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VGCC announces free Small Business Summit with holiday focus

The Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center has scheduled its sixth annual Small Business Summit for Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., at the Lake Gaston Lions Club in Henrico. Entitled “Making the Holidays Pay Off,” the free event is designed to help local businesses plan ahead for the upcoming holiday season with innovative marketing practices.

CenturyLink is the presenting sponsor for the event. Local partners helping VGCC to organize the summit are the Chamber of Commerce of Warren County, the Warren County Economic Development Commission and the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.

Business representatives and interested members of the community are invited to attend. Registration is now open at tinyurl.com/holiday-summit.

The day starts off with registration and networking with attendees and vendors at 8 a.m. The first hour-long seminar will be “Shop Local — Buy Local — Invest Local to Gain More Business for You and Your Area” at 8:30 a.m. Presenter Martin Brossman will help participants get the most out of a “Shop Local” program, including the use of social media.

“Holiday Event Planning for the Small Business Owner” follows at 9:45 a.m. with Lisa Gingue of Vino Oasi in Stem. Gingue will discuss planning events that attract holiday shoppers.

At 11 a.m., Brossman will present “Take Photos like a Pro to Get More Business with Your Social Media.” This session covers the basics of low-cost photography techniques to attract more customers with social media and web marketing.

The keynote presentation, from noon until 1 p.m., will be “Get Social! Grow Your Business!” with Kristen Baughman and Stacey Price Sprenz, both of Raleigh-based Tabletop Media Group. Baughman, the founder of the agency, and Sprenz, a photographer, will teach attendees how to take their social media to the next level using photos and videos. They will offer a few tips and tricks on how to promote participants’ businesses and unique holiday offerings to media outlets and social influencers in their community. Tabletop Media Group is a boutique agency serving clients in the food, beverage, agriculture and lifestyle industries.

Lunch will be provided free of charge to the first 100 registered participants by CenturyLink. For more information, contact VGCC Small Business Center Director Tanya Weary at (252) 738-3240 or [email protected].

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VGCC instructor graduates from leadership program

Dr. Kambiz Tahmaseb, a Biology and Chemistry instructor at Vance-Granville Community College, recently graduated from the North Carolina Community College Leadership Program (NCCCLP). He is one of approximately 35 community college faculty and staff members from across the state who completed the program this year.

The six-month leadership program, which includes face-to-face instruction at various locations, provides preparation and training to develop future community college leaders. The program is highly experiential in nature, and, this year, participants worked in teams to address challenges at hypothetical community colleges. They became involved in every aspect of those colleges, from naming and branding to strategic planning.

In addition to strengthening their leadership skills, NCCCLP participants learn about the structure and governance of the community college system, enjoy opportunities for networking, and form a diverse pool of qualified educational leaders.

“The major lesson I learned from the program is that leadership is not about being the president of a college, or a company or a nation,” Dr. Tahmaseb said. “Leadership happens in every level of our lives. In the NCCCLP, I learned a lot about myself, and how I interact with others, both in my private life and professional life, and how those interactions affect how I may influence those individuals. The lessons I learned will help me as a husband, father, teacher and colleague.”

A resident of Durham, Tahmaseb earned bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemistry at Willamette University in Oregon and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science at Wright State University in Ohio. He was also a postdoctoral research associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tahmaseb joined the VGCC faculty in 2012 and has taught both face-to-face and online science courses, spending most of his time at the college’s South Campus near Creedmoor. He is also currently serving his second term as the elected vice president of external affairs for the North Carolina Community College Faculty Association.

The North Carolina Community College Leadership Program was created in 1989, under the auspices of the state chapter of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges, to provide an interdisciplinary approach to leadership training through professional development. Graduates have used the skills and connections gained from the program to be more successful leaders in all areas and at all levels in the North Carolina Community College System.

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VGCC to hold Bone Marrow registration events

Vance-Granville Community College, in partnership with the Project Life Movement, is planning a three-day, three-campus bone marrow registration drive in October.

Members of the community are invited to join VGCC students, faculty and staff at one of the events being held on three of the college’s campuses: Tuesday, October 3, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the seminar room (G1131) on South Campus, located between Creedmoor and Butner; Wednesday, October 4, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the student center/lounge in Building 2 on Main Campus in Vance County; and Thursday, October 5, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the multi-purpose room on the Franklin County Campus near Louisburg. 

At each event, participants will have their cheek swabbed to provide DNA that will enter a growing bone marrow donor registry. The painless registration process takes only a few minutes, but could save a life if a participant turns out to be a match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant. Such treatments are the only hope for many people diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and other blood cancers and diseases. Around 60 percent of those in need of a donation currently cannot find a donor match, according to Project Life, a national movement that started with students at Davidson College and has spread to more than 25 other schools. VGCC first held a college-wide bone marrow registration event with Project Life in the fall of 2015.

Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 60 and in good health to be on the bone marrow registry.

Taking the lead on this initiative at VGCC are students in the Radiography program.

For more information, contact Radiography Clinical Coordinator/instructor Stacey Soles at (252) 738-3515 or [email protected], or Ann Henegar at (704) 299-6310 or www.projectlifemovement.org.

Anyone who is unable to attend one of the VGCC events but wants to join the bone marrow registry can find more information at www.deletebloodcancer.org.

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VGCC invites community to Manufacturing Day

Vance-Granville Community College will hold a “Manufacturing Day” celebration on Thursday, Oct. 5, from 8:30 to 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County. Job seekers and students are invited to attend and to learn more about manufacturing and related careers.

Local manufacturers and equipment vendors will provide demonstrations and information highlighting their products and their employment opportunities. Attendees will learn about career options in the region’s industries and the technical skills required to succeed in such careers.

Participants are set to include Altec of Creedmoor, Boise Cascade of Roxboro, Glen Raven of Norlina, Mars Petcare of Henderson, CertainTeed of Oxford and Carolina Sunrock of Butner, among others.

Representatives of VGCC technical programs, including those that provide education and training related to advanced manufacturing, will also be on hand. These include curriculum programs in Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology, Automotive Systems Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology, Mechatronics Engineering Technology and Welding Technology. VGCC’s Admissions and Financial Aid departments will also have representatives there. Attendees will also be able to learn about the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP), a four-year program that leads to a student obtaining an associate degree at a community college and paid, on-the-job training at a participating employer.

Event organizers hope to develop a pipeline of highly trained and skilled employees. “VGCC and industry partners are working together to address the skills gap, connect with future generations, and educate them about the outstanding opportunities that manufacturing careers can provide,” said Ken Wilson, project manager for the TechHire grant at VGCC, which supports advanced manufacturing training and information technology training.

The VGCC event is one of many across the country celebrating National Manufacturing Day (also known as “MFG Day”). The annual observance was established by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Institute (MI), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

For more information, contact VGCC Academic & Career Coach Tiffani Polk at [email protected] or (252) 738-3291.

Five VGCC Students Participate in Signing Ceremony for Apprenticeship Program

Five students from Vance-Granville Community College were among a dozen who committed to participate in the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP) at a signing ceremony in Wake Forest on Wednesday, Aug. 16.

The students are now apprentices with eight industries in Granville, Franklin and Wake counties as they finish high school and earn their associate’s degrees at either VGCC or Wake Technical Community College. VGCC students Baylor Chapple and Sebastian Hughes, both of Louisburg, will be working at CaptiveAire in Youngsville, Xavier Durham of Warrenton with Dill Air Controls Products LLC in Oxford, and Zach Willey of Raleigh and Micah Peters of Youngsville with Revlon Inc. of Oxford.

Working through Wake Tech, the signees and the other companies were: Spencer Downing, Accu-Fab Inc. of Raleigh; Ben Elkins and Rhett Keaton, Bühler Aeroglide Corp. of Cary; Daniel Benson, Schmalz Inc. of Raleigh; Brennan Burns and Reily Rhoades, Schunk Intec Inc. of Morrisville; and Nathaniel “Nate” Corl, Superior Tooling of Wake Forest.

Parents of the apprentices and employers from the participating industries joined the students on stage for the signing ceremony as each made a commitment to follow the program. 

“We are grateful to NCTAP for providing the leadership to foster the collaboration between public and private partners that makes this effort successful,” VGCC President Dr. Stelfanie Williams shared with the students, their parents, industry representatives and guests at the dinner and ceremony in the Wake Forest Renaissance Center.

“Apprenticeship is a proven strategy to close the skills gap and meet the workforce needs of industries while at the same time making education more affordable for promising young students,” Dr. Williams added. “To our apprentices, the benefits of this wonderful program are nothing short of life-changing, and that’s why we are so excited to be an educational partner for NCTAP.”

“To our new apprentices, I want to extend congratulations and a warm Vanguard welcome, on behalf of Vance-Granville,” Dr. Williams added. “You are truly ‘Vanguards,’ because you are leaders and pioneers, and you will lead the way for many more apprentices in the future. You will also develop into leaders for your industries.”

NCTAP is a partnership that seeks to provide new opportunities for local students and to prepare a skilled workforce. Typically starting in the junior year of high school, NCTAP is a four-year program that leads to a student obtaining an associate degree at the community college and paid, on-the-job training at the participating employer. Eligible students’ tuition is covered by a waiver from the state of North Carolina. After they graduate from high school, students in the program will be employed full-time by the company.

“Apprenticeships are not exactly what people think they are,” said Marc Bertoncino of Bühler Aeroglide, chairman of NCTAP and master of ceremonies for the event. “This is a very beneficial program for the companies. This is a very beneficial program for young people starting their careers.”

Dr. Stephen Scott, president of Wake Tech, cited the importance of apprenticeships, internships and cooperative education in “bridging the skills gap,” adding, “Parents, we want to tell you that your kids are going to have a job for the next couple of years. They are going to graduate from either Wake Tech or Vance-Granville Community College. And they will have a good paying job and zero debt when they come out (of college). They will have the opportunity to further their education even beyond where this program takes them. So that is a win-win for everyone in this room.”

Bertoncino praised N.C. Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, for his help in getting legislation changed to boost the apprenticeship program. Whereas companies previously had to pay the state to have an apprentice, Barefoot helped enact legislation that now has the state providing reimbursement for tuition.

“There are apprenticeship programs across the state of North Carolina, but this particular group (NCTAP) has played a really important part in where apprenticeships are today,” Barefoot said. “This continued growth and expansion reaching into new communities will ensure that NCTAP remains the model apprenticeship program for the State of North Carolina.” He added, “Apprenticeships are the key to a successful future for the manufacturing industry of our state.”

Also speaking were Kathryn Castelloes, apprenticeship director for the N.C. Department of Commerce, and Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones. Robbie Earnhardt, owner of Wake Forest-based Superior Tooling and former chairman of the apprenticeship program, was recognized by Bertoncino for his vision, leadership and passion in guiding and promoting NCTAP. In attendance also were representatives of the offices of U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC.

Representing VGCC’s NCTAP participating industries were Chris Clough and Cindy Walsh of CaptiveAire, Stephen Tsotsoros and Vanessia Alvarado of Dill Air Controls, Sean Anderson and Pat McKinney of Revlon, and Shaler Chewning of Glen Raven in Norlina. The latest industry to join NCTAP, Glen Raven will be taking its first interns in the coming year. Also present from the VGCC TechHire program were Ken Wilson, project manager, and Tiffani Polk, academic and career coach.

All schools participating in NCTAP can send students to the educational partner institution that best meets the needs of the industrial partner, Wilson said.

VGCC scholarship endowed by family in memory of parents

A new Vance-Granville Community College scholarship has been endowed in memory of Robert and Elizabeth Williford by their children. The Willifords were well-known as the longtime owners and operators of the Oxford Ace Hardware store. Their four children, Elizabeth Dale Williford of Indian Beach/Salter Path, Rob Williford II of Oxford, Dot Williford Wilson of Chapel Hill and John Williford of Oxford, along with Rob’s wife, Lori, and John’s wife, Teresa, recently gathered at VGCC to celebrate the creation of the new scholarship.

The Robert T. “Buster” and Elizabeth Brent Williford Memorial Scholarship will be awarded at the Presidential Merit Award level. In awarding the new scholarship, preference will be given to students from Granville County and to those who are enrolled in VGCC’s Accounting and Business Administration programs.

Buster Williford died in 2011, and his wife, also known as “Betty B,” in 2013. Both were Granville County natives and members of Oxford United Methodist Church.

The Williford children remembered their father as intelligent and “self-taught,” but lacking much formal education. “Daddy didn’t go to college,” Rob Williford said. “Education was important to him, in part because of his lack of it. He always told his children to get an education because it’s something nobody can take away from you.” Dale Williford likewise recalled that her father always instructed his children and grandchildren, “Think, think, think.” After rising to become vice president of McCracken Oil in Henderson, Williford went into a new business venture by purchasing the Oxford Ace Hardware store from a neighbor in 1974. John and Rob Williford bought the store from their parents in 2001. The business is a longtime supporter of the VGCC Endowment Fund Golf Tournament and is the oldest continuously-operating Ace Hardware store in North Carolina.

“Betty B,” born Elizabeth Brent Mayes, attended Greensboro College for one year. She became her husband’s constant companion in life and in business, as the co-owner of the store and creator of its “Bridal and Gift Shoppe” section. Her children recalled that she was an excellent bookkeeper and that their parents formed “a great team.” “They worked hard, but they put family first,” said Dot Williford. “Momma supported and worked closely with Daddy. She was always right there beside him.”

“I think that our parents would be proud of us for helping people to further their education,” Rob Williford added.

“We are thankful to the Williford family for supporting VGCC students through this scholarship that honors the legacy of a remarkable couple who were active in the community while raising four children and growing a landmark local business,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC. “The scholarship will help students for years to come who are gaining the education they need to achieve success in business.”

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 8,800 scholarships to students since 1982. Scholarships have been endowed by numerous individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college’s faculty and staff. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business or industry with a lasting gift to education. For more information about the Endowment Fund, call (252) 738-3409.

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Granville County to hold Business & Industry Appreciation Day

The Granville County Economic Development department, in partnership with the Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center and the Granville County Chamber of Commerce, is planning this year’s “Business & Industry Appreciation Day.” The annual event is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 4-6 p.m. at the Granville County Expo & Convention Center, located at 4185 Highway 15 South in Oxford.

For local businesses and industries, the event is not only a networking opportunity but also a chance to learn more about services and resources that are available to assist them. Organizations, agencies and businesses that provide services to a business (such as lending or education/training) are invited to set up a table to share information with those in attendance. For information on reserving a table, which is free of charge, contact Lynn Cooper at the Granville County Economic Development department at (919) 693-5911 or [email protected].

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. A brief program, including remarks to recognize the important contributions made by local employers, will take place at 5 p.m.

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VGCC offers Fall Mini-Term classes

Although the Fall 2017 semester at Vance-Granville Community College is underway, there are still opportunities to register for a variety of classes offered during “mini-terms.” These sections start later during the semester, but end on Dec. 11, at the same time as the full 16-week courses, and they include just as many hours of instruction as under the traditional schedule.

The Fall 12-Week Mini-Term begins on Tuesday, Sept. 12. The complete list of courses is available by visiting schedules.vgcc.edu and clicking on the printable “Fall 12-Week Mini-Term” schedule.

VGCC has scheduled more than 30 curriculum classes on the 12-week schedule. Most are online, while others are offered in a hybrid format that combines online and traditional on-campus instruction. The courses include not only College Transfer general education courses in subjects such as English, Humanities, Sociology or Spanish, but also courses required for associate degrees such as Paralegal Technology.

Certain 12-week Criminal Justice courses are scheduled through the “Vanguard Online Learning through Technology,” or VOLT, initiative, which allows students to complete an entire associate degree online.

There are also a few courses offered during the Second 8-Week Mini-Term, which starts Thursday, Oct. 12.

Not only current VGCC students, but also new students are welcome to enroll. New students will need to complete a VGCC application for admission first. Financial aid is available for qualified students. For more information, contact the VGCC Financial Aid Office at [email protected] or (252) 738-3280.

For registration information, visit the Student Learning & Success Center on any VGCC campus or call (252) 738-3330.

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Students complete VGCC Summer Bridge program

A group of 18 incoming first-year Vance-Granville Community College students recently completed the college’s “Summer Bridge” program in preparation for the fall semester.

Summer Bridge is a three-week program designed to enhance students’ transition from high school to college and prepare them to be successful during their freshman year at VGCC. On July 28, the college held a ceremony and reception to recognize students who successfully completed the program, including: David Fabian Garcia of Creedmoor; Kaeson Mayfield of Durham; Ariana Aguirre, Kamaric Harrison, Samantha Hernandez, Kalin Jackson, Heidy Reyes Morosumi, Shadi Nagi, Jeremee Silvers and Brittany Simms, all of Henderson; Lastacey Burwell of Kittrell; Amber Newton of Louisburg; Daniel Brown, Connor Elm, Chance Kiser, Khari Parker and Nicholas Sutton, all of Oxford; and Summer O’Brien of Roxboro. 

VGCC Academic & Career Coach Sherri Alston served as the primary instructor for the program. At the ceremony, she said that the group had fun with creative, hands-on activities as they became oriented to the college and learned about campus support resources. “I’ve been blessed to see how you all have grown even in a little, three-week span,” Alston told the assembled students.

The class nominated Heidy Reyes Morosumi and Khari Parker to speak on their behalf during the ceremony. “Through Summer Bridge, we have met new people, we have made new friendships and we are now more ready to start college than we were three weeks ago,” Reyes Morosumi said. “Thanks to Summer Bridge, we have learned what we need to do to in order to be successful in college.” She said that participants would benefit from the study tips, time management tips, financial tips and advice on how to relieve stress that they had received. Parker described Summer Bridge as “an awesome experience,” adding, “These three weeks have been a truly great way to start our college transition. Ms. Alston has been our first college instructor and a great mentor.”

VGCC Academic Skills Center Coordinator Jason Snelling and Assistant Coordinator Tim MacNeil also addressed participants and their family members at the ceremony, about the “academic enrichment” component of Summer Bridge. They called upon Jermee Silvers and Summer O’Brien to talk about their experience, which included lessons on critical thinking skills, writing essays and tackling word problems in math. “Tim and Jason taught us a lot of ideas in these three weeks that I will use in the future at Vance-Granville,” O’Brien said. “The most interesting thing we did was have a debate on defining what a sandwich was,” Silvers recalled. “We also learned about the importance of communication as a two-way street.”

VGCC Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Levy Brown offered remarks in which he congratulated the students. “You are now prepared to be successful here as a new VGCC Vanguard,” Brown said. “As you move forward, it’s important that you have a plan and that you have a vision.” He said that for some, their vision would be to graduate and go on to a four-year university, while for others, it would be to graduate and go directly into the workforce. “Vision causes individuals to excel in life,” Brown told the students. “If you have a vision, you know where you are going, you have developed a plan, and you will excel. Vision causes you to see years ahead. You all are our future. So write down your vision of where you want to go.”

VGCC Dean of Enrollment and Outreach Jeffrey Allen concluded the program by saying to the students, “Welcome to the VGCC Vanguards family.” For more information about the Summer Bridge program, contact Allen at [email protected] or 252-738-3405.

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Guest speakers discuss home health careers with VGCC Nursing students

Vance-Granville Community College Practical Nursing students recently learned more about the home health career field from representatives of Well Care Home Health, who visited the college’s Main Campus in late July.

The company, based in Wilmington, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. “Well Care is a unique company in providing home health,” Clinical Coordinator Mary O’Shea, a registered nurse, told the students. “It is an independent, family-owned business that is not affiliated with a major hospital, and it’s one of the few five-star-rated quality home health agencies in the state.” O’Shea said Well Care has grown dramatically over the years and now serves 42 counties in North Carolina, including the VGCC service area. “It’s awesome to be part of an organization that strives for excellence all the time,” O’Shea added. 

O’Shea said she could identify with the students, who were close to graduating, recalling that she graduated from the Watts School of Nursing in Durham. “I admire you guys for sticking with it,” she told them. “Nursing has given me a great career over 25 years, and I’ve always been able to find a job that allowed me to fulfill my family responsibilities. I don’t know a lot of professions could say that they did that.” O’Shea said that about half of her career has been in the home health field. “Home health is a really unique animal,” she said. “There isn’t another part of nursing where you go into someone’s home, where you’re invited into their home.”

She explained that Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) “have a vital role in the home health world” and often perform tasks, such as complicated wound dressings, that only registered nurses would perform in a hospital setting. O’Shea noted that Well Care home health nurses generally see each patient three times a week. “You arrange your schedule for each day’s various home visits, and are paid per visit,” she said.

Next, Well Care Human Resources Recruiter Kendra Dillingham addressed students and offered tips on obtaining jobs, including interviews, resumes and communicating with potential employers, as well as specific details about careers at her company. She said that one of the advantages of a home health career is that nurses have opportunities to get to know their patients very well. “Something I love about the health care community is that you all have so many opportunities to switch types of work and types of patients you work with,” Dillingham said. She added that computer skills are important for employment as a Well Care nurse because her company uses electronic medical records “100 percent.”

The three-semester VGCC Practical Nursing diploma program prepares individuals to provide nursing care to meet the health care needs of the individual throughout their lifespan. The role of the LPN is a dependent role under the supervision of the registered nurse (RN) and other health-care providers approved by North Carolina law. Graduates of the program are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN), which is required for practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse. Employment opportunities include hospitals, rehabilitation/long term care/home health facilities, clinics, and physicians’ offices. For more information, contact VGCC Nursing Department Chair Erica Jastrow at [email protected] or (252) 738-3457.

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