Career Expo April 9

Blue Ridge Community College Career Services is excited to bring 40 employers with job vacancies they need to fill to campus on Thursday, April 9, 2015 for the annual Career Expo. Students and the general public are invited to the Plecker Center from noon to 4 p.m. that day. According to Latoya Garrison, assistant coordinator of Career Services, attendees should come “dressed for success,” résumés in hand, and ready to interview and complete applications.

“Appearance is very important, and students should make a good, lasting first impression with employers by dressing appropriately, showing forth their confidence, and being prepared for the interview,” says Garrison.

Garrison notes that Blue Ridge has a great reputation with local employers in supplying their workforce needs with graduates who have the technical knowledge and “soft skills” they desire. “Employers want individuals with good communication skills, demonstrated time management and team work abilities, and those who know the importance of being punctual.”

The Alpha Beta Gamma Business Honor Society is assisting Career Services in coordinating this year’s event. The student group, like the rest of the community college population, consists of younger students and older students who may be attending school to switch careers. Garrison explains that each group faces unique challenges in the job search process. Younger students may not have as much job experience to include on a résumé, while career switchers may feel daunted by the process.

“Younger students need to think about the skills they possess,” she says. “They need to ask themselves, ‘What problems did I solve? What were my leadership roles?’  For the career switchers or older job hunters, it’s important to keep a positive attitude and remain persistent.”

While paid employment is always sought after, Garrison believes students should not overlook the benefits of internship opportunities to gain valuable experience. “Internships are also important because students are able to identify the skills they lack or need to develop,” Garrison notes. “They help students network with employers to get an edge over other job seekers.”

Students are encouraged to visit the Career Services office in the Houff Student Center anytime, or call (540) 453-2523 for assistance.

Second Chances: Nathalie Warren

Nathalie WarrenDespite entering the foster care system at age 13, Nathalie Warren, 21, is one of the lucky ones. She was legally adopted, along with her younger brother, by her first permanent placement family. The memories of the day she was taken are still painful though.

“The difficult times have made me a stronger person,” she says “I’m more protective of people. The day we were taken, I couldn’t hug my little brother or anything. My little sister went to a different home. It made me feel like I want to be a role model for kids in foster care.”

When Nathalie first came to Blue Ridge in Fall 2012, she had a less than stellar academic start. She was at another low point in her life and personal relationships, and not really focusing on school. After entering the Great Expectations program, an initiative of the Virginia Community College System which expands educational opportunities for youth aging out of the foster care system, Nathalie was able to turn things around. Continue reading

Second Chances: Cathy Edwards

The School of Hard Knocks Meets the School of Second Chances

Almost every student at Blue Ridge has a story. It isn’t always obvious by looking at them, but the path many took to get here was fraught with obstacles and stumbling blocks, with financial hardship or severe illnesses, with loss or setbacks and personal sacrifice in all forms. Life has thrown them many curves, but here at BRCC, they’ve found a home and the support needed to pursue their passions with renewed purpose.

Cathy Edwards

Cathy EdwardsCathy Edwards’s life changed forever in a doctor’s office in 1992. Her young daughter was undergoing testing because she exhibited symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. When her family physician could not determine the cause, further testing at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago revealed a devastating diagnosis: Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.

“I was in a world of disbelief,” Cathy says. “It was a long time before I could really accept it. I was in denial. I kept saying, ‘We’re going to bring her home and she’s going to be okay.’” Continue reading

Extended Registration Hours for Spring 2015

Extended office hours for advising and in-person registration:

  • Friday, January 2:  8:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Monday, January 5 – Tuesday, January 6: 8:15 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, January 7:  8:15 -10 a.m./1 – 6:30 p.m. (offices closed 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.)
  • Thursday, January 8:  8:15 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Friday, January 9: 8:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 10: 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Web registration is also available for most students; new students need to complete an admissions application.