College sets legislative priorities

Published 7:52 pm Saturday, January 22, 2011

By Dr. Patsy Joyner

As the spring semester at PDCCC gets well under way, various activities are also in full swing.

Now that the General Assembly is in session, for example, representatives from each of the community colleges in the Virginia Community College System visit with their jurisdiction’s legislators in their offices in Richmond as part of “Every Day is Community College Day,” initiated by Dr. Glen DuBois, VCCS Chancellor.

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Virginia’s community colleges support Gov. Bob McDonnell’s call for an additional 100,000 college graduates. Virginia cannot meet that goal without a strong, vibrant community college system playing a central role. Accordingly, the VCCS is seeking legislative support in the following areas:

Community College Infrastructure

Virginia’s community colleges are seeking $2.5 million in pre-planning money for 10 capital projects chosen specifically to enhance STEM education and promote affordable college access.

While the VCCS is in the midst of a system-wide reengineering effort that ensures we are maximizing usage of existing space, our colleges have enrolled an additional 27,000 students over the last four years, and more space is essential to serving Virginia families.

Keeping workers on the cutting edge

Recognizing the unmatched leading role Virginia’s community colleges play in partnering with private employers, the governor’s budget proposal includes $3 million to bolster customized training and workforce development programs at the VCCS.

With more employees earning leading industry certifications, Virginia companies will be more competitive.

Making bachelor’s degrees more affordable

Virginia’s community colleges, along with more than two-dozen public and private universities, offer the best transfer environment in the nation. The Two-Year Transfer Grants aim to make a bachelor’s degree more accessible and affordable for every Virginia family. An effort to amend that law will position the grants to better fulfill their intent and help more families and students.

Serving record enrollments

Virginia’s Community Colleges have enrolled an additional 27,000 students over the last four years while simultaneously losing $105 million in annual General Fund support. Aware of the Commonwealth’s budgetary challenges, Virginia’s community colleges support Governor Bob McDonnell’s introduced budget for our core operating needs.

General Assembly visits

This week, PDCCC representatives including President Paul Conco and students, visited with Del. William Barlow and Senators Louise Lucas and Fred Quayle in support of Virginia’s community colleges and their legislative priorities. They were introduced in the Senate Gallery by Senator Lucas.

In February, another group led by Dr. Conco will visit with Delegates Chris Jones, Roslyn Tyler, and Lionell Spruill, and college and area business representatives will attend the Virginia Community College System’s Legislative Reception at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.

Waiting to Exhale Workshop

On campus this week, a special workshop for students entitled “Waiting to Exhale” was presented by Dr. Harriette Arrington, Dean of the Hobbs Suffolk Campus, and Hyler Scott, Suffolk Campus Counselor. The workshop was presented twice, first at the Franklin Campus Regional Workforce Development Center on the 18th and then at the Hobbs Suffolk Campus on the 20th. Intercampus transportation to the workshop was provided for students who needed it.

Since the typical student at PDCCC carries many responsibilities, such as classes, jobs, club activities, community work, home, social and more, this workshop was designed to focus on how to manage time and reduce unhealthy stress to become effective and productive.

Participants were given the opportunity to discuss ideas, share information, and leave the workshop with several concrete strategies to reduce stress, relax more, and increase productivity…EXHALE!

For information on options available at Paul D. Camp Community College, call 569-6700, or visit our website at