Southside Virginia Community College

SVCC Diesel Technician Program Graduates

(L to R) Pictured are Billy McGraw, SVCC Instructor, Michael Jones of Nathalie, VA (Halifax); Marcellos Maclin of Freeman, VA (Brunswick); Jakeem Lee of Brodnax, VA (Brunswick); Jordan Maxey of Farmville, VA (Prince Edward); Joseph Pretko of Spout Spring, VA (Appomattox); and Russell Hicks, SVCC Instructor.

Southside Virginia Community College presented certificates to five graduates for completing the Diesel Technician Program on August 12, 2021 in Blackstone, Virginia.

The 22-week program provides both classroom and hands-on training and is designed to prepare students for employment as an entry-level diesel technician.

SVCC offers the Diesel Technician class in Blackstone, Virginia, at the Occupational/Technical Center in Pickett Park.  For more information about the program, visit

Former SVCC Graduates Restoring Power in Louisiana

Local Linemen with Lee Electrical Construction LLC and former SVCC Power Line Worker graduates Bayden Bishop, Jackson Queen and Blake Gravitt are currently in Louisiana restoring power from the damage left behind by Hurricane Ida.

As one of the most powerful hurricanes in recent memory, Hurricane Ida, hit the gulf coast more than one million people in Louisiana were left without electricity.  The estimates are that many residents will be without power for more than 20 days.

To help with this massive power restoration effort, Lee Electrical Construction LLC based out of Aberdeen, North Carolina is one of many companies that have been called in to help.  

Working on one of the Lee Electrical crews in Louisiana are three graduates of Southside Virginia Community College's Power Line Worker Training Program, Bayden Bishop of Kenbridge (Lunenburg County); Jackson Queen of South Hill (Mecklenburg County); and Blake Gravitt of Clarksville (Mecklenburg County).  Bayden was a graduate of the program's second cohort; Jackson a graduate of cohort 12 and Blake a recent graduate of cohort 16.

"When you are a lineman, you watch the weather forecasts and keep your bags packed," said Jackson.  "Many families here in Louisiana have already been without power for days and may be without power for weeks.  We have to work long hours at times but we know the importance of what we do.”

Jackson added, “We've already had people come up to us here in Baton Rouge and thank us personally, that appreciation makes the time and effort we put in each day worthwhile."

Jason R. Lee, Chief Operating Officer of Lee Electrical Construction, LLC said, “Hurricane Ida caused catastrophic damage to many of our customers in the gulf. When events like this happen, these same customers rely on Lee Electrical Construction and our team to provide a skilled and safe workforce that can respond very quickly. These guys (Bayden, Jackson, and Blake) answered that call. It is because of individuals such as these three that we are able to continually provide reliable restoration services to affected areas.

Jackson has been with Lee for two years and said the guys on his crew are like a family. They look out for each other while following safety protocols when restoring power in areas that storms have ravaged.  Because of the severe damage, it is estimated that the Lee crew will be working in Louisiana for multiple weeks.  

Their crew is planning to leave Baton Rouge and head to New Orleans within the next few days.

Industrial Maintenance Student Achieves Dramatic Success

Shaun Phelps, a student in the Industrial Maintenance program at Southside Virginia Community College, will complete his Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree at the end of the 2021 summer semester. The occasion marks a significant milestone in his life’s journey, professionally and personally.

Shaun explains, “On June 30, 2018 I was in a vehicle accident in my truck. I don’t remember the accident, but I’ve been told that I overcorrected on a curve and hit a tree. It turned out that the first responder was a friend who was also a volunteer with the fire department. He said I had been ejected from the truck and was pinned underneath the cab. I was in a coma for a month. I woke up in the hospital, clueless. I was in the hospital for two and a half months.”

At the time of his accident, Shaun was employed as a lineman with Dominion Power. His recovery and eventual return to work required an unswerving effort as he worked to overcome the effects of a traumatic brain injury and to restore physical abilities.

Shaun explains that returning to work involved following testing protocols. “Dominion was understandably cautious to have me return as a lineman, but I wanted to come back. I went to brain doctors, including one in Richmond who had studied brain injuries in the NFL.” Finally, after being out of work for six months, Shaun received clearance to return to his job.

His path forward included unexpected obstacles. “People felt differently about me. There’s a stigma associated with brain injuries.”

Shaun persisted in meeting high standards and eventually rose to the position of Lead Lineman. “It is my job to help educate new trainees and to fill in when the supervisor is not there,” he explains. The job also requires a sharp eye and commitment to safety. “You’re the one putting your hand on the wire. You do what needs to be done.”

During a routine safety meeting, Shaun learned about a program at SVCC that offered linemen academic credit for their training and experience. Shaun saw the opportunity as a chance to prove his mental mettle. “I wanted to challenge myself,” he reports.

“School has been great for me,” he says. “Coming back from a brain injury helped me focus. I’ve learned a lot about myself, what I can tolerate, and how to cope with challenges.”

One of those challenges involved learning how to retain information in areas outside his usual interests, such as mathematics. “I had to learn about my limits and found that it helped to constantly write things down and re-read my notes. I have a scary stack of notepads, and I’ve gone through a lot of pens,” he laughs.

Other classes had more immediate practical applications. “My favorite classes turned out to be computer and communication classes. I learned how to make PowerPoint presentations, and I’ve been able to create some for people to learn at work during times such as rain days. I also simplified some instructional materials to make it easier for new recruits to learn.”

With his lineman training and experience, Shaun needed to take only 12 classes to complete his degree. “I was able to take them all online with a flexible schedule,” he reports. That was important because his work schedule places him on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. “There’s no way I could have scheduled regular classes,” he observes.

Shaun started his college journey in May 2020. He will graduate this summer. “Completing the work took a lot of self-motivation,” he says. “My wife and four kids look to me to help make their lives as best as possible. At my work station, I keep a picture of my truck after the accident and one of me in the hospital with all the tubes. These help me realize that there are more important things in life than to get upset. I also keep a paper my son wrote. He said, "When I grow up, I want to be like my dad. He’s a fighter and a survivor.’”

To others considering embarking on an academic journey, Shaun offers this advice, “Never doubt yourself. They first thought I would need care 24 hours a day, but I walked out of the hospital on my own. The odds were stacked against me, but I’ve managed to make it through. When things get hard, buckle up. Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”

SVCC offers flexible options for students seeking credit for prior learning and work experience. If you would like more information, visit or contact

Southside Virginia Community College to use Gerald L. Baliles Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative Award from Virginia Foundation for Community College Education to Close Educational Attainment Gaps

Richmond — Southside Virginia Community College received the Gerald L. Baliles Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative (RVHI) Award from the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) to help close the educational attainment gap between the Rural Horseshoe region and the state at large. Named for the 65th governor of Virginia, the award honors Baliles’ legacy of promoting educational accessibility. The primary goals of the RVHI program are to reduce the number of rural residents without a high school diploma and to increase the number of rural residents with an associate’s degree, diploma, or certificate.

“Rural Virginia needs a targeted investment to take care of its next generation so the entire Commonwealth can prosper,” said Stewart Roberson, VFCCE’s board chair.

Each of the 11 colleges that received this funding proposed unique strategies that align with the goals of the RVHI. RVHI programs will serve a diverse range of high school students and adults from underserved and underrepresented populations.

"Many of our students pursue transfer program opportunities or workforce programs that lead directly to high paying jobs.  Through the expertise of our career coach professionals, the RVHI program will help potential students better understand the connection between their educational choices and their career opportunities," said Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, SVCC President.

By investing in rural education, the VFCCE is working with Virginia’s Community Colleges to promote opportunities to pursue higher education and a more equitable Commonwealth.

The SVCC Foundation is a proud partner in the RVHI grant.  SVCC’s approved grant request was in the amount of $100,000; of that total amount, $50,000 is coming from the VFCCE and the other $50,000 must be raised through the SVCC Foundation.

SVCC Announces 2021 Fall Semester Plans

Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) will continue with a full schedule of classes for the fall semester beginning August 23, 2021.  Social distancing restrictions and mask requirements are being lifted for vaccinated individuals, which is in line with the guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While SVCC is not requiring students, faculty, or staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, the institution is strongly encouraging it. 

To give students more options, the college is again taking a “HyFlex” approach to course delivery.  This means class options (depending on the needs of each discipline) may include a mix of in-person instruction, expanded online offerings, and a “Zoom to Home” option.

According to Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, SVCC President, "As we are excited about having some restrictions lifted, we understand that the pandemic is not over; and that is why we are encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations.  The college has been open for limited in-person classes since last August, and now we are eager to welcome more students back on-campus."

The Café on both the Christanna campus in Alberta and the John H. Daniel campus in Keysville will also open back up for the fall semester.  As social distancing requirements are being lifted for vaccinated individuals, SVCC’s student resource centers will now allow more students to utilize the facilities on each campus.

Since the pandemic began in March of 2020, SVCC has complied with guidelines from the CDC for physical distancing, hygiene, and safety.  SVCC’s faculty, staff, & administration has worked diligently to keep its locations safely open for the needs of students; and that will continue.

Now is the time to picture yourself a panther at SVCC and start your educational journey; panther pride, catch it!

Registration for the 2021 fall semester is going on now; for more information, please visit or call (434) 949-1000.

CITE Certifies State Champion

Southside Virginia Community College’s Center for Information Technology Excellence (CITE) recognized Blaise Carter of Palmer Springs for an outstanding performance on the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Excel Exam. Blaise not only earned a Microsoft Office Specialist Certification in Excel; he was recognized by Microsoft for receiving one of the highest scores in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia in 2020. Presenting the “State Champion'' certificate of accomplishment to Blaise is Microsoft representative Jeremy Satterfield, TechSpark Community Engagement Manager. Blaise is a graduate of Park View High School and SVCC. His future plans are to pursue a career in the information technology field. If you are interested in CITE or furthering your Microsoft Office knowledge and skills, contact Crystal Pendergrass, CITE Program Coordinator, at

SVCC Nurse Aide Graduates

Congratulations to the recent graduates of the Southside Virginia Community College Nurse Aide program held at the Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia.  For more information about the program, please contact Erica Randoloph, Site Coordinator and Student Ambassador Advisor, at (434) 634-9358.

Shannon Crawley

Shanece Archie 

Alicia Pegram

Nyesha Pierce

Audrey Johnson

SVCC Partners with SHINE to Develop Innovative Training Program

A collaborative effort between Southside Virginia Community College and the Solar Hands-on Instructional Network of Excellence (SHINE) is working to develop a new short-term training program with the potential to put thousands of unemployed and underemployed people to work in local communities and across the Commonwealth. The program will teach basic skills necessary for entry into the emerging field of utility-scale photovoltaic installation.

“Utility-scale solar projects represent one of the most significant opportunities for Southside Virginia to expand its business base,” says David Peterson, Executive Director of SHINE. “The Virginia Clean Economy Act, which passed last year, gives the state a mandate to meet certain objectives for renewable energy.”

The Act, which passed in 2020 with bipartisan support among Virginia’s citizens, requires the creation of a renewable energy portfolio that will move the Commonwealth toward a clean-energy goal. Solar energy is an important part of this mix, and investments in utility-scale generating capacity are vital to its success. SHINE estimates that utility-scale solar construction through 2028 will bring upwards of 22,550 megawatts of generating capacity to Virginia and create more than 31,000 jobs across the state. Within the counties served by SVCC, 4,000 jobs are expected within the next few years.

Despite these promising projections, Peterson acknowledges some challenges. “The issue is clouded by the politics of renewable energy, but the economic value and job creation value have tremendous direct economic benefit to the community. Solar installation training opens the door for people who want to start careers in energy fields or move forward in other construction-type career paths.”

SVCC’s Vice President of Academic and Workforce Programs, Dr. Keith Harkins, notes, “The partnership between SHINE and SVCC has set the example of how communities can ensure local residents have the skills needed to take advantage of the growing opportunities in the solar industry. Utility-scale solar projects are on the rise in Virginia, and this partnership has created a foundation upon which other communities can build. We are beyond excited about how this partnership will help our students gain entry into this exciting industry.”

The partnership brings the College and future employers together to shape the program. Peterson explains this dynamic, “The industry professionals who will be doing the hiring are also developing the curriculum. They know what they need in future workers. The college knows how to deliver the training.”

Small test cohorts have enabled groups of students and industry partners to provide input and refine the curriculum in a way that will generate a highly targeted, short-duration program. The emphasis will be on the rapid development of entry-level skills needed for immediate employment. Peterson emphasizes the importance of such a focused effort. He says, “People with families and other responsibilities just don’t have the luxury of spending a long time in training. They need to move quickly into an income generating position.”

Program graduates will receive industry-recognized credentials, such as OSHA 10 and SHINE certifications, which affirm their readiness to enter the solar installation field. In addition, SHINE will facilitate job interviews with contractors who are ready to move forward with construction.

Workers seeking to move up the career ladder will have further opportunities. The certifications are designed to be stackable, so people who choose to continue their education, can pursue additional steps leading to such specialties as operations and maintenance. The earned credentials and work experiences are also transferrable. This will enable people who want to pursue opportunities in other renewable energy or building industries to diversify their skill sets. Some people may even choose to pursue exciting opportunities with utility-scale solar contractors who have a presence across the Commonwealth, across the U.S., and even around the world.

Founded in 2018 with a focus on keeping solar jobs and their corresponding economic benefits in-state, SHINE is a public-private partnership representing members of the Maryland-DC-Delaware-Virginia Solar Industries Association, solar developers, construction companies, energy consulting and recruiting firms, and other industry and education experts. Its purpose is to build innovative solar career pathways in Virginia through the development of a qualified, diverse, equitable, and inclusive solar workforce. For more information about this initiative, visit

SVCC is part of the Virginia Community College System. Its service area spans ten counties in rural southside Virginia. The College provides diverse instructional programs ranging from developmental studies to associate degree curricula in academic areas, technical/vocational fields, lifelong education, and workforce development. For more information about education and training opportunities, visit

Effie M. Smith Memorial Scholarship Established at SVCC

Effie M. Smith

Through the generosity of family and friends of Effie M. Smith, Nurse Aide students from Greensville County will be eligible to apply and receive a scholarship.  

This scholarship was established to recognize the dedication to the nursing profession of Mrs. Smith who was a Nursing Assistant for many years.  Nurse Aides play a vital role in the healthcare profession, especially in the long-term care sector.  The compassion nurse aides show to their patients is second to none.  

Nurse Aide students at SVCC will now have a great opportunity for a scholarship because of that same thoughtfulness of the family and friends of Mrs. Smith.

SVCC & G3 – What does it mean for you?

Get Skilled. Get a Job. Give Back Initiative to Make College Possible for Qualifying Students

On March 29, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam signed the “Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back” initiative, or “G3” program bill that will provide $36 million each year, over the next two years, to make program-targeted, tuition-free community college possible for qualifying students.

“Thanks to our legislative leaders," said VCCS Chancellor Glenn Dubois. “We are going to remove the cost to a certificate or degree for jobs that are high in demand. We wouldn’t be here without Governor Northam’s campaign and promise.” 

The G3 initiative aims to target key industries, from health care and information technology to skilled trades, public safety and early childhood education. Data shows that on average, participants in these high-demand degree programs can increase their wages by 60 percent upon program completion.

“Southside Virginia Community College could not be more excited about this G3 initiative and what it can mean for so many in the southside region,” said Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, president of SVCC. “This funding can open the door for career growth and the opportunity for students to receive the training needed for high paying, high-demand jobs.” 

Who is eligible for G3 funding?  Any Virginia resident is eligible if they meet the following criteria:  1) Qualifies for in-state tuition; 2) Has a total household income of less than or equal to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (roughly an income of $100,000 for a family of four); 3) Is enrolled for a minimum of six credit hours; 4) Is enrolled in a designated G3 program; 5) Has applied for federal and/or state financial aid programs.

For a complete list of SVCC programs that qualify for G3 funding please visit:  If you have any questions, don't delay, call today at 434.949.1035.  
We are waiting for your call and eager to help you get started on the path to a high-demand career!

Graduates Serving on the Frontlines

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

Have you recently had a medical appointment? Conducted business online? Needed your electricity restored after storm damage? If so, you may have benefited from the expertise of an SVCC graduate. Our graduates fill frontline positions all across Southside Virginia.

For example, earlier this year, our nursing students helped administer COVID vaccines to 1,500 people. Every year, hundreds of students graduate from our nursing and other allied health programs. The Associate Degree of Applied Science with a major in Nursing (ADN) program prepares men and women to become Registered Nurses. After licensure, RNs fill staffing needs at locations such as physicians’ offices, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, and public health agencies. Graduates of our other healthcare programs, including Practical Nursing, Nurse Aide, Phlebotomy, and Medication Aide, fill specific roles within interdisciplinary teams that serve patients and their families in many settings.

If you or a loved one has experienced an emergency, it may have been an SVCC graduate who rushed to provide assistance. Our programs train emergency medical service technicians at a range of levels from volunteer to professional and from basic to advanced and paramedic. In addition, graduates from our Administration of Justice programs help protect their communities by serving as local and state law enforcement officers and in other public safety roles, such as correctional and security officers.

For many of us, the pandemic increased the need to interact with the world digitally, using home computers and smartphones to access the internet. Graduates from SVCC’s cutting-edge Information Technology (IT) programs stepped up and helped us connect. Although IT workers may not be as visible as the phlebotomist who draws your blood, they have worked tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of colleges, universities, and school systems to develop and maintain the infrastructure that has enabled students and teachers to work together remotely. IT workers also provided the tools needed to keep local businesses up and running. Some IT professionals have supported workers who moved from office locations to their own living rooms, some have deployed systems that kept supply chains open, and others have provided creative solutions to keep entrepreneurs in touch with their customers.

In addition to challenges presented by the coronavirus, last February’s massive ice storm created numerous problems throughout our region. Tree limbs came crashing down. Utility poles snapped. Thousands of homes and businesses lost electrical power. Graduates from SVCC’s Power Line Worker program were among those who came to the rescue and helped restore power.

Although disasters and calamities draw attention to the need for workers in high-profile areas such as these, other tasks of restoring and maintaining normality rest on many shoulders. SVCC works diligently to prepare people for a vast range of careers that support the local economy and enhance our enjoyment of every day. We train the truck drivers who deliver goods; we train the mechanics who repair the trucks. Our HVAC graduates ensure the safety and comfort of people at home and at work. Our cosmetology graduates make sure you look your best.

SVCC is proud of its role in helping people prepare for diverse careers and to take on responsibilities in today’s everchanging society. Please visit the College’s website ( for more information about how SVCC, its students, and alumni contribute to the wellbeing of communities across Southside Virginia.


Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at

Today vs. Tomorrow

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

A popular adage advises, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Mangled comic versions go something like this: “Never put off till tomorrow what may be put off until the day after tomorrow.”

Procrastination seems to touch many of us, at least occasionally. We embrace distractions, avoid doing what ought to be done, and trust future luck to meet needs, oftentimes at the adrenaline-filled last minute.

There is even a holiday recognizing this tendency, National Procrastination Week. In keeping with its theme of putting off tasks, the week can be observed during the first two weeks of March, or at another more convenient time.

I have personal experience with procrastination. I tend to procrastinate when it’s time to shop for Christmas gifts. I convince myself that I might catch the best deals by shopping on Christmas Eve. You can guess how it goes. Items are often sold out, prices are rarely good deals, and lines are long.

I also tend to procrastinate when it’s time to cut the grass. I figure the task can wait. The grass will still be there when I get around to it. Unfortunately, when I succumb to this type of thinking the grass keeps growing. It grows so tall I need to take two or three passes just to get rid of all the clumps.

People procrastinate for many reasons. They put off doing tasks they think they will dislike or that will require more effort than they want to expend at a particular moment. They overestimate the likelihood of feeling more motivated in the future. And, some people avoid attempting anything that may yield imperfect results because they fear failure.

James Clear, author of the bestseller Atomic Habits, offers several tips for overcoming procrastination. One is to make tasks more achievable by breaking them down into small steps, and then taking the first tiny step. He writes, “Once you start doing something, it’s easier to continue doing it.”

At Southside Virginia Community College, many of our students make a similar discovery when they take the first step in pursuit of postsecondary education goals by registering for classes. A current student who is on track to graduate this December explains her own journey: “Even though I attended college right after high school, I never obtained a degree.” She goes on to say, “That started to bother me after a while, but by that time it seemed too difficult to do.”

It wasn’t until her children were grown and her youngest child was attending college that she resolved to stop procrastinating. “I decided it was time. SVCC sounded like the best approach, so I applied, registered, filled out the FAFSA, and requested transcripts.”

At first, she first feared the road ahead. She says she “thought I might not be able to get it all done, but here I am. Everyone at SVCC has been so kind, patient, helpful, and encouraging, and I am so grateful.”

If your education goals include obtaining a college degree, industry-recognized credentials, or other certifications, it’s time to take your first step. Registration for summer classes begins on March 15, and FastForward Credential Programs are available with upcoming start dates. Scholarships are available, and many of the FastForward Credential Programs are “Tuition Free”! So, don’t procrastinate. Visit for more information.


Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at

SVCC Partners with M.C. Dean for Apprenticeship Program


(From left to right): Chris Foster, Instructor of Industrial Technologies, SVCC; David Nelson, Master Instructor, M.C.Dean; and Vincent Brown, Associate Professor of Industrial Technologies, SVCC.

Southside Virginia Community College has partnered with M.C. Dean to pilot an electrical apprenticeship program.

Beginning this spring, M.C. Dean level one employees that are working their way through a four-year apprenticeship program will also become SVCC students.  The apprentices will be able to earn college credit toward an Industrial Electrical Technician Career Studies Certificate.  The program will be housed at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill.

The students will also have the option to apply the credits toward an Industrial Technology Degree.  Vincent Brown, Associate Professor of Industrial Technologies, SVCC; and Chris Foster, Instructor of Industrial Technologies, SVCC; will teach the curriculum for the program.

The curriculum for the program is the NCCER Electrical curriculum.  NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curriculum and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s Registry System that allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals.

David Nelson, Master Instructor with M.C. Dean, recently met with SVCC faculty members to discuss learning outcomes important for their apprentices. 

"M.C Dean is excited about this partnership and the opportunity to recruit local talent.  We want these students to have the best training experience possible, that replicates real world applications," said Nelson.  

M.C. Dean is headquartered in Tysons, Virginia and employs more than 3,700 professionals who engineer and deploy automated, secure, and resilient power and technology systems.  The company has employees currently working at Microsoft's data center in Boydton, VA.  

M.C. Dean designs, builds, operates, and maintains cyber-physical solutions for the nation's most recognizable mission-critical facilities, secure environments, complex infrastructure, and global enterprises. The company's capabilities include electrical, electronic security, telecommunications, life-safety, instrumentation and control, and command and control systems.

Anyone interested in starting the apprenticeship program should contact M.C. Dean at (703) 802-6231.


SVCC Announces 2021 Spring Semester Plans

Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) will continue with a full schedule of classes for the spring semester beginning January 11, 2021. 

The college is taking a “HyFlex” approach to course delivery.  This means class options (depending on the needs of each discipline) may include a mix of in-person instruction, expanded online offerings, and a “Zoom to Home” option.

According to Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, SVCC President, "SVCC's partnership with communities to establish off-campus centers, in addition to our Alberta and Keysville campus locations, is a real benefit to students during this unprecedented time in our history.  Our locations allow the college to offer students the flexibility to utilize classroom space and computer labs, and to access high speed internet; while complying with the appropriate Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines."

While priority for in-person instruction will be performance-based classes and labs that cannot be delivered online, additional seated courses will be offered as room availability allows.

SVCC's Fast Forward workforce programs will be offered in small groups. The college's flexible approach allows for appropriate social distancing, while making alternatives available for those students who do not have adequate high-speed internet at home and, therefore, would not be able to participate in online or at-home Zoom classes.

Aware that the outlook can change at any time, Dr. Johnson stated, "We will remain nimble and adjust, as needed, to remain safe and to better serve students." SVCC's COVID-19 Task Force has a plan in place to pivot to fully remote and online if public health and safety requires it."

Since the pandemic began in March, SVCC has complied with guidelines from the CDC for physical distancing, hygiene and safety.  This will continue for the spring semester as all SVCC locations require face coverings; classrooms are configured to comply with social distancing; and access to facilities is limited.

“As we navigate this pandemic together, we want everyone to know that we are still open for business and remain committed to assisting our students in every way possible,” Dr. Johnson added.

Registration for the 2021 spring semester is going on now; for more information, please visit or call 434-949-1000.

Boar's Head Provisions Donates to Create SVCC Scholarship

Dr. Daryl Minus, Vice President, Enrollment Management & Student Services, Southside Virginia Community College, accepts a donation from Jeff Hoye, Plant Manager, Boar's Head - Jarratt, that will establish a new scholarship fund.

The Southside Virginia Community College Foundation is delighted to announce that it has received a donation from Boar's Head Provisions to establish a scholarship fund earmarked for residents from the counties of Brunswick and Greensville who are enrolled in either business administration/management, science, or general studies with an agribusiness specialization.  The scholarship is designed to encourage interest in pursuing a management trainee position.

Boar's Head Brand was established in the New York City area in 1905.  A family business, the company began with the belief that consumers deserved a better quality ham, than what was available.  

Today, Boar's Head Provisions Co., Inc., is one of the leading manufacturers of premium delicatessen meats and cheeses while remaining family owned and committed to quality.

Southside Virginia Community College is part of new Re-Employing Virginians (REV) Initiative

REV is a new $30 million initiative to support workforce training for unemployed or underemployed Virginians.

Governor Ralph Northam announced on October, 30th that the new Re-Employing Virginians (REV) initiative for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic will provide up to $3,000 in tuition funding to train individuals in a high-demand field at Southside Virginia Community College and other community colleges across Virginia.   

Governor Northam announced that Virginia is allocating $30 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars to help Virginians whose employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis pursue workforce training in a high-demand field. The REV initiative will provide scholarships to eligible individuals to enroll in a workforce or community college program in five essential industries, including health care, information technology, skilled trades, public safety, and early childhood education.

“Virginians who have been furloughed, had hours reduced, or lost a job because of the pandemic are struggling and wondering what the future holds,” said Governor Northam. “Investing in programs that help people develop skills in high-demand fields is a win for workers, employers, and our economy. As we focus on recovering from the impacts of the global pandemic, the new REV initiative will give Virginians the resources they need to get back on their feet and help ensure that our Commonwealth emerges from this public health crisis even stronger than we were before.”

The initiative will provide one-time REV scholarships of $3,000 to register in a qualifying full-time workforce program and $1,500 to register part-time or in a short-term, noncredit training program.

“There has never been a better time than now to start your educational journey at Southside Virginia Community College.  The REV initiative, along with other funding and scholarships available, will allow students that are eligible to incur little or no out of pocket cost for the Spring 2021 semester.  Our belief that everyone should be given an opportunity to acquire an educational foundation that develops and extends their skills and knowledge is part of the college’s mission and this new initiative will help support our mission,” said SVCC President, Dr. Quentin R. Johnson.

“Even with high unemployment rates, many employers are still struggling to find the talent they need in critical sectors,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “The REV scholarships will help close the skills gap between the jobs open and the Virginians in search of a new career path.”

“More than 70 percent of Virginians who have filed for unemployment have some college or less,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “Increasing educational opportunity for those who have recently lost jobs will build resiliency in the Commonwealth’s workforce, equip Virginians with the credentials they need to get back to work, and move Virginia closer to our goal of being the best-educated state by 2030.”

“If you have lost your job, or seen a reduction in your hours and paycheck, Virginia’s community colleges want to help you,” said Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System. “The REV initiative offers you another way into the short-term credential and degree programs that prepare you for a high-demand career. These opportunities will be more affordable than ever before thanks to these grants, and we look forward to helping individuals and families who want to move forward, beyond the unexpected challenges posed by the pandemic.”

Interested individuals should contact SVCC as soon as possible to apply before the December 14, 2020 enrollment deadline. To find out more information and apply, visit:, or call (434) 949-1021.

Careers 4 Women in Technology Summit

Considering a career in technology?  On Tuesday, October 20th from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm, Southside Virginia Community College will be hosting a virtual summit for women interested in pursuing a career in today’s digital world. 

Presenters include:

  • Kat Roney – Network Acquisition Specialist, Microsoft
  • Pepsi Wirth – Chief of Staff, Xbox Compliance
  • Lesley Kipling – Network Cross Functional Team, US Army Future Command
  • Kia Preston – Information Technology Specialist, Southside Virginia Community College
  • Latarsha Walton – Desktop Support Technician, Department of State Foreign Affairs Security Training Center
  • Kristin Puleo – Microsoft Datacenter Academy Scholar, Intern and Datacenter Technician, Microsoft

Learn about the training and skills necessary for in-demand careers!  Panelists will discuss current positions and how they embarked on their career pathways and obstacles they overcame along the way. 

Registration is required by October 15th.  To register or for more information go to or call 434-955-2252.

Southside Virginia Community College Named a “2020 Great College to Work For”

Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) is one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey by The Great Colleges to Work For® program.

The results, released recently in a special insert of The Chronicle of Higher Education, are based on a survey of 221 colleges and universities. In all, 79 of the 221 institutions achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition for specific best practices and policies. Results are reported for small, medium, and large institutions, with SVCC included among the medium colleges and universities with 3,000 to 9,999 students.

Southside Virginia Community College won honors in three categories this year:

 * Job Satisfaction

 * Work-Life Balance

 * Supervisor/Department Chair Relationship

“This is a very satisfying affirmation of Southside Virginia Community College, but our real goal is not recognition – it’s being a community that values the needs and contributions of every individual.  It that sense everyone at SVCC helps to make this a great place to work,” said SVCC president, Dr. Quentin R. Johnson. 

The survey results are based on a two-part assessment process: an institution questionnaire that captured employment data and workplace policies from each institution, and a survey administered to faculty, administrators, and professional support staff. The primary factor in deciding whether an institution received recognition was the employee feedback.

The Great Colleges to Work For® program is one of the largest and most respected workplace-recognition programs in the country. For more information and to view all current and previous recognized institutions, visit the Great Colleges program website at ModernThink, a strategic human capital consulting firm, administered the survey and analyzed the results.

Change Your Future in Weeks

Southside Virginia Community College will offer an 80 hour American Welding Society (AWS) certification program at the Southside Virginia Education Center in Emporia beginning September 28th and running through December 9th.  Classes will be held on Monday and Wednesday nights from 5:00 to 9:00 pm.

According to Dennis Smith, SVCC’s Director of Workforce Development, “These classes are open to anyone interested in gaining this valuable, in-demand skill that can lead to well-paying job opportunities.”

Topics will include safety, general welding shop practice, routine equipment maintenance, metal preparation, OSHA 10, the Gas Metal Arc Welding process (MIG) and more. 

Grants and scholarships are available.  For more information contact Courtney Starke at (434) 949-6614 or visit

Impact Study Highlights SVCC’s Contributions

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

A recent Economic Impact study undertaken by Dr. Vincent Magnini, a researcher at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business in Blacksburg, examined the impact Southside Virginia Community College makes across its ten-county service area and throughout the Commonwealth. The findings identified economic contributions and other social benefits in our local region and beyond. The research emphasized that what makes SVCC different and what makes us special is how we take care of our students, how we take care of each other, and how we contribute to the communities we serve.

SVCC’s statewide economic impact for fiscal year 2019 was estimated at $166 million, of which $147.5 million remained within the counties that comprise the southside service area. Salaries and wages represented part of the total. The college’s work contributed to 877 direct and secondary full-time equivalent jobs, leading to combined incomes of $45 million. Other financial elements represented in the economic impact study included local spending by students and other campus visitors, increased income earned as a result of completed programs of study, and the value of federal, state, and local tax revenues.

Benefits beyond direct economic effects included expanding the workforce training pipeline to attract new businesses, using student-centric initiatives to achieve high satisfaction rates, and preparing transfer students to fill upper-level enrollment gaps at four-year institutions. In addition, SVCC offers opportunities to high school students seeking to earn college credits through the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia, career and technical programs, and other dual enrollment options.

In fact, more than 1,800 high school students earned credits for college courses at SVCC in FY 2019. We appreciate the opportunity to help young adults from our region as they pursue academic and career goals. National statistics suggest that secondary students who earn college credentials graduate from four-year colleges or universities (senior institutions of higher education) within four years at a rate that is twice that of their traditional college-going peers who enroll at four-year colleges and universities directly out of high school. Furthermore, they will spend less on college expenses and accrue less debt.

We are also proud of the accomplishments among students who are the first in their families to attend college. In colleges nationwide, fewer than 33% of attendees are first generation students. At SVCC, 65% of our program completers are first generation college students. By increasing access to education and supporting the success of students from low-income, ethnic minorities, and rural families, we play an important role in improving their employability and earnings potential. These are vital ingredients in efforts to address racial equity and fairness.

SVCC’s strategic plan, “One College. One Mission,” focuses on continual improvement to student experiences and achievements. It also aligns with the Virginia Community College System’s strategic plan “Complete 2020-21,” which emphasizes a tripling of earned credentials across our service area. Our efforts to track, monitor, and document evidence of success toward this goal will bring further clarity to the ways SVCC contributes to the wellbeing of the communities we serve.

The Virginia Tech study also noted SVCC’s regular recognition among honorees in the “Great Colleges to Work For” assessment. SVCC has earned specific distinctions in the categories of job satisfaction, professional and career development programs, and employee relationships with supervisors and academic leaders.

The SVCC family brings strength and passion to accomplishing the college’s mission. As our students and alumni know, SVCC’s mascot is the panther, and our “Panther Pride” continues to energize us in the pursuit of excellence.


Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at

Dr. Daryl Minus Joins Leadership Team at Southside Virginia Community College

Dr. Daryl Minus recently joined the leadership team at Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) as Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Services. 

Dr. Minus came to SVCC from the Marine Corps Community Services (United States Department of Defense) where he was Education Assistant Branch Manager/Education Services Officer.  Prior to that he served as Vice President, Student Services and Enrollment Management, for Cape Fear Community College. 

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Minus to SVCC.  He brings a wealth of experience, an entrepreneurial mindset, an understanding of the challenges of community colleges in rural communities, and an excellent team leadership philosophy to the role.  We look forward to his leadership as we respond to the unprecedented evolving challenges, demands and opportunities facing us,” President Quentin R. Johnson said.

Dr. Minus graduated from Hampton University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.  He earned his master’s degree from New York University in business education/higher education and his doctorate in educational leadership from University of Phoenix. 

“I am thrilled to be part of the SVCC Family,” Minus said.  “I am looking forward to working alongside staff and faculty to impact the lives of students and the communities served by the College."

Flexible with an Emphasis on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion




By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

Southside Virginia Community College will reopen its doors on August 24 with a full schedule of offerings and a range of attendance options that incorporate in-person, online, and hybrid classes. Short-term workforce programs that require hands-on learning will be offered in small groups. We have reconfigured classroom and laboratory spaces to meet social distancing requirements, and in accordance with guidelines, SVCC will require face coverings on campus.

Taking steps to minimize risks while preserving student momentum toward the attainment of education goals is of paramount importance. At this complicated time in our nation’s history, educational offerings at community colleges have never been more important. This is especially true in places like southside Virginia, where historic gaps in opportunity produced enormous impacts on rural and minority communities.

One important means of improving earnings abilities among rural residents and members of racial and ethnic minorities is the attainment of credentials and certifications that are in high demand among local employers. The community college mission incorporates this kind of education, training, and upskilling to help people launch academic journeys, find careers, or get back to work.

Chad Patton, Ph.D., who serves as SVCC’s Dean of Career and Occupational Technology explains, “SVCC has partnered with business and industry to create scholarship opportunities for minorities and low-income residents in specific disciplines. This has worked to remove barriers for students and created more diversity in our classes.” Patton also notes, “Many of SVCC's programs lead to employment with or above family-sustaining wages. I often tell people about the young man who, as a powerline worker, makes more than I do as a college dean.”

At SVCC, we are proud of our efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. We bolster student success through mentoring programs, such as Make It Happen and WISE, and a robust student support system that incorporates tutoring, academic advising, career counseling, and financial assistance.

Diversity in the classroom also demands diversity in staffing. Our goal is to have a college community that is reflective of the communities and students we serve. Keith Harkins, PhD, Vice President of Academic and Workforce Programs is providing oversight for a college-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to develop a plan that will include recommendations, timelines, and measurable outcomes. Bethany Harris, Human Resources Director, is actively involved with the Search Advocate initiative, which will help overcome implicit biases in the hiring process.

Many other local employers are also seeking to increase diversity. As a part of those processes, some who recognize the need to increase the education and training pipeline have partnered with the college to establish scholarship programs that will lead to better equity in their workforce demographics.

In these unprecedented times, however, addressing diversity issues and financial concerns is not enough. SVCC is also working to tackle inequities created by the existing digital divide. To bridge this gap, we and our community partners are making alternatives available for students who do not have adequate high-speed internet at home. At various locations across the college's 4,200-square-mile service area, SVCC’s campuses and off-campus sites will grant students access to computer labs and high-speed internet connections, while still complying with appropriate distancing guidelines.

At SVCC, we care about our students’ health and their success. For more information and for updates about education and workforce training opportunities visit or call 434-949-1000.

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at

SVCC Announces 2020 Fall Semester Plans

Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) will resume a full schedule of classes this fall beginning August 24th. In what the college is terming its “HyFlex” approach to course delivery, class options (depending on needs of each discipline) may include a mix of in-person instruction, expanded online offerings, and a new “Zoom to Home” option.

Instruction will comply with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for physical distancing, hygiene and safety. “While priority for in-person instruction will be performance-based classes and labs that cannot be delivered online, additional seated courses will be offered as room availability allows. SVCC's Fast Forward workforce programs will be offered in small groups.

The college's flexible approach allows for appropriate social distancing, while making alternatives available for those students who do not have adequate high-speed internet at home and, therefore, would not be able to participate in online or at-home Zoom classes.

According to Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, SVCC President, "SVCC's partnership with communities to establish off-campus centers, in addition to our Alberta and Keysville college locations, is a real benefit at this unprecedented time in our history. It allows the college to offer students the flexibility to utilize classroom space and computer labs and to access high speed internet at various locations across the college's 4,200 square mile service area, while complying with the appropriate guidelines."

Aware that the outlook can change, Dr. Johnson says, "We will remain nimble and adjust as needed. SVCC's COVID-19 Task Force has a plan in place to pivot back to fully remote and online options if public health and safety requires it." Dr. Johnson is quick to point out that it will not be business as usual at SVCC. At all SVCC locations face coverings will be required, classrooms have been reconfigured to comply with social distancing, and there will be limited access to facilities.

Times have changed, but SVCC is still open for business and remains committed to assisting our students in every way possible. More information is available at or by calling 434-949-1000.

First Virtual Graduation

By Quentin R. Johnson, Ph.D.

Southside Virginia Community College will celebrate its 2020 graduates during the institution’s first ever virtual graduation ceremony. The event will recognize the excellence of our students and honor faculty and staff commitments in support of student success. Students, parents, families, and community members can tune in from the convenience of their own homes beginning Saturday morning, June 20 at 9:30 a.m. The prerecorded video can be viewed at any time after its release on the college’s website (, through its FaceBook page, and on YouTube.

It has been a year of firsts at SVCC. The 2020 graduating class completed their programs during the first world-wide pandemic in modern times. The virtual graduation ceremony honoring their accomplishments is my first commencement as the college’s President. In addition, SVCC itself is celebrating an anniversary marking its first 50 years of providing educational services to the community. As a commemoration of this anniversary, a time capsule, which will include a copy of the unique 2020 commencement ceremony, will be placed at a campus location.

I am very proud of SVCC’s students, faculty, and staff. They have really pulled together during the past semester’s unusual journey. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives, it has not altered the excitement and enthusiasm we feel about what our graduates have accomplished.

Serving as Faculty Marshal, Dr. Lisa Jordan, Professor of History and Political Science, will open the virtual ceremony. Dr. Michelle Edmonds, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health and Natural Science, will sing the national anthem. Speakers will include Mr. J. Wesley Shepherd, Chairperson of the Local Board and representatives from our college community.

Dr. Keith Harkins, Vice-President of Workforce and Interim Vice-President of Academic Affairs, will have the privilege of bestowing special honors and commendations. Munimah Fulani will receive the Florence Daniel Riepe Kalbacker Leadership and Community Service Award, which is presented annually to a student who embodies the ideals and spirit requisite for community advancement. Harkins will also acknowledge members of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, an organization of scholars that encourages high-achievement among community college students. Other honorees include participants in the Women in Search of Excellence (WISE) Mentoring Program, the Make-It-Happen Program providing support for minority male students, the Student Ambassador Program encouraging emerging student leaders, and the Dual Enrollment partnership with public school systems permitting students to earn high school and college credit at the same time.

The highlight of the ceremony, of course, will be the more than 870 graduates who make up the Class of 2020. Submitted photographs will be displayed as their names are announced. Dr. Dixie Dalton, Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences and Business, Dr. Chad Patton, Dean of Career and Occupational Technology and Dr. Michele Edmonds, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health and Natural Sciences will recognize the individual graduates.

I am so very proud of SVCC’s graduates. They have risen to the occasion and surpassed expectations. Many grappled with and overcame tremendous obstacles to earn their degrees, certificates, and diplomas. A graduation ceremony acknowledges these many accomplishments, and I encourage each student to move forward with a commitment to be change agents that help make our communities, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and this world a better place. Go forth and make a contribution, make a difference. The future belongs to you. 

Dr. Quentin R. Johnson is president of Southside Virginia Community College, an institution of higher learning that provides a wide variety of education opportunities to a diverse student population within a service area that spans ten counties and the City of Emporia. He can be reached via email at

SVCC’s Nursing Program Recognized recently released its list of 2020 Best RN Programs in Virginia and Southside Virginia Community College is at the top!  SVCC’s Christanna Campus program was ranked #1. 

Selecting the best nursing school in Virginia can be difficult according to the organizations website.  When notified by of this amazing recognition, Outreach Coordinator Sally Worthington, said, “After carefully analyzing nursing programs in Virginia, it became apparent that Southside Virginia Community College not only prepares students for success on the national NCLEX-RN certification exam, but equips nurses with the skills they need to succeed in various healthcare settings. 

Southside Virginia Community College offers RN programs at three sites, SVCC’s Christanna Campus, SVCC’s John H. Daniel Campus and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.  All three programs ranked in the top 25 Best RN Programs in Virginia. 

Dr. Michelle Edmonds, Dean of Nursing, Allied Health and Natural Sciences, emphasized this recognition does not come without dedicated faculty and students who work hard to reach their goal. 


Becoming Essential: Southside Virginia Community College Graduates Fill Indispensable Roles

Alberta, VA: Across the Commonwealth of Virginia, people are adapting to new routines as a result of social distancing and other precautions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus. Governor Ralph Northam has asked people to stay at home, and he issued an Executive Order closing non-essential businesses. As a result, many workplaces are empty.

Businesses considered essential are still operating, and Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) is proud that so many of its graduates are faithfully serving the local community by filling essential roles. These dedicated men and women are keeping supply lines open, medical facilities functioning, and information flowing. They include graduates from SVCC’s health programs, including nurses (RNs and LPNs), nurse aids, paramedics, and phlebotomists. They include truck drivers who bring food to local grocery stores and diesel technicians who keep the trucks running. They include Information Technology (IT) workers who keep channels of communication open and permit work-at-home solutions. They include power line workers who keep the electricity flowing, as well as electricians and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) technicians who respond to emergencies. They also include Administration of Justice graduates, who include law enforcement personnel, correctional facility staff members, and other public safety officers.

To keep the education and training pipeline for these vital positions uninterrupted, SVCC itself has had to adapt. In March, the College began moving all classes to online and other alternative settings. In addition, Governor’s School students and other dually enrolled high school students moved to complete their studies via virtual classes.

“Our SVCC faculty and staff are working with our students transitioning to alternative modes of instruction while maintaining our standards of educational excellence,” said Dr. Quentin R. Johnson, SVCC President. “Be assured, SVCC is open—virtually! Faculty and staff are communicating and assisting students to complete class requirements for our spring semester.  Our student services staff is accommodating all students by phone, internet, text messaging, and our website in order to answer any questions, alleviate concerns, and to assist with summer registration.”

SVCC, an open-door institution that is part of the Virginia Community College System, provides higher education opportunities to a diverse student body. Its 4,200-square-mile service region, the largest community college jurisdiction within Virginia, spans ten counties in south-central Virginia. Seated classes are typically held at two main campuses, five off-campus centers, and numerous other satellite sites. During the current coronavirus crisis, distance learning technologies are being used to provide instruction through the college’s existing and expanded online environment. Registration for summer classes is now open. Visit for more information.

COVID - 19 Update from Southside Virginia Community College

In these difficult and unprecedented times, I write to share decisions Southside Virginia Community College is taking based on recommendations from the Governor's Office, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Virginia Community College System, in response to COVID-19.

Alternative Means of  Instruction

For the remainder of the Spring semester, our SVCC faculty and staff are working with our students transitioning to alternative modes of instruction while maintaining our standards of educational excellence.  

College Facilities

Effective March 23rd, all SVCC facilities will be closed to the public until further notice.  

SVCC Sponsored Events/Commencement/Graduation Ceremony 

We deeply regret that following the CDC guidelines, is requiring that we cancel many of our upcoming events including our commencement/graduation ceremony.  Commencement/graduation is our most exciting event as it is a celebration of our students and their accomplishments. The Class of 2020 will always be special as we look back and remember their ability to be flexible, work hard, and complete your spring semester.  

For an up-to-date list of SVCC events and their status please refer to our COVID-19 information page at

SVCC is OPEN----Virtually

Be assured, SVCC is open---Virtually!  Faculty and staff are communicating and assisting students to complete class requirements for our spring semester.  Our student services staff is accommodating all students by phone, internet, text messaging, and our website in order to answer any questions, alleviate concerns and to assist with summer registration.  

Updates and general college communications are posted on the COVID-19 alert at  Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have. Telephone contacts are included in the COVID-19 alert on

Southside Virginia Community College Releases COVID-19 Plan

In an effort to protect the College community and to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19, its spread, and the potential strain on area hospitals and clinics, SVCC will be taking the actions outlined below.  Any guidance we pass along will be interim in nature, using the best information available to us at the moment. As noted in previous communications, we are relying on the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other state and local departments for expert guidance. Southside Virginia Community College is taking the following actions:

  • Classes at all locations are cancelled Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20th. All classes will resume through virtual or alternative delivery starting on Monday, March 23, 2020, and continue until at least Friday, April 3, 2020. Students should check Canvas or contact their professors for class information. Students are expected to check their SVCC email accounts regularly for updates.  Further clarification will be provided next week regarding class delivery after April 3.

    • College operations will be suspended at the following off-campus centers, however employees should report as usual:

      • Estes Community Center--Chase City

      • Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center--South Hill 

      • Southside Virginia Education Center--Emporia

      • Occupational/Technical Center--Blackstone

  • Governor’s School will transition to virtual classes only. The Governor’s School Director will contact all school faculty, staff, students, and school divisions. 

  • All College personnel (Classified Staff, Administrative and Professional Faculty, and Wage Personnel) are expected to report to work on Monday, March 16, 2020 as scheduled, unless on approved leave.

  • All faculty should join a college-wide faculty meeting on Monday, March 16 at 3PM.  Separate email correspondence and Zoom invitation will be forthcoming. 

  • All campus events--both college sponsored and those by outside organizations are cancelled through Saturday, April 4, 2020.

  • Work travel for all College employees is limited to the service area only through Friday, April 3, 2020. 

  • All college-sponsored group travel scheduled through Friday, April 3, 2020 is postponed until further notice. 

  • College services on the John H. Daniel Campus and the Christanna Campus will remain open (Monday – Thursday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

  • College services are also accessible online via MySVCC and Navigate.

  • The John H. Daniel Campus and the Christanna Campus will be closed to facilitate extensive sanitizing and cleaning on Friday, March 20 and 27 and Friday, April 3, 2020. Employees should not report to work these days.

This situation is fluid. College administration is actively monitoring conditions for further developments and responding accordingly. SVCC will provide daily updates at SVCC’s Emergency Operation Plan is available on the College website.

Consistent with CDC guidelines, students, faculty and staff returning from travel to any country for which the CDC has issued a Level 2 or 3 Travel Warning related to COVID-19 should self-quarantine for 14 days.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.


Southside’s Leadership Team is continuing to monitor the situation closely and will keep you informed via email, Southside Alert, our website, and social media outlets if there are additional changes to SVCC operations. 


For additional information visit

SVCC Dean and Local Agritourism Operation to Participate in Virginia Agritourism Conference

Dr. Dixie Watts Dalton, dean of Southside Virginia Community College’s division of Humanities, Social Sciences and Business, and chair of its agribusiness program, will serve as a presenter and moderator at the sixth annual Virginia Agritourism Conference to be held on March 30th through April 1st at the Smithfield Center in Smithfield, Virginia.   Parrish Pumpkin Patch of Kenbridge, Virginia, will be represented on the opening Virginia Agritourism Panel by Jeff and Liz Parrish and son Eli, who is an alumnus of SVCC’s agribusiness program and Virginia Tech’s Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences department. The morning panel on March 31st, immediately following the conference welcome from Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Jewel Bronaugh, will be moderated by Dalton.

Dalton’s April 1st morning presentation, “Building the Business Plan,” will focus on the questions that aspiring agritourism operators should be asking, while also providing insights that can be helpful to existing businesses.  Following her presentation, the Parrishes will share their experiences as they started and expanded the Parrish Pumpkin Patch, providing insights on both what went well and what they could have done differently.

Additional Southside-area connections will be a part of the state-level conference. Lunenburg County native, Heidi L Hertz, who serves as Assistant Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in the Office of Governor Ralph S. Northam, will provide a luncheon keynote address. Hudson Heritage Farm of Halifax County will be showcased during the April 1st sessions.  Owner Denise Hudson, who has hosted SVCC’s agribusiness students at her farm, will present two marketing sessions, one focused on the Barn Quilt Trail and a second on the Veteran Farming/HomeGrown by Heroes initiative.

The 2020 conference, themed “Agritourism in Virginia’s New Economy,” will enable existing and planned agritourism entrepreneurs, economic development staff and local government leaders to explore different facets of Virginia agritourism, a growing industry recently shown to generate more than 2.2 billion dollars in economic impact. Tracks composed of concurrent sessions on a variety of topics have been designed to meet the needs of both beginning and experienced operations.  A highlight of the conference is the numerous networking breaks and networking luncheons that have been built into the programming, with access to exhibitors and resources during those breaks. 

On March 30th, prior to the start of the presentation portion of the conference at the Smithfield Center, farm tours will take place in the adjoining area.  The detailed agenda, with a list of tour locations, is included on the registration site. Visit https://register.ext.vt.eduand search for “agritourism” or visit the direct link:

Attendees can register for each day separately or for the entire conference (at a discounted rate of $150 for all three days). For more information, contact Livvy Preisser of Virginia Cooperative Extension at 757-365-6261 or

The conference is sponsored by Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Virginia Tech, Virginia State University Small Farm Outreach Program, Farm Credit, Virginia Association of Counties, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia FAIRS, Virginia Farm Bureau, USDA Rural Development, Virginia Agribusiness Council, and the Agribusiness Program at Southside Virginia Community College.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, please contact Livvy Preisser at 757-365-6261 during business hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss accommodations at least 5 days prior to the event.  *TDD number is (800) 828-1120.

Governor’s Initiative Key to Increasing Access to Local Jobs

By Jackie Gill Powell, Angeline Godwin, and Quentin Johnson

Get a Skill, Get a Job, Give Back. That is the vision of Governor Ralph Northam’s proposed G3 initiative, designed to support Virginia’s students. If approved by the state legislature in the coming weeks, the plan will open new pathways to success for low- and middle-income Virginians to gain employment in high-demand jobs.

Under the plan, citizens of the Commonwealth will have unprecedented access to gaining the real-world skills and experience necessary to meet the current and projected demands of Virginia’s workforce. This is especially true in our colleges’ service regions, following major economic shifts from Virginia’s former reliance on industries such as tobacco, furniture, and textiles.

The Governor’s proposal is not a “free community college” program, but it does aim to significantly, if not completely, reduce out-of-pocket costs for students. The plan also includes textbook costs and other cost-of-living expenses to further support students and alleviate some of the financial barriers that prevent students from pursuing or completing their education.

Our region of Southern Virginia is witnessing an exciting moment in its history, wherein technological advancements are transforming not only our workforce, but also the way we all live our lives. Ensuring we are prepared to meet the demands of rapid economic innovation is vital to our region’s success.

Virginia’s community colleges are already committed to serving our localities and providing affordable access to academic and professional training opportunities. Governor Northam’s proposed plan will allow us to expand on that commitment and increase access to high-demand training in five key areas: Healthcare, Information Technology and Computer Science, Manufacturing and Skilled Trades, Early Childhood Education, and Public Safety.

Demand for workers in these fields is growing in Virginia. This growth means job security, a steady and sufficient income, and access to healthcare and benefits that will allow our communities to flourish and thrive.

Under the G3 model, our career-oriented training programs have been updated to align with the needs of the modern student. As students progress through G3 programs, they earn industry-recognized credentials which build from entry level skills to advanced. The more credentials that students earn, the more competitive they will become for higher-level jobs. Moreover, if a student needs to work while pursuing their education, they are immediately eligible to apply for jobs in their field with the first credential they earn. This means working students could advance their career and their academics simultaneously. This model provides stackable credentials, meaning that the work students complete for one prepares them for and applies to the work they will complete to earn the next. That will allow students to earn more money as they advance in their chosen fields.

Professionals already in the workforce may enter at their specified level and continue on to earn an advanced credential without starting from the beginning of the pathway. This flexibility is critical to supporting modern students and professionals seeking advanced training.

Our community colleges have partnered with employers to transform programs put skills first and allow students to earn stackable college credentials as they move through their training. This allows a student to start and stop, while working, without losing academic progress along the way to earning an associate degree.

A current community college student, a 48-year-old mother of two studying Early Childhood Education, shared that if a program like the proposed G3 initiative had existed two semesters ago, she would not have needed to take out student loans to cover her tuition and textbooks.

One male cybersecurity graduate, a 43-year-old father and military spouse, did not buy his textbooks because they were too expensive. He often borrowed a classmate’s books to complete homework assignments. The student said, “I was able to make it work but if I could have had a program to help pay for the books, it would have been much easier to pass my classes.”

A welding graduate, aged 31, a single mother who lived with her parents and worked full-time through most of school was awarded federal and state financial aid and also had to take out subsidized loans. By covering her tuition, G3 would have provided the resources needed to reduce her part-time work hours or lower her loan amount.

We wholeheartedly believe in and support the Governor’s G3 initiative and the tremendous potential it offers to our families, friends, and neighbors throughout Southern Virginia. We encourage the General Assembly to consider the impact this program will have on the Commonwealth, and how it will position Virginia more competitively in the areas of economic and workforce development.

Jackie Gill Powell is the president of Danville Community College. She can be reached at or by calling (434) 797-8400.

Angeline D. Godwin is the president of Patrick Henry Community College. She can be reached at or 276-656-0201.

Quentin R. Johnson is the president of Southside Virginia Community College. He can be reached at or 434-949-1004.

Air Jordan


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