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The SVHEC will host the Governor's Chief Workforce Development Advisor, Megan Healy, for a discussion on the development of the skilled trades workforce in Southern Virginia.

Mechatronics and Welding Trainees PicturedBecome a certified welder or mechatronics technician in less than a year! Attend an information session about these hands-on training programs to learn more.

Custom PC Trainer for IT Academy Trainees

A custom training tool is now available to IT students and trainees in the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s (SVHEC) IT Academy and Southside Virginia Community College’s Center for Information Technology Excellence (CITE).

Engineered and built by the SVHEC’s R&D Center, the “Exploded PC” trainer exposes the internal components of a personal computer (PC) so trainees can see how each component works in driving the machine. As trainees replace parts or unplug components, they’re able to see the immediate effects of their actions, giving them a better understanding of how a PC operates.

Having a strong understanding of the parts and functions of a PC is a fundamental skill for technicians, and is heavily tested on the CompTIA A+ certification exam. Currently there is nothing like this trainer on the market, giving IT Academy and CITE trainees a unique hands-on learning experience.

The “Exploded PC” is a collaborative effort between SVCC who funded the project, SVHEC’s R&D Center who engineered the trainer and produced the custom parts, and the SVHEC’s IT Academy staff who tested the prototype and provided guidance on how to enhance its usability. The partners plan on continuing to refine the trainer, and eventually produce a smaller version that can be taken on the road to college and career fairs.

For more information about the SVHEC’s IT Academy or R&D Center visit or call 434-572-5446.

brian jackson webBrian Jackson, Ph.D., has joined the staff of the SVHEC as the new Director of Workforce Training Programs. Dr. Jackson will oversee the SVHEC’s hands-on, credential based training programs, and brings more than two decades of experience in workforce development, industry training, and employer engagement to the position.

“We are excited to have Dr. Jackson join the SVHEC and especially the Workforce Development division. He will be responsible for helping the SVHEC continue to sustain and grow our short-term workforce training programs that address immediate and projected employer needs,” said Dr. Nettie Simon-Owens, SVHEC Chief Workforce Development Officer.
Dr. Jackson was raised in Buffalo, New York, but has been a Virginian for 25 years, most recently residing in Prince George, Virginia. After completing high school, he honorably served in the United States Air Force for six years. Dr. Jackson went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Averett University, and a Master’s degree in Education from Capella University.

While pursuing his graduate studies, Dr. Jackson went to work with General Colin Powell’s Promise program, becoming one of the first American Promise Fellows. This prestigious fellowship provided him with an opportunity to work with the Newport News School System’s Aviation Academy, where he worked with high school juniors and seniors to train and transition them into the workplace as Aircraft Mechanics with Delta Airlines. This experience provided Dr. Jackson with his first taste of technical training, and sparked a lifelong love of workforce development. Dr. Jackson went on to work as an industry trainer for companies in several sectors including healthcare, telecommunication, and business systems.
After a number of years in industry, Dr. Jackson, accepted an instructor’s position with Fortis College (Richmond, VA campus) teaching Psychology, Sociology, and Medical Ethics. He quickly rose through the academic ranks as he was promoted to the positions of program lead, department head, and finally Dean of Education. It was during this time that he also completed his doctoral studies, earning a Ph.D. in Human Behavior from Capella University.

After serving as dean for two years, Dr. Jackson returned to his technical training roots, joining the Naval Education Training Command in Virginia Beach, VA, where he was part of an elite team tasked with evaluating and restructuring naval training for a group of enlisted sailors. He went on to join the Community College Workforce Alliance as a part-time instructor and later as Program Coordinator for the John Tyler region. As Program Coordinator, he worked closely with employers and two school systems to develop programs to meet the workforce training needs of the community.

As SVHEC Director of Workforce Training Programs, Dr. Jackson will oversee operations of the SVHEC’s successful workforce training programs which include the IT Academy, HVAC@SVHEC, Mechatronics, and Welding@SVHEC. He will also direct the agency’s customized training efforts and engagement with regional employers.

For more information about SVHEC Workforce Training Programs visit

brian ball The Honorable Brian Ball, Secretary of Commerce and Trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia, will serve as the guest speaker for the SVHEC's spring Workforce Training Completion Ceremony. The ceremony will be held at the Prizery on Wednesday, May 15th at 6:00pm, and will recognize individuals who have successfully completed SVHEC Workforce Training Programs.

“We are honored to have Secretary Ball serve as guest speaker for our spring Workforce Training Completion Ceremony,” said Dr. Betty H. Adams, SVHEC Executive Director. “Under Secretary Ball’s leadership, Virginia’s Commerce and Trade agencies have been focused on four key initiatives: Economic Development, Broadband, Energy and Workforce Development. We look forward to showing Secretary Ball how the SVHEC is contributing to the plan to make Virginia the leading state in workforce development programs,” Adams stated.

As Secretary of Commerce and Trade, Sec. Ball has oversight of 13 agencies including Virginia Tourism Corporation, Virginia Employment Commission, and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Commonwealth’s primary tool for recruiting and expanding businesses.

Appointed to the secretariat by Governor Ralph Northam in 2018, Sec. Ball has guided the Department of Commerce and Trade through a period of steady growth. Since his appointment, Virginia was selected as Amazon’s second headquarters, Microsoft announced its sixth expansion of the Boydton datacenter, and Danville manufacturer Essel Propack announced an investment of $31.2M and the creation of 45 new jobs.

The SVHEC’s Workforce Training Completion Ceremony will recognize successful completers of SVHEC Customized Training, IT Academy, Mechatronics, and Welding@SVHEC. The public is invited to attend the May 15th ceremony; RSVPs to are required.

For more information on SVHEC Workforce Training Programs visit or call 434-572-5473.

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