A1 A1
New VGCC Production Technician program starts soon
  • Updated

HENDERSON — Vance-Granville Community College has announced a new Production Technician program, which campus leaders say will equip students with knowledge and skills for potential work.

The program is designed to supply “fast, hands-on training to learn job skills in safety, math, quality practices, teamwork, communications, problem solving, production processes and basic bio-processing,” VGCC officials said as they rolled it out.

It prepares students to enter careers as a production technician, machine operator, packaging machine operator, assembly-line worker or assembly-machine operator, according to the release.

“The thing is that a lot of people, maybe they’re in their 20s and they worked a couple of places and they put that on their application to go to work, but they really don’t have any solid manufacturing credentials or any production credentials other than their work experience,” said Keith Shearon, the college’s outgoing director of customized training.

“But when they come [through] this program, employers can see that they’re serious about pursuing that kind of work,” said Shearon, who was retiring on Tuesday. “And I think that’s a little bit more important. It stands them a better chance of getting a job.”

The first people who called VGCC when the college announced the program were employers who wanted to interview its graduates, Shearon said.

“It was instantly [that] industry reached out to us and said ‘Hey, we want in on that. We want people that you get through that program to call us for a job,’ ” Shearon said. “So we thought that was pretty exciting for the community.”

The new Production Technician program doesn’t take long to finish at all. Dean of Business & Industry Solutions Tanya Weary said it includes 96 hours of coursework. The program starts on Feb. 15 and runs for only 16 days.

Even though the program is over quickly, students can expect to gain practical and valuable skills from it.

The Production Technician program is a competency-based training program designed to supply students with what’s referred to in the release as “enhanced career opportunities in manufacturing.”

Students will be introduced to the concepts of process improvements and “emphasizing the importance of quality and its role in company profitability and job sustainability,” officials said.

At the “completion of the program, they will have four certifications, which is the North Carolina Manufacturing Certificate, the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification, forklift operators certification as well as the OSHA 10 [for safety],” Weary said.

Shearon said all of those certificates are regularly recognized in North Carolina and three of them are recognized nationally. “They’re not just college certificates, they’re industry recognized certificates,” he said.

Tuition scholarships are available, and full scholarships will be supplied to the first eight applicants.

Check out https://www.vgcc.edu/coned/productiontech for more. Anyone interested should contact Weary at wearyt@vgcc.edu or 252-738-3521.

Sandra Wilkerson, director of administration and events, plugs away at her work at the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

Working with Wilkerson

Rabid raccoon found near regional water plant
  • Updated

HENDERSON — Vance County Animal Services reported that a raccoon found acting strangely in a neighborhood near Kerr Lake has tested positive for rabies.

Fortunately, the animal had no human contact nor any real contact with pets, though the man who reported it is having a couple of his cats get rabies booster vaccinations, Animal Services Chief Frankie Nobles said.

The raccoon was found on the 300 block of Regional Water Lane, off the road that leads to the Kerr Lake Regional Water System’s treatment plant.

A number of homes are also on that road, and the raccoon on Friday, Feb. 5, was “laying on a cat’s bed,” Noble said. The man who reported it “saw him and tracked him.”

The raccoon “was staggering,” and the man “felt really concerned and called us,” Nobles said.

Animal Services on Monday sent a sample off for testing, and the result came back positive. The delay was “because of the weekend,” Nobles said.

The man elected to have his cats get booster shots even though he “doesn’t think they had any exposures” to the raccoon,” Nobles said, adding that “he is being safe in going” that route.

Nobles added that the Vance County Animal Shelter has rabies vaccines available for dogs and cats. A shot is $5.

Contact Ray Gronberg at rgronberg@hendersondispatch.com or by phone at 252-436-2850.

KVA outlasts Christ Covenant
  • Updated

HENDERSON — KVA kicked off their quest for an NCISAA Coastal Conference tournament championship on Tuesday evening by disrupting Christ Covenant’s offense and obtaining a 55-49 victory.

Adorning jerseys that mirrored the ones worn by the 2005 state championship team, head coach Brandon Dickerson was proud of the way his players handled themselves after previously being sidelined due to COVID-19 issues, and is confident that KVA will re-establish a rhythm on both ends of the floor as the tournament progresses.

“This was our first game back in two weeks,” Dickerson said. “I thought we played pretty well. Our talk was good and our effort was pretty good. We knew the ball likely wasn’t going to drop too much tonight with us having been off for two weeks, but everything went well.”

Both teams registered only 20 points of offense between them in the first quarter alone, with KVA taking a small advantage over Christ Covenant following a couple of late free-throws.

Offensive efficiency slightly picked up in the second quarter, but neither side could gain a definitive edge over the other. A last-second layup by senior Joel Lewis gave KVA the lead at halftime with Christ Covenant only two points behind.

KVA finally began to take control of the game in the third quarter by primarily maintaining a four-point lead before stretching it out to a comfortable nine-point advantage heading into the final eight minutes.

Christ Covenant proved unable to mount a necessary charge despite shifting to a full-court press in the closing moments, with several late free-throws effectively sealing the win for KVA and allowing them to move on into the next round.

Dickerson said that he needed his players to value the basketball if they wanted to defeat Christ Covenant after their hiatus, but he is not expecting anything to get easier for KVA over the remainder of the week.

“It’s the end of the year, so you have to want it,” Dickerson said. “We’ve practiced and gone over everything that we could go over, so at this point you have to ask yourself if you want it and if you can go get it. The guys have to take care of business.

KVA will try to keep their hopes for a conference tournament championship alive on Thursday when they travel to face Rocky Mount Academy.

Local organization to receive Chromebooks
  • Updated

HENDERSON — Two Vance County-based organizations are collaborating to make laptop computers available to people who need them.

On Thursday, HUBZone Technology Initiative will donate five Google Chromebooks to Helping All People Excel (known as HAPE for short). The event will take place at 11 a.m. in the HAPE office at 314 S. Garnett St. in Henderson.

HAPE is a nonprofit organization that encourages students to bridge the gaps between high school and college and from college to successful careers.

HUBZone Technology Initiative, also a nonprofit organization, uses its resources to make technology available to organizations and individuals in low-income communities.

Stephen Smoot, director of marketing for HUBZone, said the company’s mission is to acquire obsolete but workable laptops, convert them into Google Chromebooks and get them into the hands of worthy community organizations.

Debbie Boyd, director of HUBZone’s laptop team, said five Chromebooks will be donated to HAPE in the presentation that will take place Thursday.

HUBZone distributes Chromebooks throughout the Triangle, she said. Last year, more than 150 were given to worthwhile organizations. “Our goal is 500,” she added.

Boyd said recent recipients of Chromebooks from HUBZone include the Boys and Girls Clubs in Vance and Granville counties, the YMCA, Freedom Life Church, the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford, Veterans Life Center in Butner and several recovery houses.

HAPE was formed in 2014 and received 501©(3) status in 2017. The organization offers young people exposure to a variety of career choices to motivate them to look beyond their current circumstances at the opportunities open to them.

HAPE founder and CEO Tracy J. Mosley holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and a master’s degree in public administration from North Carolina Central University.

Feb. 11 was chosen for the presentation by HUBZone in recognition of International Women and Girls In Science Day. In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to establish an annual International Day to focus attention on the vital role women play in science and technology and to increase their participation in technical fields.