Courtesy Photo: At the Dec 2 meeting of the Patrick County Education Foundation, the Patrick County Economic Development Authority presented a $10,000 check to PCEF for its financial support of the PHCC expansion (the old Food Lion building) in Patrick County. Greg Hodges (PHCC’s Vice President of Academic & Student Success Services), from left, Dale Puckett (Chairman of EDA), Stewart Roberson (Chair of PCEF), Dr. Angeline Godwin (President of PHCC), and Bryce Simmons (Economic Development Director for Patrick County).

The Patrick County Economic Development Authority (EDA) recently presented a $10,000 check to the Patrick County Education Foundation (PCEF) to support Patrick Henry Community College’s recent expansion into Patrick County.

Early in 2018, the Patrick County Education Foundation pledged $150,000 to help PHCC open a new facility near downtown Stuart in Patrick County. In August 2019, the college opened the new 5,000 square foot, $170,000 facility in the former Food Lion building.

The purpose of the facility is to provide the specialized training required for many of the county’s most in-demand careers – electrical and mechanical engineers and technicians for example. The facility is equipped with over $300,000 of specialized equipment for the students to learn the skills required for these highly technical careers.

“The EDA’s investment demonstrates its commitment to the economic viability of Patrick County. PHCC is looking forward to continuing to offer high quality academic and workforce programs that lead to middle class sustaining wages for the people of Patrick,” said Dr. Greg Hodges, the director of the Patrick County Education Foundation and PHCC’s vice president of Academic & Student Success Services.

The new facility was made possible by a four-way partnership between PHCC, Town of Stuart, PHCC Foundation and the Patrick County Education Foundation. Much of the funding for the facility came from state grants and local support.

With the $10,000 from the Patrick County’s Economic Development Authority, both PCEF and PHCC will be able to investigate more educational and career pathways for the citizens of Patrick County.

Patrick County Education Foundation has a history of helping the residents of Patrick County. During the early years of the 21st century, PCEF dedicated its time, energy, and resources to raising the local high school and GED attainments rates. A ten-year goal of bringing Patrick County from the bottom to the top of the 50 rural counties in Virginia was accomplished in five years. The county’s high school graduation rate continues to rank higher than the state average.

In recent years, PCEF dedicated itself to raising the post-high school credentials rates which remain quite low when compared to surrounding regions.

As former Gov. Gerald Baliles noted at his last public appearance before his death (the grand opening of the Stuart building), “It is clear that some form of post-secondary education credentials will be required for those who want to qualify for jobs now and in the future […] We hope that the citizens of the Town and County will fill the classrooms, for the Patrick County Education Foundation believes that as education goes here, so goes the future of this place many call home.”


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