Here’s a round-up of briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion at

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Danville Community College, Tyson Foods partner for industrial maintainence program

Danville Community College, in partnership with Tyson Foods, is offering a new maintenance technology training program to help students find highly skilled work at Tyson’s new fully cooked poultry facility in Danville.

Tyson Foods’ new facility is projected to be operational in early 2023. Hiring for maintenance technician roles will begin in early 2023, which coincides with when the first class of students who enroll will complete the new DCC program. DCC’s hands-on curriculum puts students in the lab where instructors create simulations and production environments to train students with first-hand knowledge of the future applications of their skills. Students who complete the program will be given priority in the plant’s hiring process for maintenance technicians. Starting pay for maintenance technicians at Tyson is nearly $45,000 with benefits, according to the school.

The maintenance technology certification will train students in the repair and maintenance of mechanical and electrical equipment. They will also be trained on diagnosing, troubleshooting and maintaining automated systems.

The training consists of 700 hours of training that will be offered at the Danville Community Center’s Regional Center for Technical Training in both day and evening cohorts. The day cohort will start May 2 and will graduate in November, with classes held Monday to Friday; the evening cohort will start May 10 and will graduate in May 2023, with classes held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Students enrolled in the program have the opportunity to be granted a guaranteed interview and priority placement in a maintenance position.

“Many of these students will attend classes with zero out of pocket cost thanks to our robust financial aid and scholarship packages,” said the school’s interim president, Muriel Mickles, in a statement.

For more information visit, or to enroll, contact Chad Younger at 434-797-8573 or

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The signing ceremony. Courtesy of IALR.

Danville company “signs” machining interns as new employees

KYOCERA SGS Tech Hub in Danville has hired three student interns who recently graduated from the Integrated Machining Technology (IMT) third-year capstone program, instructed by Danville Community College and housed and financed by the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.

Students Jonathan Gauldin, Bobby Moran and Joel Oakes celebrated the occasion with KYOCERA by participating in a signing ceremony at the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining where they received their training. Gauldin, Moran and Oakes will start on April 11 as Setup A technicians, one of KYOCERA’s highest-level grinding positions. They will join Josh Owen, another IMT graduate, who started at KYOCERA as a Setup C technician on April 4.

To thrive in a highly competitive global market, there needs to be a system in place that creates a workforce for our future,” said Jason Wells, president of KYOCERA SGS Tech Hub in a statement. “The unparalleled training and education that Danville Community College and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research have established, allow companies such as KYOCERA to focus on our core business and growth with less focus on skill development. Our elected officials, community leaders, educators and local citizens have put in the hard work to address skilled workforce development needs.”

The IMT program serves as an optional third year of advanced training for completers of two-year precision machining programs or for those with equivalent work experience. The hands-on instruction by DCC takes seven months and is set in a flow cell environment to build true-to-life advanced manufacturing experience and leadership skills. A 90-hour internship fulfills requirements for an associate degree.

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Bedford County names director of fire and rescue

Janet Blankenship. Courtesy of Bedford County.

Bedford County Administrator Robert Hiss has announced Janet Blankenship as the county’s new director of fire and rescue. 

Blankenship has worked for the Bedford County Department of Fire and Rescue for 16 years, serving in positions of recruitment and retention officer, EMS coordinator and deputy chief of administration and EMS operations. She most recently was appointed interim chief for the Fire and Rescue Department in November 2021. Prior to joining Bedford County, she was an ICU nurse for 14 years at Bedford Memorial Hospital.

Blankenship is a licensed paramedic and nurse and possesses hundreds of hours of continuing education in various fields and practices related to emergency services, according to a statement from the county.

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Kathy Wolfe. Courtesy of Roanoke College.

Roanoke College names new dean

On the heels of selecting a new president, Roanoke College has selected a new dean of the college.  

Roanoke College today announces that Kathy Wolfe, a champion of integrative and experiential learning, has been named vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college. 

Wolfe has 28 years of teaching experience and 12 years in administrative leadership roles, most recently as dean of engaged education at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.

Wolfe will assume the dean’s position in July, replacing Richard Smith, who retired in the summer of 2021 after 12 years in the position.

At Hamilton College, Wolfe oversaw the ALEX initiative, which seeks to integrate and improve advising, academic support and experiential learning opportunities for students. Prior to that, she served two terms as dean of undergraduate programs and professor of English at Nebraska Wesleyan University, her alma mater. Between deanships there, she spent a year and a half with the American Association of Colleges and Universities as a senior fellow and interim vice president for integrative liberal learning and the global commons.  

Wolfe, who was a first-generation college student, holds a B.A. in English from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in English from Texas Christian University.

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