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SVHEC hosts meeting of Rural Jobs Council

The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center hosted the final meeting of the Workforce and K-12 Education Subcommittee of Governor Bob McDonnell’s Rural Jobs Council Monday in South Boston.

Committee members heard final presentations and prioritized recommendations for their final report to the governor.  

Dr. Nettie Simon-Owens, director of Workforce Services at the SVHEC and committee chairperson, welcomed attendees and called the meeting to order. 

SVHEC Executive Director Dr. Betty Adams provided greetings and thanked the governor and lieutenant governor for making rural Virginia a focus of their administration.

Jim Andre, education specialist at the Virginia Department of Education, and Kathleen Daly, instructional specialist at the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center, delivered a presentation on PluggedInVA. 

PluggedInVA is a career pathways program that prepares adult learners with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in postsecondary education, training and high-demand, high-wage careers in the 21st century. The program takes cohorts of adult learners through a six-month program that results in a GED and industry credentials.

Following a public comment period Monday morning, the subcommittee members prioritized their recommendations to the governor concerning K-12 education. Their recommendations focused on dual enrollment distance education courses, improving the teacher pipeline for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Healthcare (STEM-H) and marketing career pathways to students and parents.

During the afternoon session, subcommittee members discussed and prioritized their recommendations for adult workforce education. Recommendations focused on work readiness, the Virginia annual report card and expanding Work Ready Communities initiative across the commonwealth.

Dr. Simon-Owens expressed appreciation for the subcommittee member’s willingness to meet in Halifax County. 

 “As chair of this subcommittee and as a member of The Governor’s Rural Job Council, I am glad that the committee members and staff were able to meet at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center for this meeting,” she said. “It is always beneficial when decision makers are able to experience our organization and facilities.” 

She added, “The subcommittee’s work covers a lot of topics with significant breadth and depth. There is still quite a bit of work to be done to package our work into a final report, and I will continue working with state-level staffers to accomplish this task. The work of the subcommittee reflects short and long-term recommendations, some of which hopefully will be implemented during Governor McDonnell’s term and possibly others shared with our next governor.”  

Simon-Owens said, “I am equally grateful to Dr. Betty Adams, SVHEC executive director, for hosting this meeting and providing the opportunity for Halifax County and the SVHEC to be showcased to the meeting attendees from across Virginia.”

The Rural Jobs Council will hold its final meeting on June 12 in Richmond at which time the council is expected to submit its final report to the governor. 

For more information on the Rural Jobs Council, including the council’s work plan, membership and past meeting materials, visit