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JTCC Celebrates New Workforce Development Opportunities at Grand Opening Event

Primary Media Contact:

Holly Walker
Public Relations Manager

Secondary Media Contact:

Heather Busch
Creative Services Manager

Released on December 12, 2019

Dr. Singh Sahni, Dr. Edward "Ted" Raspiller, William H. Talley, III, Charlene Whitfield, and Elizabeth Creamer

CHESTER and MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – Strengthening the region’s workforce, empowerment through education, and the importance of partnerships were celebrated during an event marking the grand opening of two renovated buildings and a new workforce development center at John Tyler Community College’s Chester Campus. The December 6, 2019, event held in the newly renovated Nicholas Center, brought together leaders from business and industry; economic development; the state government; local governments; K-12 education; higher education; and the community. At the event, Tyler officially unveiled the newly renovated Bird Hall, newly renovated Nicholas Center, and new William H. Talley, III Center for Workforce Development, which have been under construction since summer 2018. 

Bird Hall, one of the college’s original buildings, is now home to Tyler’s nursing and emergency medical services paramedic programs and includes simulation labs, skills labs, and other learning spaces, designed to give students in these programs hands-on training with state-of-the-art equipment. The building also houses new natural science labs, student collaborative spaces, and faculty offices. The William H. Talley, III Center for Workforce Development is a new addition to the college’s Chester Campus. The 25,503-square-foot workforce center houses the offices of Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), a workforce training partnership between Tyler and Reynolds community colleges. The new Talley Workforce Center also features a flex lab that can accommodate a wide range of options for customized workforce training, as well as classrooms and meeting spaces. The renovated Nicholas Center includes classrooms; meeting rooms; student support services; the bookstore and café; a fitness center; offices; and student study and gathering spaces.

During the grand opening event, speakers discussed the region’s workforce and training needs and the role Tyler’s programs and the new learning spaces can play in meeting those needs. “We work closely with partners in the community to understand what is needed today and what will be needed tomorrow. Whether that need involves a high school, a workplace, or some other entity, it is our job to get in there and help figure out how to solve it,” said Dr. Edward “Ted” Raspiller, president of John Tyler Community College. “These new spaces provide us with additional tools that will help us build on and expand those efforts.”

Dr. K. Singh Sahni, chief of neuroscience and director of the Gamma Knife Center at Johnston-Willis Hospital and president of the Board of Trustees of Chippenham and Johnson-Willis Hospitals discussed the health-care industry’s ongoing and growing need for licensed nurses. He spoke about the evolution of the nursing profession and explained the high expectations and demands placed on today’s nurse. Sahni said nurses at the bedside are now decision makers who identify symptoms; read and interpret monitoring systems; and relay vital information, in addition to attending to the patient’s other needs. According to Sahni, these expectations coupled with the retirements of nurses in the Baby Boomer generation, have led to an increased need for more highly educated nurses. “Unless we support educational facilities like this one that produce nurses, the demand won’t be met,” said Sahni. “The investment we make today in educating our nurses should be equal to our expectations and our demands from that nurse.”

Charlene Whitfield, vice president of distributions operations, Power Delivery Group at Dominion Energy, spoke about the impact rapid industry changes, including evolving technologies, have on worker and employer needs. Whitfield said educational partners, like Tyler, help employers prepare current workers for these changes by training them on new technologies or by teaching them the skills needed to take on a new job.  Whitfield said while it is important for employers to make sure they have a workforce that can meet needs and expectations, it is also important for companies to offer their workers the chance to grow. “I think our responsibility as leaders is to make sure we are developing our workforce,” she said. “In order to do that, we have to present them with opportunities to develop in their personal lives as well.”  
Elizabeth Creamer, vice president of workforce development and credential attainment for CCWA, discussed the training and partnership opportunities offered by the new Talley Workforce Center. “It’s going to allow us to expand our offerings in manufacturing, logistics, IT, health care, trades, construction, and transportation,” said Creamer. “It’s going to help us to be closer to the businesses we need to serve in the counties and in the cities that are part of this region. It’s going to help us help more underemployed and unemployed residents of this region find work.”

William H. Talley, III, for whom the workforce center is named, agreed. Talley, a longtime advocate for Tyler and for Virginia’s community colleges, noted the importance of education and pointed to the opportunities the new workforce center provides to those who want to launch a new career or transition into a new job. “The new center for workforce development will show John Tyler’s continued commitment to the ongoing development and strengthening of our region’s workforce by providing our skilled students to existing employers and helping attract new employers to bring their business to central Virginia,” he said.

For information about Community College Workforce Alliance’s programs and services, visit To learn more about Tyler’s nursing program, go to Information about the college’s emergency medical services paramedic program may be found at To get information about tours of the Chester Campus, go to

Photographs from the grand opening event may be found on the college’s Flickr page at  

John Tyler Community College offers more than 75 majors that provide pathways to careers in high-demand fields; transfer opportunities to four-year colleges and universities; and industry credentials and licensures. The college, with campuses in Chester and Midlothian, online classes, and off-campus classrooms, served more than 14,000 students during the 2018-19 academic year. It also assisted more than 7,000 learners through its workforce development division, Community College Workforce Alliance, a partnership between Tyler and Reynolds community colleges.

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Holly Walker, Public Relations Manager


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