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Andrea J. Burney, APR

Director of  Public Relations



DCC Precision Machining Program

Porchia Russell and other students in Danville Community College's Precision Machining Technology program will soon be training on some of the latest high tech equipment thanks to a nearly $2.5 million grant from the Danville Regional Foundation. The funds will also be used to purchase equipment for the Welding Technology program.

DANVILLE, VA., June 12, 2014 – Students in Danville Community College's precision machining and welding technology programs will be even more prepared for the workforce through their training on the latest high tech equipment, thanks to a nearly $2.5 million grant from the Danville Regional Foundation (DRF). The award made recently to the DCC Educational Foundation in the total amount of $2,448,288 over the next three years will be used to purchase vital training equipment for the machining and welding programs.

"We are extremely grateful to the Danville Regional Foundation in providing the funds needed to continue our expansion in precision machining and welding," said Dr. Bruce Scism, DCC President. "I appreciate the leadership of the DRF Board in supporting our vision for the economic development of this region. This grant award will play a significant role in providing students with a substantive hands-on learning experience that is essential to ensuring that graduates possess the job-ready skills expected and needed by industry."

“As a region, and as individuals, we must constantly work to recreate our competitive advantages in this global economy. STEM education and workforce development is a key strategy,? said Dr. Karl Stauber, president and CEO of the Danville Regional Foundation. “DCC, along with other area institutions, is playing a key role in growing the employment opportunities in the Dan River Region and that is one of the many reasons DRF invested in this important effort.?

According to Scism, some 300 new jobs are expected to be created over the next five years in advanced manufacturing and it will be critical that DCC is positioned to provide the training and skills needed for potential new industries, as well as the current workforce. In terms of funding, DCC will receive $472,321 in Year One; $589,886 in Year Two; and $1,386,081 in Year 3.

Troy Simpson, Associate Professor of Precision Machining Technology, said “When I learned the Danville Regional Foundation had awarded this grant, I knew this would be a game changer for the City of Danville. This generous award will make it possible for citizens in our region to receive training on some of the most advanced welding, CNC machining, and metrology equipment available and provide them with the skills they need to earn certifications recognized by global manufacturing companies.?

DCC has already launched plans for renovations to the Charles Hawkins Engineering and Industrial Technologies Building, which will eventually expand the precision machining program space from 8,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet. The welding program, along with two other programs, will move into a new 7,500 square foot building that will be constructed adjacent to the Hawkins building. This expansion not only will accommodate additional students in the programs, but create more laboratory space to offer more opportunities for one-on-one hands on use of equipment.

“The machining lab will house over 35 CNC machine tools which includes 17 five axis CNC milling machines,? Simpson noted. “The welding and fabrication lab will be an Accredited Test Facility (ATF) certified by the American Welding Society (AWS) which will provide our students the opportunity to test and become certified welders on our campus.?

Scism explained that the DRF grant is part of overall plan for a high-impact advanced manufacturing workforce development initiative to support local economic development. This includes increasing student capacity, expanding/updating current training equipment and updating technology. In addition, partnerships in advanced manufacturing are being established with the area public schools.

For example, DCC has developed a Manufacturing Technician Certification program that will enable high school students to gain skills and earn college credit through dual enrollment, with coursework and credentialing through the college’s precision machining, welding and industrial maintenance. The Pittsylvania County Schools already has launched a precision machining program, which combines curricula and support from the DCC program. Upon graduation from high school, students enter DCC as a second-year student. This model is also being considered for similar programs in welding and industrial maintenance in Danville, Halifax County and Caswell County Public Schools. Not only do the dual enrolled students save money, but earning the credits allows them to skip a year of study at DCC.

Josh Fowler is a 2014 graduate of Chatham High School and enrolled in the precision machining program – except this is his first year! Josh literally graduated from high school on a Friday and began the on-campus DCC program the following Tuesday. He had enough dual enrollment credits from his studies while in high school that he was able to enroll as a second-year student.

“I think machining is an interesting field and I enjoy doing it.? Fowler said. “My goal is to get a job after 1 year of college. I am still researching the possible jobs.?

The program expansion is also creating opportunities for more students to learn about careers in advanced manufacturing. Porchia Russell, who lost her job when the Danville company for which she worked closed, is also enrolled as a second year student in precision machining. With the program expansion from 25 students per year to more than 100 students currently, Russell said she saw her opportunity to enroll in a high demand field.

I know there will be great opportunities that will come from me earning my credential in the precision machining program, particularly innovative and cutting edge career opportunities,? Russell said. “This program gives me confidence that I will have a stable career.?

Russell also said this is a perfect time to engage other females interested in a non-traditional career.

“(The program expansion) is a perfect opportunity for females to enroll especially if they enjoy hands-on learning and they are visual learners,? Russell continued. “My goal is that once I complete the program that I am an inspiration to other females who want to pursue a non-traditional career. I want my abilities as a machinist to speak volumes.?

“This is a wonderful time to be at Danville Community College,? Scism said. “DCC prides itself on being one of the premier workforce training organizations in the state. With the generous grant funding from the Danville Regional Foundation, we are able to continue to be responsive to the workforce needs of our region.?

Simpson added, “This award demonstrates that DRF is truly committed to transforming the local economy and providing the technology required to train our workforce to compete for high paying jobs in advanced manufacturing companies.?

For more information about the precision machining technology or welding technology programs, contact the department office at 434.797.8440, or click here.


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