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Customer, food service added to career studies

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) has added two new career studies certificates to a program designed to train people for jobs in high demand.

The customer service and food service certificates, approved Monday by PHCC’s board, are part of the High-demand Occupational Programs for Employment (HOPE) program.

Established last year, HOPE is a 12-week program designed to help people who lack job skills and experience get the qualifications they need to quickly enter the workforce. Training that participants receive is based on feedback from local employers in regard to needs of area businesses and industries.

An analysis by the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board and input from companies such as YoungWilliams, Faneuil, Hooker Furniture Corp. and ICF International revealed the area has a shortage of residents with basic customer service skills, according to a board report.

Interpersonal and computer skills will be among what students pursuing the customer service certificate will learn, the report indicates.

Basic food handling and preparation skills are among what students aiming for the food service certificate will be taught, the report shows.

Also Monday, the PHCC Board:

• Adopted a $106,760 local funds budget for the new fiscal year that will start July 1.

Of that amount, Henry County is to contribute $57,714, Martinsville is to contribute $19,492, Patrick County is to contribute $16,497 and Franklin County is to contribute $13,057, a report shows.

Most of the local money — $56,760 — is to be spent on maintaining and improving parking lots. Another $25,000 is to be spent on maintaining and repairing “physical plant” equipment, the report shows. That includes such things as air-conditioning, heating, lighting and mechanical devices.

The remaining $25,000 is to be contingency funds, the report shows.

• Learned that the college’s Agricultural Research Center has been growing lettuce and other salad greens with LED lighting.

The center, which was created through $30,000 in grants, is intended to find ways to grow plants using the least energy possible, PHCC officials have said.

John Ayers, associate professor of agribusiness, horticulture and viticulture, said he hopes to be able to find ways to get the greens into the community, such as for use in school lunches.

• Reviewed the college’s accomplishments this year. They include creating various academic programs, buying the Arrington Manufacturing property in the Patriot Centre to expand the motorsports program, creating a campus police department and forming the Patriot Players performing arts troupe, board Chairman Eddie White said.

“We’re looking forward to continued progress,” White said, in terms of whatever the future may hold for the college.

• Found out from Vice President for Institutional Advancement Chris Parker that more than $300,000 in scholarships were provided to students this fall through the Patrick Henry Community College Foundation.0


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