Industries Education

Altria gives $1.33 million grant to community college foundation

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Henrico County-based Altria Group has given a $1.33 million grant to the John Tyler Community College Foundation to expand the college’s industrial electricity and mechanical maintenance programs.

The programs offer students the option of earning a career studies certificate in a year or less, an associate degree, or both.

The programs are designed to relieve a skilled worker shortage. The community college said almost 60 percent of Virginia companies report a lack of qualified candidates to fill current and future manufacturing job vacancies.

The Altria grant will allow Tyler to create and equip a second industrial electricity lab on its Chester Campus, while upgrading equipment in its existing electrical lab. As a result, Tyler will have the capacity to serve 40 to 60 additional students per year.

The college also plans to upgrade the equipment in its mechanical maintenance lab and launch a new mechanical maintenance concurrent enrollment program. That program will bring area high school students to campus for training.

Those who complete the program earn a career studies certificate and are work ready by the time they graduate from high school. The grant provides scholarship funding for 20 to 30 high school students to participate in this program. 

The new mechanical maintenance equipment will be up and running for the spring 2019 semester. Tyler’s new industrial electricity lab and upgrades to the equipment in its existing electricity lab will be complete in August 2019, in time for the start of the college’s fall semester. The college also anticipates welcoming high school students into its new concurrent mechanical maintenance program in fall 2019.

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