Workforce progress made at PDCCC

Published 8:06 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The president of Paul D. Camp Community College met with local business leaders Wednesday morning to share highlights of upcoming workforce development programs.

Dr. Daniel Lufkin met with members of Hampton Roads Chamber Suffolk Division to highlight programs such as the Fast Track Healthcare programs for clinical medical assistant, phlebotomy technician, and EKG technician training this March. He said the bundle was the result of community needs expressed by health care partners.

“They’ll hire just a phlebotomist, just an EKG technician, but why can’t we bundle them all?” Lufkin said. “Now they can make one hire with three different skillsets.”

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The programs are the latest in a series of workforce development opportunities introduced at the Suffolk campus.

Students enrolled in the first class of the College’s National Center for Construction Education and Research Industrial Maintenance Electrical and Instrumentation curriculum completed the first leg of the program in October.

The 40-hour training program spans two weeks and covers topics such as safety, construction math, hand and power tools, construction drawings, materials handling, communication and employability skills in a Suffolk campus lab.

Those students moved on to a 165-hour course for trade certifications that’s expected to conclude this February.

“It was built through our advisory councils,” Lufkin said. “They told us what needed to be in there, and that’s why we’ve had success with this program, Businesses in the industry are not only recruiting new employees, but also sending their current employees here.”

The outside machinist trainee program is a joint partnership between the Virginia Ship Repair Association, Newport News Shipbuilding and PDCCC Workforce Development. The 80-credit hour course prepares candidates for the outside machinist department of NNS in just two weeks.

“It’s a small lab, and it’s very hands-on,” Lufkin said. “You’re normally talking 10 to 12 students per class, which is great in terms of the instructor-to-student ratio and safety within the lab.”

The school was able to develop the class lab through community partnerships. About $250,000 worth of equipment has been invested in the lab, and the ship repair association donated equipment as well, Lufkin said.

“They want the students to learn what they’re actually going to see when they’re in the shipyard,” he said.

The college partnered with Shipper’s Choice to offer a four-week program that allowed students to attain a Class A Commercial Driver’s License.

Students get 80 hours of classroom training in the first two weeks of the program, during which they obtain their CDL learner’s permit and receive the required physical right there at the college campus.

The second half of the program features behind-the-wheel training at a facility off Carolina Road, where students will be bused from the Suffolk campus on Kenyon Road.

Graduates of the program also get free lifetime job placement assistance as well as lifetime refresher training.

“That has done really well for us,” Lufkin said.

Lufkin said the college will go to the General Assembly to receive aid from the Workforce Credential Grant Program. This program educes the student cost of specific Workforce Credential training programs by two-thirds so more people can access this type of training and subsequent jobs.

“The student only pays a third, and the second third and third third are reimbursed by the state,” he said. “The student isn’t accruing debt, and they can afford the program. We even have some other funding that we do through some other grants and some other opportunities, so that sometimes the student’s $1,000 can be worked down to as much as $100 to $500 that they pay out of pocket.”