Amelia Students are First High School Students to Graduate from JTCC’s Precision Machining Program
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Released on May 19, 2014
Will Morgan, Ricky White, William Clements, Anthony Bickley
CHESTER and MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – Seven Amelia County High School students marked a first for John Tyler Community College when they crossed the stage as part of the Class of 2014. They became the first cohort of high school students to graduate from the College with a career studies certificate in Basic Precision Machining Technology. Their graduations from college come about a month before they celebrate their high school graduations.
For the past two years during the fall and spring semesters, Anthony Bickley; William Clements, III; Andrew Collins; Wilson “Will” Morgan; Billy Phillips, III; Seth Roberts; and Ricky White spent two hours a day, four days a week at the Chester Campus, building the skill sets needed to understand and be competitive in the in-demand field of advanced manufacturing. They’ve gone through the rigors of Tyler’s program, honing their abilities in manual and automated machining through hands-on learning and developing skills that meet industry standards and are marketable in the workforce. Through Tyler’s Precision Machining program, all seven earned National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certifications, which are nationally recognized industry credentials. Each of the students earned at least one NIMS certification; some earned three. In addition, the students received opportunities to work in the field. Seth Roberts and Will Morgan earned internships at Rolls-Royce, while Ricky White secured a job at Coesia in Chesterfield County and will begin working there once he graduates high school in June. Other members of the cohort are taking what they’ve learned in different directions. William Clements hopes to use his skills in the military. Andrew Collins wants to apply the critical thinking and other skills he’s learned to a degree in computer science engineering and a minor in business management – credentials he hopes to use to get a job at an advanced manufacturing company like Rolls-Royce.
John Tyler Community College’s decision to extend its Precision Machining Technology program to high school students was based on industry workforce needs and a request from Amelia County Public Schools, which wanted to offer machining courses to its high school students. “Members of our Technical Advisory Committee, which is made up of representatives from businesses and industries in the area, told us they couldn’t find people with the right skill sets to hire,” said Melinda Miller, interim associate dean of the Division of Engineering, Business and Public Services at John Tyler. “This was a constant theme at every meeting. Then, we were approached by the superintendent from Amelia’s school system who was interested in starting a precision machining program at the high school. After some discussion, we proposed bringing the students to Tyler’s Chester Campus for class.” Miller says learning these skills while in high school gives students in the program a big advantage. “A lot of what’s happening in the economy in Virginia and in the country is bringing manufacturing back to the U.S., so we need those skills here. Getting these skills and earning industry credentials while in high school puts these students way ahead. It makes them marketable.”
The program, which began with Amelia’s school system, has now expanded. The second cohort, which is just wrapping up its first year of classes, is made up of students from Amelia, Dinwiddie and Sussex counties.
The Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission provides generous grant funding through the John Tyler Community College Foundation that gives $1,500 annually in tuition to each of the Amelia, Dinwiddie and Sussex high school students who are concurrently enrolled in the two-year Precision Machining program. The commission’s mission is to promote economic growth and development in tobacco-dependent communities, and the counties of Amelia, Dinwiddie and Sussex are the only localities in Tyler’s service area that are part of the tobacco region.
In addition to tuition assistance, the high school students in the Precision Machining program receive textbook assistance thanks to partnerships with the local business community.
“This is a winning situation for everyone involved,” says Beverley Dew, executive director of the JTCC Foundation. “Students receive their Basic Precision Machining Technology career studies certificate from John Tyler at virtually the same time they receive their high school diploma, enabling them to move directly into the workforce or to choose to further their educations through two-year or four-year degree programs. We applaud the Tobacco Commission’s generous investment in our tobacco county students and in the economic good health of our community.”
Watch a video about the first high school cohort to graduate from Tyler’s Basic Precision Machining C.S.C. program at http://youtu.be/Bb5_IvtGAmg.
John Tyler Community College is a two-year, public institution of higher education and is the fifth largest of the 23 community colleges in Virginia. With campuses in Chester and Midlothian and off-campus classrooms throughout the area, John Tyler offers quality and economical opportunities for students who want to earn a degree or certificate, transfer to a four-year college or university, train for the workforce, or switch careers. The College, which served more than 14,000 students during the 2012-13 academic year, offers 17 associate degrees, seven certificates, and 34 career studies certificates. The institution also serves more than 13,000 non-credit trainees and over 1,000 companies and government agencies annually through the Community College Workforce Alliance. The College also is committed to sustainability. In July 2010, it received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification for Hamel Hall on its Midlothian Campus, becoming the first in the Virginia Community College System to receive such recognition.
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