Wytheville Community College (WCC) continues to expand opportunities at its location at the Crossroads Institute. Current enhancements are related to projects stemming from partnerships that WCC has with other community colleges and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, as well as through the proposed project for the former Baywood Elementary School in Grayson County. The specifics are still being determined as options are being explored. WCC, K12 representatives from across the college’s service area, and representatives with the Baywood project, will be visiting Career Connection Labs at middle schools in another part of the state, the ILAR in Danville, as well as other sites of interest to help guide decisions about expanding offerings.
Currently, in addition to course offerings for WCC students, high school students in the Twin Counties and in the Galax City Schools also have access to dual enrollment courses (opportunities to simultaneously earn high school and college credit) through WCC. The enhancements that WCC plans to make at its site at the Crossroads Institute will build on these programs.
WCC already offers a number of certifications through technical programs, and WCC provides certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees. These credentials are available across a number of technical programs, as well as those designed for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Examples of offerings through the community college include nursing, machining, a specialization in engineering for transfer students, and more. The college also offers programs in high skill, high demand areas such as power line worker, and will begin an underground power program this spring that incorporates installation of fiber optic cable. WCC programs are aligned closely to meet local business and industry workforce needs, but also provide offerings for those who wish to transfer to a four-year college or university.
Enhancements that WCC is considering include possible new programs and equipment that can benefit current WCC students, as well as showcasing area workforce needs and related career opportunities to area K-12 students. Such enhancements will build on the existing enrichment programs offered by the K-12 systems and the Blue Ridge Crossroads Governor’s Academy for Technical Education (BRCGATE). BRCGATE is a Governor’s Academy for Technical Education designed to serve students from the counties of Carroll, Grayson, and Galax City. BRCGATE offers an annual enrichment experience, Technology Day, at the Crossroads Institute for students enrolled in BRCGATE. The event incorporates career exploration around high-skill, high-demand jobs.
As all of these plans develop, WCC will continue working with the Crossroads Institute, the Baywood group (which includes representatives from the Twin counties and City of Galax), and Radford City Schools (RCS) to determine what opportunities can most benefit area K12 students. RCS Superintendent Rob Graham has offered to share the Radford school system’s experience with developing similar offerings. Mr. Graham has advised that activities should focus on meeting the workforce needs for current employers in the area, as well as providing opportunities for participating students to develop skills in the area of the Five Cs as identified through the Virginia Department of Education: Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Citizenship. Activities such as BRCGATE not only provide access to hands-on interaction with advanced technology for career exploration, but also provides opportunities for building the Five Cs of education.
“WCC looks forward to working with our K12 partners in Carroll, Grayson, and the City of Galax as we explore the potential to expand all opportunities at WCC’s site at the Crossroads Institute like those found in the Career Connection Labs we will be visiting and the experiences shared through RCS,” said Dr. Dean Sprinkle, WCC President. “As the Baywood project develops, once the building is renovated and available for occupancy, additional offerings will be considered at the location as workforce and program needs are identified.”