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Friendship Health & Living honored for support of Virginia Western

Friendship Health & Living was recently awarded the 13th Annual Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. Virginia Western Community College nominated Friendship for its continued support of the college and its students.

More than two dozen individuals, families, and businesses from around Virginia have earned the 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Leadership in Philanthropy. The awards were presented at a luncheon ceremony in Richmond on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

Hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE), the 13th annual event honors leading philanthropists from each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges as well as the statewide foundation. This year’s class of distinguished philanthropy leaders has contributed a combined total of $6 million dollars to Virginia’s Community Colleges.

An influential partner in education for nearly 20 years, Friendship Health & Living has worked hand in hand with Virginia Western Community College to build opportunity and construct sustainable pathways for regional student success. Friendship has clearly demonstrated its support and advocacy through its generous and ongoing programmatic, operational and in-kind donations to the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation.

Friendship Health & Living (then Friendship Retirement Community) has invested more than $300,000 in the futures of Virginia Western students, and the advancement of healthcare in the region. By providing prominent identity for the Friendship Retirement Community RN Nursing Lab and the Friendship Retirement Community RN Simulation Lab in the Horace G. and Ann H. Fralin Center for Science and Health professions, as well as the Friendship Retirement Community Registered Nursing Scholarship, Friendship maintains a strong leadership presence at Virginia Western.

The Friendship Foundation has also been a strong proponent of Virginia Western’s Community College Access Program (CCAP), and has backed its advocacy with a CCAP2 Campaign pledge of $20,000 in 2017.

“We are honored by Virginia Western Community College for this nomination as they continue educating the nurses and workforce of tomorrow,” said Joe Hoff, President and CEO for Friendship. “It will be these students that will continue to provide the world-class service and care for which Friendship is known.”

“Friendship’s leadership in making college possible for area students, particularly those in the health professions, serves as a shining example of what can be accomplished when impact and opportunity go hand in hand,” said Dr. Robert H. Sandel, President of Virginia Western.

Keynote speaker Paul Koonce, executive vice president & president and chief executive officer with the Power Generation Group, Dominion Energy, called the community college system “one of Virginia’s greatest inventions.” He also borrowed a passage from a 1903 Teddy Roosevelt speech to underscore the invaluable connection between higher education and opportunity.

“‘Far and away, the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. Our purpose (as donors) is to make sure that prize – meaningful work – the best prize that life offers, remains within reach of every Virginian.'”

Remembering Dr. Charles Steger

Virginia Western Community College lost a dear friend and inspiring leader on Sunday evening when Educational Foundation Board Chairman Charles William Steger Jr. died at age 70. Dr. Steger, the President Emeritus at Virginia Tech, served for three years leading the Educational Foundation Board of Directors. He will be remembered as a committed advocate for the community college’s mission and its goal of making college possible for any student in the Roanoke Region.

“I had the great pleasure to work alongside Charles for several years and was overwhelmed by his commitment to higher education,” said Virginia Western President Dr. Robert. H. Sandel. “He made an incredible impact leading Virginia Tech through its greatest period of growth. He also believed college was for everyone, no matter what financial or life burdens they may face. His dedication to the Virginia Western Educational Foundation reflects that. We have lost a great champion and a great friend.”

Dr. Steger’s vision for the Educational Foundation included the recent launch of its second major fundraising campaign to benefit the Community College Access Program (CCAP), a nationally recognized effort that provides up to three years of tuition to qualified Roanoke Valley High School graduates.

Neil Wilkin Jr., CEO of Roanoke’s Optical Cable Corp., served as Foundation Board Vice Chairman under Dr. Steger. “It’s no surprise that Charles showed great leadership on the Board, given his outstanding career at Virginia Tech,” Wilkin said. “But I think what needs to also be recognized is the genuine empathy he demonstrated for Virginia Western students. He was passionate about creating a better future for them in Roanoke.”

Amanda Mansfield, the Foundation’s Donor Relations Coordinator, said Dr. Steger understood the financial realities of Virginia Western’s students and committed his time to directly helping them. Earlier this spring, he backed a student-led effort to raise money for a student book and emergency fund.

“We were deeply honored that in his retirement Dr. Steger chose to help students who were very clearly dear to his heart, those who grew up in his native Southwest Virginia,” Mansfield said. “He was a kind and generous man, and will be greatly missed.”

Virginia Western and the Virginia Western Educational Foundation send their heart-felt condolences to Dr. Steger’s family and friends.

Grant funding supports Franklin County residents in manufacturing training

Franklin County residents looking to jump-start a career in manufacturing can get the job training they need at half the cost due to a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

Young people, job seekers, and dislocated workers living in the tobacco region can apply for Workforce Financial Aid to enroll in one of Virginia Western Community College’s non-credit manufacturing training programs. These short-term programs prepare students for entry-level positions with regional manufacturers in just three months or less. The Tobacco Commission grant will cover 50 percent of tuition, and prospective students may qualify for additional funding depending on their individual needs.

The next qualifying program is Basic Manufacturing Skills starting July 25, where students can earn a Manufacturing Technician Level 1 (MT1) credential in just 10 weeks. With this credential, individuals starting in the field can earn $12-13 per hour. However, experienced machinists and industrial maintenance technicians can make over $50,000 per year in our region according to the recruiting website, Glassdoor.

Franklin County residents include individuals living in Boones Mill, Rocky Mount, Ferrum, Henry Fork, North Shore, Penhook, Union Hall, Westlake Corner, Callaway, Glade Hill, Hale’s Ford, Redwood, Snow Creek and Wirtz.

WHAT:                Basic Manufacturing Skills Training Program

WHEN:                 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 5:30-9:30 p.m., July 25 – September 27, 2018

WHERE:               Goodwill Jobs Campus, 2502 Melrose Avenue, NW, Roanoke

COST:                    Full tuition is $2,448. Franklin County students can receive Tobacco Commission funding for 50 percent of tuition, bringing the cost down to $1,224.  Students may also qualify for additional funding assistance.

QUESTIONS?      Contact Amanda Decker at 540-857-6279 or careernavigators@virginiawestern.edu