Wytheville Community College recently hosted a graduation ceremony for 17 high school students who completed the Manufacturing Excellence program.
Wytheville Community College (WCC) recently hosted a graduation ceremony for 17 high school students who completed the Manufacturing Excellence program, sponsored by the Wytheville-Wythe-Bland Chamber of Commerce, Quinton Hensley and Jobs for Virginia Graduates, Wytheville Community College, Wythe County Public Schools, Bland County Public Schools, and a variety of businesses and industries in Wythe and Bland Counties. The program introduces high school seniors in Wythe and Bland counties to industries in the area.
Through the program, students learn about the basic fundamentals of production, environmental surroundings, opportunities, and success that can be achieved in a manufacturing environment. Students received 3M and NC3 certifications, along with training on how to secure a manufacturing job and how to be an effective employee.
During the three-month program, students toured local manufacturing facilities and received information from Pepsi, Amcor, Gatorade, Hitachi Energy, Coperion, Virginia Employment Commission, Somic America, Klockner, Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials, and Clarke Precision Machine.
Topics covered included communication skills, blueprint reading, measurements, personal protective equipment, workplace safety, job search and applications, and resume writing,
During the graduation ceremony, Perry Hughes, WCC Vice President of Workforce Development and Occupational Programs, told graduates to take the information they have learned and use it to succeed.
“It’s important to strive for success and be the best you can be,” he said, adding that the students will have important decisions to make in the months ahead.
“Look for something you want to do and you will enjoy,” he said. “Strive to be the very best you can be in everything you do. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do something. Only you can determine the level of success you can supply. Set your goals high.”
Wythe County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Wesley Poole commended the graduates for exploring employment opportunities.
“Life is about opportunities,” he said, adding that students must take the first step to get in the door of where they want to work, then learn and use that knowledge to advance in their career.
Poole told graduates that he wasn’t always a school superintendent; he started his career in education as a paraprofessional, then as a substitute teacher.
“Every opportunity you have to better yourself, always take that opportunity,” Poole said. “And everyone makes mistakes, but don’t dwell on mistakes. Instead, use them as an opportunity to grow.
“I’m proud of you,” Poole added. “You have taken advantage of an opportunity that will pay dividends.”
The Manufacturing Excellence Program graduates are Zach Akers, Matthew Anderson, Justin Arnold, Ethan Bruce, Brandon Combs, Blake Dunford, Elijah Hale, Blake Hedrick, Rose Hill, David Irwin, Kevin McIssac, James Mitchell, Zach Neal, Kaleb Olinger, Samuel Peak, Robbie Penley, Caleb Riggins, Steven Tochimani, and Roman Wright.