When I invited Mined Minds to West Virginia, I could see how committed they are to retraining our workforce for the high-tech jobs of today and the future,” said Manchin. “Since first coming here, they started offering courses, graduated their first class, and set up a permanent office in the state. And now, with this new coding boot camp set to start at New River CTC, they’ll be reaching even more West Virginians – and opening even more doors of opportunity for good-paying jobs. I’d like to thank New River, the Community and Technical College System, and Mined Minds for making this happen.”

Throughout the boot camp, representatives from Mined Minds will interactwith students and check on progress to ensure they will meet their needs. Students will be learning Ruby programming, web development, database, programming logic and other skills for the software development field.

“Our job is to create programs that lead to real careers at high wages,” said CTCS Vice Chancellor Dr. Casey K. Sacks. “This program is one of those opportunities. When we see a need from an employer our colleges develop programs that benefit the company, college, and local job-seekers.”

In the state of West Virginia, the median salary for software developers is roughly $78,000 per year according Economic Modeling Specialists International (Emsi). Software developers help create the systems that run devices or control networks, as well as create the applications and develop coding that allows computer programs to work properly.

The 12-week boot camp at New River CTC begins Wednesday November 1, 2017 and is open to anyone interested in starting a new career path in this field. The boot camp is available at all four of New River’s campuses located in Beaver/Beckley, Lewisburg, Princeton and Summersville. Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to contact Tricia Hoover at [email protected] or 304.929.6702.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Samantha Willis at 304.558.0087 ext. 265 or email at [email protected]

Ms. Rita G. Roberson, Director of Williamson Campus Operations at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, was recognized as an Outstanding Contributor to Community College Education. She received the award during the 2017 annual conference of the West Virginia Community College Association held October 13, 2017 at New River Community and Technical College in Beaver, WV.

“Rita exemplifies a true example of “Southern’s Best” as she continuously goes above and beyond the expected,” said President Bob Gunter. “She takes great pride in her campus and community, which is demonstrated through her volunteerism and unselfish giving of her personal time.”

In 2016 Ms. Roberson became the “Champion” for SkillsUSA, a competitive student leadership program. She was instrumental in organizing faculty and students, disseminating information, arranging for uniforms, transportation, and lodging for students to participate in the SkillsUSA WV State Leadership and Skills Conference. Because of her leadership, in April 2017 ten student leaders competed in the State Conference held at Fairmont State College and brought home two gold medals and one silver medal. Ms. Roberson also took it upon herself to organize and administer continuing education courses in Cake Decorating, Zumba, Paint and Play, and Computers for 50+ at both the Williamson and Logan Campuses. These activities brought 1,599 citizens from our communities onto our campuses. She maintains a positive attitude and is always supportive of the College. She is indeed a true asset to Southern and to the communities we serve.

Ms. Roberson has been an employee of Southern for 32 years and began her duties as Director of Campus Operations at Southern’s Williamson Campus in 2000. Her areas of oversight include planning, coordination, and supervision of campus service workers; planning and participation in recruitment efforts for campus and college-wide recruitment activities; serving as the campus safety coordinator and community liaison; assisting with institutional fundraising; and serving on numerous college committees. She accepted her first position with Southern in 1985 as Secretary to the Business Division Chair. Since then she has served in a variety of positions including Executive Secretary to the Dean of Instruction and Administrative Services, Educational Talent Search Outreach Counselor, and Student Support Services Counselor and Director.

She holds an Associate in Arts Degree from Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, K-8, and a Master of Arts in Counseling with an emphasis in Community Agency from Marshall University. Ms. Roberson and her husband, Don, reside in Williamson, WV.

Community and Technical College System of West Virginia
CTCS Awards Learn and Earn Grant for Software Development Company

Huntington, W.Va. September 25, 2017 – Students at Mountwest Community and Technical College have the opportunity to work for Core10 while completing their IT degree. The Community and Technical College System of West Virginia (CTCS) is pleased to announce that it awarded Mountwest a grant to support their new partnership with Core10 through the Learn and Earn program. The Learn and Earn program is a 50/50 wage match between business and industry and the state of West Virginia to support training efforts for students enrolled in public community colleges. Approximately ninety percent of students who participate in the Learn and Earn program end up working in their field of study in West Virginia.

Students who take advantage of this most recent opportunity at Core10 will learn how to build software in an agile consulting-based environment while learning under the direction of Core10 senior developers.

“The Learn & Earn program is an excellent fit for Core10 because we have very aggressive goals around recruiting and hiring in West Virginia,” said Co-Founder and CEO of Core10 Jeff Martin. “Bringing students into our organization for co-ops demonstrates to them the new tech economy that’s here to stay, and furthers our mission to create technology job opportunities right here in the state.”

Senator Shelley Moore Capito facilitated the partnership between CTCS and Core10.

“Fostering new and innovative partnerships between the public and private sectors is an essential part of helping West Virginians succeed in the workforce and growing our economy,” Capito said. “The exciting collaboration between Mountwest and Core10 is a real win-win for everyone involved, and I’m thrilled I was able to help facilitate it. This is a perfect example of how we can work together to keep our state moving forward.”

While working with business analysts, project managers, UX/UI designers, quality assurance engineers and software architects and developers, students who are hired at Core10 through the Learn and Earn project will learn the importance of collaboration in the software development field. Core10 works to bring technology jobs to West Virginia, and now provides valuable work experience to students as they complete their education.

“We have been looking at ways to partner with Core10 since they announced their expansion to West Virginia. We believe this Learn and Earn opportunity allows our students to be competitive in the fast-paced technology field. We recognize that the IT industry is growing rapidly nationally and within West Virginia, and we need to make sure that our community college students have what it takes to be successful. Partnerships like these make that possible,” said CTCS Chancellor Dr. Sarah Tucker. “We are grateful to Core10 for this partnership and are thankful to Senator Shelley Moore Capito who helped to make it possible.”

The goal of the Learn and Earn program is to bring real on-the-job experience to students who are studying to work in high-demand and high-wage fields, like technology. Core10 partnered with Mountwest to provide this opportunity to students studying in Animation & Game Developer, Web Design & Development and Graphic Design. Program participants will receive $15 per hour as compensation for their work with the company, while they are still in school.


The Community and Technical College system of West Virginia (WVCTCS) serves nine community and technical colleges with campuses throughout the state. Our mission is to promote and provide high-quality, accessible, and responsive education and training opportunities that maximize student learning, improve the standard of living for West Virginians, and contribute to the economic vitality and competitiveness of our state.

Community and Technical College System of West Virginia
BridgeValley partners with HPS Company Inc. to give students on-the-job experience

CHARLESTON, W.Va. October 4, 2017– HPS Company Inc., a local fabrication company in Charleston, WV, is partnering with BridgeValley Community and Technical College to provide students from the Machine Tool Technology Associates program with a paid Learn and Earn opportunity.

Learn and Earn grants are awarded to community colleges that partner with businesses to allow students to be paid for working while they also receive credit toward graduation. The goal of the program is to bring real, on-the-job experience to students who are studying to work in high-demand and high-wage fields, like manufacturing. Employers that partner with community and technical colleges in the Learn and Earn program are able to train eager students to be reliable future employees.

When asked about the partnership, HPS President Karl Porter said, "The BridgeValley Learn and Earn program is a beneficial partnership for our firm. We gain career-minded trainees who have an earnest desire to develop working skills and gain on the job applicative experience. This assists us in meeting tight production goals, all the while boosting our bottom line.”

HPS has been specializing in fabrication of all types of mechanical parts in Charleston, W.Va. since 1971. Now those years of experience will shape the education of BridgeValley students in a way that classroom education alone just doesn’t provide. The student who works with HPS Company Inc. will work under the guidance of experienced machinists to supplement their work in the classroom. They will assist with general machining duties and light welding, allowing them to use their classroom skills in a real working environment as they study.

“Every Learn and Earn grant we approve is an exciting opportunity for students in the state of West Virginia to become highly skilled and desirable employees,” said Vice Chancellor of the Community and Technical College System Dr. Casey K. Sacks. “These students get the best of both worlds as they learn in the classroom and then put those lessons to work on the job.”

Businesses interested in participating in similar partnerships with local community colleges are encouraged to visit for more details or call 304-558-0087.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Samantha Willis at 304.558.0087 ext. 265 or email at [email protected]