News from Fort Pierce, Birmingham, Shreveport/Bossier City and Chattanooga

May 6, 2014

News from Fort Pierce, Birmingham, Shreveport/Bossier City and Chattanooga

To welcome students to the new Fort Pierce, Florida campus of Virginia College, a team of staff and faculty has decorated bulletin boards with designs based on the theme, "Keys to Success."

Boards include messages related to study skills, reading, volunteering, positive attitude, good nutrition and more. The design team was led by Business Program Director Selena Anderson with help from Pharmacy Technician PD Shannon Webber and Librarian Georgen Charnes.

Virginia College in Birmingham recently hosted an Open House for its new Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R) Technician facility. A ribbon-cutting was attended by members of the local business community, Virginia College HVAC-R instructors and students. Attendees toured the approximately 6,000 sq.-ft. facility that includes learning labs and lecture classrooms and heard from Campus President Chris Moore and Dean of Trade Programs Elijah Blanchard, a state certified contractor.

News from Fort Pierce, Birmingham, Shreveport/Bossier City and Chattanooga
Virginia College Dean of Trade Programs Elijah Blanchard and Virginia College in Birmingham Campus President Chris Moore participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Virginia College to officially announce the launch of the new Heating, Ventilation Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC-R) program for students.

News from Fort Pierce, Birmingham, Shreveport/Bossier City and Chattanooga
Elijah Blanchard and students from the new HVAC-R program attend its open house and ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new facility serves as a real world, hands-on learning environment for students of the new HVAC-R program. Classrooms have been outfitted with a soldering and brazing design lab as well as a refrigeration lab equipped with a walk-in cooler/freezer and ice machine. A walk-in cooler simulator was also included, where faults can be slowly applied, allowing students to troubleshoot from the fault that was put into it, which helps students discover what kinds of problems can develop in real-world situations.

"For three decades, Virginia College has been training students in Birmingham for new careers, and it's a pleasure to expand our offerings to now include HVAC-R and to finally showcase our facility to the public," said Campus President Moore. "This new program will help students develop professional and ethical practices in the HVAC-R field with a positive attitude and strong customer service skills."

The HVAC-R program at Virginia College is unlike any other in the state, offering the most up-to-date equipment and field training within the community. While enrolled in the program, students will take field trips to various companies, such as Marathon gas stations and Sysco Foods, to look at each company's commercial systems and to help correct issues. This training also gives students the opportunity to install and maintain energy management systems. The field training will help in making connections and forging opportunities for students as well as future employers.

"I couldn't be more thrilled that the HVAC-R program is now being offered to students at Virginia College," said Blanchard. "Our students are going to get the best experience possible with our up-to-date equipment and field training in the community. What we offer will prove to be mutually beneficial for both the students and their future employers, making sure that they are employing one of the most qualified technical school graduates."

Students have the option to obtain a diploma or an associate of applied science degree in this program. Designed to provide the foundation for an entry-level position as an HVAC-R technician, the diploma program will provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely install, troubleshoot and repair equipment used in the home and light commercial industry. The associate of applied science degree program requires an externship. Associate degree graduates will have a foundation in business principles that will assist them in moving into management areas of the HVAC-R industry. Completion of the diploma program takes 12 months, and completion of the associate's degree program takes 24 months.

"Rising demand for trained HVAC-R technicians suggests excellent employment opportunities," said Blanchard. "Upon successful completion from this program, graduates should be able to isolate malfunctions in heating, air conditioning, heat pump and refrigeration systems as well as design, fabricate and install ductwork to provide proper airflow in heating and cooling systems."

News from Fort Pierce, Birmingham, Shreveport/Bossier City and Chattanooga

A Virginia College School of Business and Health in Chattanooga student was elected Phi Beta Lambda's Tennessee state president during competition in Nashville.

Jasmine Benford, a third-quarter student in the Pharmacy Technician program, was not only elected as the Phi Beta Lambda state president but also took first place in the Hospitality Management and Client Services categories. 

Joining Jasmine in the winner's circle was classmate Tabithe Henderson who won the Public Speaking category and took second place in the Hospitality Management category. Debra Mooney took first place in the Desktop Publishing category.

The winners in each category will be representing the state of Tennessee in the national completion to be held in Nashville later this year. Congratulations to all!

Finally, the Shreveport/Bossier City campus has created a lecture series that will feature inspiring and informative speakers from around the area. They include representatives from these organizations:

  • American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery: "What to Expect in a Healthcare Workplace"
  • Hero 2 Hired: "Getting the Job, Keeping the Job"
  • Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana: "How to be a Leader in the Workplace"
  • Advantage Staffing: "Dress for Success"
  • Southern Host Lodging: "Customer Service"
  • The Mane Design Salon: "Launching Your Career in Cosmetology"