A $125,000 grant from the Cannon Foundation will help support Vance-Granville Community College’s nursing simulation lab.

HENDERSON — The Cannon Foundation, based in Concord, North Carolina, recently awarded a $125,000 grant to the Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund. The funds will support VGCC’s nursing simulation lab and heavy equipment operator program simulators.

“With this grant, Vance-Granville Community College will continue to enhance our nursing and heavy equipment operator training programs, so that students can receive state-of-the-art preparation for their careers,” said VGCC President Rachel Desmarais. “We appreciate the Cannon Foundation’s commitment to workforce development and education.”

Part of the grant will provide needed equipment for the new, 4,000-square-foot Simulation Lab on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County. This lab has recently been relocated from its previous space on the campus of Maria Parham Health in Henderson.

Much like it did at the previous location, the lab will provide students in associate degree nursing and practical nursing with opportunities to train for a variety of real-life situations, using high-tech mannequins. The life-like “patients” can be programmed to replicate a variety of medical diagnoses and conditions.

The other, larger portion of the grant funds will provide simulators of a different sort. The heavy equipment operator program, based on VGCC’s Warren County Campus in Warrenton, will benefit from new, improved training simulators, on which students can practice in a safe, controlled way. The trainers simulate equipment such as bulldozers and excavators.

The college’s HEO program is now a registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship program, and the updated simulation equipment will help align the training with current workforce needs.

“Our current heavy equipment operator program has been in place since 2015 with the simulators we currently have through an agreement with the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration,” said Kyle Burwell, VGCC’s director of occupational extension and human resources development. “I am thrilled at the opportunity offered to us by the Cannon Foundation to purchase additional simulation equipment to enhance our HEO program, so that students can practice and learn on updated equipment.”

The Cannon Foundation was formed in 1943 by Charles A. Cannon, chairman and president of the Cannon Mills Co., and continues his philanthropic legacy by funding primarily capital and infrastructure projects for organizations across the state of North Carolina.

To date, the Cannon Foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $305 million.

The Cannon Foundation has supported VGCC in the past, including a grant of $150,000 to help complete the renovation of Building 10 on the college’s Main Campus.