Make It...In SoVA Luncheon 2017

On September 29th, regional leaders from industry, workforce development, and education attended Make It…in SoVA where the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) launched its newest workforce training partnership with Siemens Technik Akadmie in Berlin, Germany.

“We’re excited to officially launch our partnership with Siemens Technik Akademie. This partnership, and the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program, will provide a tremendous asset and resource for industries in Southern Virginia,” said Dr. Betty Adams, SVHEC Executive Director.

The Make It…in SoVa launch event highlighted the mechatronics training program, and featured special guest speakers from Berlin, Germany and Carson City, Nevada. Mechatronics combines mechanical, electrical, computer, and software and control engineering to design and manufacture products. Individuals trained in mechatronics are prepared for many successful careers including machine operator, industrial maintenance technician, and electrician.

Lauren von Steuben, Product Manager for Digital Products Division at Siemens AG in Berlin, Germany, and oversees the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program (SMSCP) in 16 countries. She provided an overview of the SMSCP program which provides an internationally recognized certification for individuals trained in mechatronics.

“With the SMSCP, students are able to earn a global certification without leaving Virginia. This is the same certification as students in Canada, Germany, and India,” von Steuben said. “Everything is hands on with 30% theory and 70% practice. The core of the program is hands-on practice and troubleshooting working with real mechatronic systems,” she continued. She described individuals who obtain the Siemens mechatronic certification as being ready to “hit the ground running,” when hired by industry.

According to von Steuben, the SMSCP is vendor neutral and not dependent on Siemens, or any particular, equipment, “SMSCP is a mechatronic skills certification, not a Siemens product certification,” she said.

ITA cohort5 webThe SVHEC's IT Academy (ITA) is now recruiting for classes beginning January 8, 2018. The enrollment period opens on October 12th and ends on December 5th.

The IT Academy offers short-term, hands-on training leading to CompTIA credentials in A+ and Server+. Classroom instruction and online study tools are paired with hands-on activities in a fully equipped repair center and data center that simulates the real world working environment. ITA participants complete the entire core curriculum within four months, and have the training and skills necessary to start, or advance, their career as an IT technician.  

“I chose the IT Academy because the content was right, the schedule was right, and the timing was right to take a huge step towards earning highly recognized industry certifications," said Tina Morgan, ITA cohort 4 completer.

A number of program completers have gone on to work at the datacenters in Clarksville and Boydton, as well as regional school systems and healthcare systems. Individuals who were already employed in an IT career were able to obtain the credentials they needed to advance their careers.

To join Southern Virginia's growing IT workforce, attend an upcoming information session:

  • Thursday, October 12th at 5:30pm
  • Friday, October 13th at 11:00am
  • Thursday, October 19th at 5:30pm
  • Thursday, October 26th at 5:30pm

Information sessions will cover valuable information including the ITA application process, skills learned during training, and available financial assistance. Information sessions are open to the public, but registration is requested. To register for an information session or to learn more about the IT Academy contact Kelly Shotwell, IT Academy program coordinator and trainer, at kellyshotwell@svhec.org, 434-572-5660, and toll free 1-800-283-0098 ext 5660.

 Welding Basics for the At Home Welder Course Back By Popular Demand

Welding Basics for the At Home WelderFlyer Back by popular demand, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s (SVHEC) “Welding Basics for the At Home Welder” will be offered this October. This six-week course provides instruction on safety and basic welding processes including MIG, stick, and flux core welding for the do-it-yourselfer.

“We wanted to offer a non-credential, hands-on training class to individuals in the community who wanted to learn a little bit more about welding for their personal use,” said Scarlett Brandon, program/marketing coordinator for the SoVA Center of Manufacturing Excellence. “We offered the first 
six-week training class this spring, and it was a great fit for everyone,” she continued.

Developed with the recreational welder in mind, no previous welding experience is needed to enroll in the “At Home Welder” course. Classes will meet on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:00am-1:00pm and will be taught by certified Welding@SVHEC instructors. Each participant will have an opportunity to complete a project in class or to bring in a personal project from home.

One of the first individuals to enroll in the first “At Home Welder” course was Denise Hudson, owner of Hudson Farms. “This is a great adult learning program that has provided me with a working foundation on how to safely and productively weld. I loved the hands-on instruction which was perfect for adult learners like me,” she said.

“Welding Basics for the At Home Welder” begins Tuesday, October 24th. Registration is open, and seats are limited.

For more information, or to sign-up for “Welding Basics for the At-Home Welder,” contact Scarlett Brandon at 434-572-5473 or scarlettbrandon@svhec.org.

Will Soyars, Ricky Gordon Complete Mechatronics Training and Earns Highest Level of Siemens approved certification 


Soyars Gordon Receive CertificatesSoVA Center of Manufacturing Excellence (SoVA CME) trainers Will Soyars and Ricky Gordon recently completed the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program (SMSCP) and earned Level 3 certification. With two certified trainers on staff, SoVA CME in South Boston, VA can now offer all levels (1-3) of the SMSCP program.

“The SVHEC is extremely fortunate to have first-rate instructors like Will Soyars and Ricky Gordon. With their newly-earned teaching credentials from Berlin, the SVHEC can now offer regional manufacturers the full complement of SMSCP training, recognized globally as the premier Mechatronics training option,” said Dr. Betty Adams, SVHEC Executive Director.

To earn Level 3 certification, Soyars and Gordon traveled to Berlin, Germany for two weeks of training at the Siemens Technik Academie. With students from around the world, they were placed on teams to design and build an automated system able to heat printed circuit boards.

Level 3 Siemens Certified Mechatronic Systems Professionals are considered experts on complex integrated systems and are able to troubleshoot, repair, and design these systems. The SVHEC is the only institution in the world offering non-credit Siemens Level 3 training and certification.