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PHCC to add programs

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Students at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) can pursue two new academic credentials.

A career studies certificate in advanced manufacturing and an associate degree in general studies: performing arts specialization were unanimously approved Monday by the PHCC Board.

The advanced manufacturing certificate is designed to help meet demands of “an emerging technical workforce,” a document states.

The 28-credit program is designed for students to complete in roughly a year, officials said.

Courses pertaining to industrial safety and processes, quality assurance and manufacturing, and performance films technology are included in the program.

Two local companies — Eastman Chemical and Commonwealth Laminating and Coating, which Eastman plans to acquire — make performance films.

Rhonda Hodges, PHCC’s dean of workforce development and continuing education, said the idea for the certificate came from ongoing discussions with the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. and local industries, based on their needs.

The certificate is geared to help people become equipment operators and technicians, Hodges said.

She said the next steps for people earning the certificate could be earning an associate degree in engineering from the college and then moving on to advanced manufacturing programs at the New College Institute (NCI).

The new associate degree is intended to help students explore pursuing careers in the performing arts. Courses are designed to be transferable to four-year colleges and allow students earning the degree to transfer as juniors, according to a board report.

Five courses related to the theater and acting will give students 12 credits toward a minimum of 60 credits required for the degree, the report shows.

There is much interest in the performing arts locally due to the popularity of programs such as the TheatreWorks Community Players, said board member Lillian Holland of Henry County.

PHCC has its own performing arts troupe, the Patriot Players.

Also Monday, the PHCC Board postponed selecting an investment manager due to a lack of responses to a request for proposals (RFP).

In October, the board adopted a policy enabling the college to invest some of its local funds to generate more operating revenue.

The Virginia Community College System is encouraging such investments.

Stifel, a local brokerage and investment banking firm, submitted the only response to the RFP. The firm quoted the college a fee of 0.63 percent of amounts invested, according to Jack Hanbury, PHCC’s vice president of financial and administrative services.

The fee is “reasonable and competitive with current market rates,” and Stifel is “well-qualified to manage” the funds, a board report stated.

However, college officials want to try to get more responses to the RFP before proceeding in investing funds, Hanbury said.

The board also learned that the college is close to hiring a new men’s soccer coach, according to Athletic Director Kathleen Brown.

The previous coach, Scott Haywood, stepped down in January after a little more than two years on the job and now is living out of state.


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