TNCC Vice President of Workforce Wins Innovation Award


Published: December 18, 2012

Dr. Deborah George Wright, Vice President of Workforce Development at Thomas Nelson  Community College, has been awarded the Virginia Community Colleges System’s Expanding Workforce Opportunity Award for her leadership in public-private workforce development partnerships. The award was presented during the December Hire Education Conference held in Hot Springs, Virginia.

Wright was honored for leading a collaborative that includes Virginia’s largest private employer, Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), Thomas Nelson, Tidewater, Paul D. Camp, Rappahannock and Eastern Shore Community Colleges and the Virginia Community College System (VCCS).

Each organization shares resources and access to VCCS noncredit funding for customized training through a signed memorandum of understanding. The collaborative established best practices that other community colleges across the state and their partnering businesses can easily duplicate.

“We were thrilled to bestow this well-deserved award upon Deborah Wright, and I know that her colleagues share my enthusiasm. Her visionary leadership is complemented by her attention to nuts and bolts program implementation, benefitting all the citizens of Hampton Roads,” said Craig Herndon, Vice Chancellor for VCCS Workforce Development Services.

The partnership up-skilled 92 Virginians with 120 hours of concentrated accelerated training as marine electricians, who have since been hired full time employment at NNS at salaries of $32,000 and full benefits. The program has a 97% completion rate and a 93% placement rate.

The first trainings were held in marine electrician labs at TNCC and RCC, which replicated the training mock-ups at the NNS waterfront. The Collaborative intends to move into additional trades, beginning with Surface Prep and Coatings in an 80- hour training using a mobile training lab that will move to each college location, starting at TNCC in January. Classes in Marine Electrician at TNCC and RCC are scheduled through June. All students apply through the NNS website

“This partnership is a team effort,” says Wright. “We have an outstanding group of individuals contributing to make this project successful.”

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