Patrick & Henry Community College has been awarded the Road to Success in Virginia Program (RSVP) grant in Virginia Community College System’s (VCCS) annual renewal process. The program incorporates in-demand, industry recognized, credential-based training, work readiness development, and coaching to assist students with securing self-sufficient employment. The grant award for 2023-2024 was increased approximately $20,000 from the 2022-2023 year to $158,375.77, which will allow the college to serve even more students in its adult workforce preparatory programming.
To be eligible for RSVP grant support, a student must meet 200% of the poverty level and have a child 19 or younger. He/she must complete both Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) and National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) assessments and participate in Moral Reconation Therapy Training to support the development of healthier lifestyle habits so they can simultaneously balance work, school and family at once. Students also complete digital literacy acclimation prior to beginning coursework.
Partners enable students in the program to participate in grant opportunities and additional supportive services they may also have available in addition to the RSVP grant support. P&HCC’s RSVP instructors collaborate with Henry County Public Schools’ adult education staff at Center for Community Learning to provide information for preparatory courses so that students are equipped and ready when they enter the program of interest.
“One of the things I love about this grant is that it gives us the opportunity to really embrace our relationship with our partners. Robbie Knight with West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board provides experiential learning and career opportunities for our students and Martha Bowman with VA Career Works provides additional supportive services and refers students interested in skilled trades, phlebotomy, Nurse Aide, and Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) programs. The collaboration with community partners is essential to enhancing students’ success,” said Shelira Morrison, P&HCC’s Director of Workforce Development.
Program participants attend an annual orientation to gain a clear understanding of what to expect from courses and the supports available to them as they complete their courses of study. Workforce team members recently celebrated the success of a CCMA student who successfully completed the course but did not successfully achieve the credential. Following additional advising sessions and an additional class, the student was able to earn the credential and secured a position making $19 per hour – one of the highest salaries for CCMA program completers.
“Our program students have access to supportive services that make a difference. Gas cards, grocery support, and car repair are just some of the ways we are able to assist them as their studies. It is astounding the level of support we are able to provide our students. Whatever the challenge is, we are prepared to take a look at the need on a case-by-case basis and provide assistance to address the barriers students experience so that we can make sure students who get into a program stay in,” said Morrison.