Noncredit Financial Assistance

Blue Ridge Community College now has funding to provide financial assistance to students enrolled in certain noncredit programs leading to industry-recognized credentials. Awards are based on financial need, with eligible annual household incomes ranging from below $23,540 for one person, up to $81,780 for a family of eight. BRCC will award available funds on a first-come, first-served basis. Continue reading

BRCC Offers First Paperboard Packaging Technology Program in the Country

paperboard worker in facilityBlue Ridge Community College is offering the first paperboard packaging technology program in North America beginning this fall. Paperboard packaging is a $9 billion industry that prints images on paper-based materials, which are then converted into commercial packaging. This growing industry needs motivated workers with advanced technology skills, and BRCC hopes this new program will prepare such individuals.

“The need for highly-skilled operators in the field of die cutting and gluing is on the rise, and as the job demand continues to expand, programs such as this will be critical in fostering the emergence of such talent,” explained Murry Pitts, President and CEO of Carded Graphics. Continue reading

BRCC Offers Commercial Pilot Program


Photo courtesy Blue Ridge Aviation

Blue Ridge Community College is excited to announce that it will offer the first public Commercial Pilot program in the state, beginning this fall. The 17-credit hour program provides the educational background, skills, and federal certification required for a commercial pilot.

“The creation of the commercial pilot program is very timely as the aviation industry, particularly the nation’s airlines are struggling to find qualified pilots,” explained Greg Campbell, Executive Director of the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport.  He added, “This program will create opportunities for those interested in a career as a commercial pilot and access to the training that will be necessary to fill pilot jobs in the future. Not only will this program benefit the student, but it will also help meet a serious workforce need in our community and throughout the aviation industry.” Continue reading

A drone’s eye view of the construction on the south side of Houff Student Center courtesy of W.M. Jordan.

Second Chances: John Butler

John ButlerWhat stands out in John Butler’s mind about a Blue Ridge education is the level and quality of communication found here.

“Administrators and staff make themselves accessible to the student body, which helps to develop trusting relationships,” he says. “When students feel and experience genuine concern, they are empowered.”

Building on this foundation of empowerment, John plans to complete his Human Services studies at BRCC and transfer seamlessly to JMU for a degree in Social Work. He wants to work with ex-inmates in the Department of Corrections to help them readjust to society.

“When offenders receive education, treatment, and training, they can successfully transition back to their families and communities becoming responsible, productive members of society,” says the 55-year-old. “I envision becoming a director of a transitional home for ex-offenders.”

The Hampton, Va., native held many different jobs, such as a bricklayer, shipyard worker, maintenance mechanic, and even as a Certified Nurse Assistant, before finding his “calling”  and the “clarity of what really makes [him] happy” in social work. He believes those in the helping professions are rewarded by changing people’s lives. Continue reading

BRCC Hikes the Virtual Appalachian Trail

Jordyn DeCroesWhen JMU Graduate Assistant Jordyn DeCroes told Blue Ridge Community College to “take a hike,” she was amazed at the response. Twenty-seven employees and eight students combined walking and running the virtual Appalachian Trail for a total of 2,180 miles in just six weeks.

“It is awesome to see individuals at BRCC on the move!” said Jordyn. “When I first launched the program, I had some doubts about completing the entire length of the trail, but we ended up doing it in six weeks.”

Building on the success of the “Walktober” program from the fall of 2013, Jordyn said she wanted to do another activity to target those who were already active and working out, as well as those who might need a challenge or goal to encourage them to start. Hiking the AT is also a geography lesson, as it goes from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin, Maine, through 14 states. It is the longest hiking only footpath in the world. A poster in the rec center kept exercisers updated on their progress. Continue reading