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PHCC Named as a Finalist for the 2014 Bellwether Award

Patrick Henry Community College is one of 10 colleges across the United States selected in their category as a 2014 Bellwether Award finalist by the Community Colleges Futures Assembly (CCFA).

The pool of applicants was very competitive this year with more than 400 applications to the program. PHCC was chosen as a finalist in the Workforce Development category for the HOPE (High-demand Occupational Programs for Employment) Program.

Brenell Thomas, PHCC workforce programs coordinator, said it’s an honor to receive this award.

“The opportunity to receive national recognition for a training program we’re very passionate about is very humbling,” she said. “Being named a finalist for the Bellwether Award in the Workforce Development category is a testament of the ‘village’ coming together to strengthen our workforce.”

What Is the HOPE Program?

HOPE is a 12-week workforce development program that provides training and certifications to secure employment. Industry leaders provide ongoing input to tailor occupational training and core skills to possible industry tracks based on need.

PHCC began offering the HOPE program in 2012 to serve the unemployed population, and assist employers in finding qualified employees with the necessary skills to fill job openings. HOPE’s goals include removing barriers that hinder employment, building self-esteem, empowering students to achieve self-sufficiency through employment, and increasing accountability for their life choices.

Of the 38 participants that have completed the HOPE program since its inception, 27 have entered employment, and three have entered post-secondary education programs.

Workforce Development Dean Rhonda Hodges, Thomas, Kathy Whittle-Davis, TARE Program Coordinator and PHCC President Angeline Godwin will present at the Assembly on Jan. 27 in Orlando, Fla., where one winner will be selected from each category by a panel of national experts within each category. The winners are announced on Jan. 28 at the CCFA annual meeting in Orlando.

“I am thrilled that our HOPE program has been recognized nationally as a best practice workforce development model,” Hodges said. “Much of the success of HOPE is due to the dedication of our workforce development team and the engagement and commitment of our workforce partners and employers who helped development the program.

“But it is the success of our students, who work so diligently and are transitioning to jobs or further education, which makes me believe it’s already a winning program for our community.”

Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, the Community College Futures Assembly convenes annually as an independent national policy forum for key opinion leaders to work as a think tank to identify critical issues facing the future of community colleges, and to recognize Bellwether Finalist colleges as trend-setting institutions.