McAuliffe visits PDCCCPublished 9:37am Wednesday, May 1, 2013
FRANKLIN—Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe paid a visit to Paul D. Camp Community College on Monday, in his quest to visit all 23 community colleges in Virginia.
PDCCC President Dr. Paul Wm. Conco welcomed McAuliffe giving an overview of the college’s coverage area and the mission.
“We are excited that you are here and excited for you to learn about us,” said Conco. “We are the community’s college. We enhance quality of life — that’s what we do.”
The round-table discussion included Workforce Development Vice President Randy Betz; PDCCC Institutional Advancement Vice President Felicia Blow; Franklin Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn; City Manager Randy Martin; Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce Director Teresa Beale; Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc. CEO Amanda Jarratt; PDCCC Instruction and Student Services Vice President Dr. Alan Harris; and Robert Stephenson of Genesis Development and Consulting Services LLC.
McAuliffe said the PDCCC visit was his 13th community college visit across the state. He said this was a very challenging economy. “We have to have diversity and the way to do that is through workforce development and training.”
He maintained that luring a new business was dependent on the community college system.
FSEDI’s Jarratt told McAuliffe that when working with new businesses, “early on we work together (with the college) and bring them together — adding that the Workforce Development Center is a great partner.”
Betz spoke about some of the programs offered that lead to jobs including a marine coatings program, forklift training, welding and instrument mechanics.
He also talked about customized training offered when asked for by area businesses including Smithfield Packing, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, ST Tissue and the International Paper.
Mayor Johnson-Ashburn maintained that the city, FSEDI, the Chamber, the community college and the hospital are all working together to make this area accessible to the Port of Virginia.
Conco said, “When IP had the layoffs, Workforce Development Center was there to help. When repurposing at the mill was announced, WFDC was there for all the start-ups. We provide a service for the community.”
McAuliffe said one thing he was committed to if elected was quarterly meetings with community college presidents, economic development and business leaders. He indicated he wanted to work collectively.
McAuliffe asked everyone present how he could help if elected.
Conco would like to see community college tuition lowered. “Community college was all about open access and as we raise tuition, we lose some of that,” he said.
Mayor Johnson-Ashburn would like to see stronger incentive packages to attract businesses. “It is hard for the smaller localities to compete,” she said.
City Manager Martin stressed the partnership between the city and Southampton County in a regional approach. He said the Highway 58 corridor was a key to success.
McAuliffe then toured the facility, meeting students and teachers along the way.