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Camp celebrates golden anniversary

By Teresa Beale

“We give everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened.” — mission statement of the Virginia Community College System.

For 50 years, our community and our lives have indeed been strengthened by Paul D. Camp Community College. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Camp family for their generosity and to the many visionary leaders who played a part in establishing this local institution. PDCCC is one of only 23 community colleges in Virginia. Think about that for a minute. Do you realize how privileged we are to have our own community college?

As one of our top community assets, the college offers a varied range of education. Just a small sampling includes general studies, high school dual enrollment opportunities, nursing, phlebotomy, cybersecurity, mechatronics, early childhood studies, GED/adult education, criminal justice, truck driver training, welding, machinist, business of farming, photography, parenting, and much more. Personally, I completed a bucket list item through the beginner motorcycle rider safety course that was offered several years ago. There truly is something for everyone!

PDCCC plays a huge role in the success of our region as a key element of our community structure. The college has championed regional economic development through job fairs, mass interviews and specialized training. Regional employers utilize a wide variety of training opportunities for their personnel, and certification programs are added when there is a specific need. The ACT WorkKeys program helps employers hire, train and retain a skilled workforce. Without a doubt, PDCCC has attracted new businesses and industries to the area. Whether communicating with businesses or individuals looking to relocate, we always proudly note that our community has a thriving college and workforce development center.

Through my position with the Chamber, I am fortunate to be closely aligned with college activity. Leaders and staff go the extra mile constantly looking for new ways to support and partner with the community. Each president, along with past and present dedicated faculty and staff, has brought the college to a new level. Current president, Dr. Dan Lufkin, developed the Camp Regional Warehouse and Distribution Training Facility. Starting with classroom instruction, moving on to a simulator then hands-on training on forklift, clamp and reach truck, these students are immediately employable. Undeniably impactful for someone needing a job as well as businesses dependent on skilled workers. Through the addition of sports, Dr. Lufkin and his team boosted student enrollment. Camp Hurricane Athletics started with baseball and grew to include men’s soccer as well as women’s softball and soccer. This venture added a state-of-the-art baseball facility to the Franklin campus. An e-sports arena is the latest addition to athletics.

The PDCCC Regional Workforce Development Center has been the perfect venue for the Chamber to host our annual Community Expo connecting local businesses to their potential customers/clients. This facility has also served the Chamber well for presenting Eggs & Issues legislative breakfasts, a governor’s luncheon, motivational speakers, a UVA Entrepreneurship certificate program, and innumerable meetings. Organization fundraisers, school graduations and events, weddings, business conferences, anniversary celebrations, community health events, city and county meetings and more have all been held at this site.

The Chamber salutes PDCCC on its 50th anniversary, and we look ahead to growing forward together. Our lives and community have most definitely been enriched by Paul D. Camp Community College.

Teresa Beale is executive director of the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce. Contact her at teresa@fsachamber.com.