workready 2018

A new Certified Production Technician credential is now available through the Work Ready Foundations program. Recruitment is underway for this 10-week, hands-on training.

SVHEC Group Photo at Instructional Dynamics Completion Luncheon

The SVHEC and New College Institute (NCI) recently partnered with Averett University to connect their technical trainers to a unique professional development opportunity. 

“We have subject matter experts who are practitioners in the technical areas of our workforce training programs, and we want to help prepare and position them to be highly effective trainers. It is important that we pair technical expertise with exceptional classroom competencies,” said Dr. Nettie Simon-Owens, SVHEC Chief Workforce Development Officer.

Averett University responded to this need by developing and delivering a new 10-week, face-to-face program entitled “Instructional Dynamics for Technical Trainers.” Designed to build classroom competencies for all levels of technical trainers, the program consisted of 30 instructional hours in five core areas: classroom management, learning principles and styles, using technology in the classroom/lab, assessment and planning. 

“We are always thrilled when we have the opportunity to work alongside our partners like the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center and New College Institute on our shared vision of developing a robust and prepared workforce through educational initiatives,” said Averett President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks. “This program was built out of our distinguished Education program, which places many teachers throughout the region’s school systems and will now equip technical trainers to be strong teachers in their content areas of expertise.” 

NCI and SVHEC began piloting the “Instructional Dynamics” program this spring, with individuals attending class one evening a week. SVHEC’s cohort included full-time workforce development staff, selected part-time trainers and several small business owners who will serve as technical training resources for future program initiatives. NCI’s class was comprised of two New College staff members and several full-time employees from industries in the Martinsville/Henry County area.

“The class provided insight into the unique requirements of adult learners as well as practical tips for a purposeful, high quality learning experience. It filled in some knowledge gaps for those of us who do not have an education background,” said Kelly Shotwell, SVHEC IT Academy Program Coordinator and Trainer.

“As a person with an extensive background in manufacturing, I have experienced first-hand the challenges of taking an individual from being a highly proficient machinist, to technical trainer.

These Instructional Dynamics courses will help to make that transition a lot easier and give our industry partners the professional tools they need to develop a high performing workforce,” said Pamela Carter-Taylor, NCI Coordinator of Advanced Manufacturing.

The pilot of “Instructional Dynamics for Technical Trainers” officially ended on June 28 with a luncheon hosted by Averett University. Program participants were recognized, and received completion certificates. “We’re grateful for the partnership and collaboration with Averett University and New College Institute. What has been taught and learned in the modules will help us standardize course materials as appropriate across all of our training programs, and will enable us to prepare our local and regional technical professionals to be better technical trainers,” Dr. Simon-Owens stated.


About Averett University
Since 1859, Averett University has grown and developed into a dynamic institution that serves students of all ages, offering more than 30 undergraduate majors, minors and special programs, along with three graduate programs with a number of concentrations. Dedicated to preparing students to serve and lead as catalysts for positive change, the University’s historic main campus is embedded in the heart of Southern Virginia with regional campuses throughout Virginia and online. Averett enrolls a diverse student body, and boasts an alumni network that spans the globe.

About Southern Virginia Higher Education Center
The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) is advancing Southern Virginia’s economic potential through education, innovation, and collaboration. The SVHEC provides educational access and workforce training, and is focused on re-tooling Southern Virginia’s rural workforce for jobs in the New Economy. For more information visit, call 434-572-5446, or email

About New College Institute
New College Institute (NCI) is one of five higher education centers in the Commonwealth.  As a state agency, NCI partners with colleges and universities, industries, and others to bring select degree programs and training opportunities to Southern Virginia in the areas of advanced manufacturing and engineering, health and human services, technology and cybersecurity, and education and community leadership.  To date we have been responsible for awarding 405 degrees which collectively results in a $154 million impact to our local/regional economy. 


microsoft scholarship july2018

With a mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, Microsoft has reached out to Southside Virginia in a big way. There are 14 current recipients of the Microsoft Datacenter Scholarship making it possible for the students to take classes in Information Technology.

The recipients of these awards were recognized with a ceremony and dinner held at the Estes Community Center on June 11, 2018. The students take classes through Southside Virginia Community College’s Center for Information Technology Excellence (CITE) at the Lake Country Advanced Knowledge Center in South Hill and the IT Academy (ITA) of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston.

In his remarks, SVCC President Dr. Al Roberts said, “Program development in higher education is often a very slow process; but our experience at Southside is that the development process can be accelerated when there is strong industry support.”

He added, “When recruiting students into a new program, there are usually two questions: One – How am I going to pay for the training? And two – Does it lead to a good job with family-sustaining wages? Microsoft has responded to both concerns, first through its Datacenter Academy Scholarship and, secondly, through the possibility of employment in a world-class IT organization. What Microsoft has done is to remove the barriers that often hinder student success and allow students to focus on learning and networking – both IT and social – so that they can succeed.”

Anthony Putorek, Microsoft Global Datacenter Field and Community Program Manager, said, “The effort of these students to go to class, the desire to learn, the hunger to do more fuels us. That is why Microsoft puts in the effort to provide these programs.” In 2010, Microsoft announced their investment in bringing a data center to Mecklenburg County’s Boydton Industrial Park. Now, the company is investing in training Southside people for jobs where IT skills are needed.

“In addition to bringing well-paying jobs to Southern Virginia, Microsoft is empowering individuals through the scholarships to gain the skills required to qualify for these jobs. How wonderful is that!” said Dr. Betty H. Adams, Executive Director of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center.

digitalliteracy1Do you want to become more comfortable with your smartphone or tablet? Do you need an email account, or want to understand Google Docs? If so, then help is here.

This July, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) will host free Digital Literacy Workshops provided by AmeriCorps Member JaQuale Byrd. Byrd is a Halifax County native and student at Virginia Commonwealth University. This summer, he is serving at the SVHEC, and has developed the workshop series.

“We’ve heard from the community that there’s a need for assistance with digital literacy and basic computer skills. Through our partnership with the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research and the Dan River Year AmeriCorps program, we’re able to have JaQuale here this summer to develop and pilot the workshop series,” said Hope Harris-Gayles, SVHEC Associate Director of Communications & Outreach.

The Digital Literacy Workshop Series will kick off on Monday, July 9th with a group session on email and using the Internet. The July 16th class will cover Microsoft Word and Google Docs, and July 23rd will focus on resume writing.
One-on-One assistance and limited evening sessions will be available Tuesday through Friday by appointment. During the one-on-one sessions, Byrd will provide assistance with smartphones, tablets, and laptops. All sessions will be taught in the SVHEC’s Innovation Center at 820 Bruce Street, South Boston, VA.

“I’m looking forward to answering questions and working with the community,” Byrd stated.

For more information on the Digital Literacy Workshop Series or to sign up for a session, call 434-572-5506.


June 2018 Completion Ceremony

“When I graduated from college I didn’t know what I was going to do--I didn’t have the skillset that you all are walking out of here with today.” Deputy Secretary of Education Frances Bradford


Multi Patient Simulation 2018

Staff at the SVHEC's Center of Nursing Excellence (CNE) recently collaborated with Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) health professions faculty to develop a five-hour emergency response simulation. The simulation was called “ER at SVHEC,” and served as the culminating clinical practice event for the 2018 spring semester.

“ER at SVHEC” took place on April 13th, and started with a mock car accident in the SVHEC parking lot. SVCC paramedic students responded to the dispatch call announcing that a child had been hit by a car. Paramedic students quickly evaluated and treated patients on the scene and then arranged transport to the “SVHEC ER”.

The SVHEC-CNE’s five-bed basic skills lab was transformed into an emergency room where the patients from the accident joined several other ER patients. SVCC Nursing students treated and managed an opioid addict, a heart attack victim, and a patient dying of respiratory related issues, all while treating the car wreck victims for their injuries. Throughout the scenario, health professions students of multiple disciplines worked as a team to continuously re-prioritize medical care as patient conditions changed.

“Clinical practice in simulated scenarios give students a chance to practice nursing care for several critically ill patients at a time, all in a safe environment. Participating student evaluations indicate that this simulation activity is an excellent clinical learning experience,” said Ann Bishop, MSN, RN, Associate Director of the SVHEC’s Center of Nursing Excellence.

Bishop worked with SVCC faculty, especially SVCC Simulation Coordinator Billi Jo Wilkinson, MSN, RN, to develop the scenario.

The multi-patient simulation event was held three times in April--once at the SVHEC in South Boston, and twice at the Estes Center in Chase City, VA—so that more than 85 SVCC nursing and paramedic students could have an opportunity to participate.

“It was a great learning experience for the first-year RN students. They haven’t had any emergency exposure, so seeing the multi-patients was a great experience for them. They were also able to see what the 2nd level students were focusing on, so I think they’ll do a whole lot better in their second year because of the exposure they received in this simulation,” said SVCC Nursing Instructor, Melissa Arthur, MSN, RN.

The SVHEC’s Center of Nursing Excellence develops and facilitates clinical simulations for SVCC nursing students per an MOU between SVHEC and SVCC. These simulated clinical experiences count toward Virginia Board of Nursing clinical requirements for program completion and are an integral component in the SVCC nursing curriculum.

To view photos from the ER at SVHEC event visit Video clips of the day may be viewed on the Nursing in Southern Virginia Facebook page at