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Stacy Morris Welding@SVHEC student Stacy Morris has been awarded the Build Your Future scholarship from the national Trimmer Construction Education Foundation. Morris is only one of 10 to receive this year’s Trimmer Construction Education Foundation’s scholarship. Morris and the other scholarship recipients are featured in the December issue of ABC’s Construction Executive Magazine.

“I am honored to receive both scholarship opportunities to assist with completing my education, Morris said. “I will use the knowledge and skillset gained through Welding@SVHEC to pursue a career in welding.”

Morris started the Welding@SVHEC program in February 2015, and will complete the program in May 2017.  “I chose welding because of the industry’s high employment rates,” Morris stated. “Welding is a stable platform to build a career around. Working on different projects, getting to meet new people, and traveling throughout different parts of the country also contributed to my decision to pursue a welding career,” he said.

Morris also received the 2016 Old Dominion Electric Cooperative scholarship through the Southern Virginia Higher Education Foundation. “We are truly grateful to all organizations that have contributed to helping our participants achieve their educational goals,” said Vashon Canty, SVHEC Associate Director of Workforce and Industry Advancement.  “This is a huge accomplishment and success story for Stacy and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center,” she continued.  

Welding@SVHEC is a short term, accredited training program providing individuals with instruction in MIG, TIG, Stick, and Pipe welding. This non-credit program is accredited by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). Individuals who successfully complete Welding@SVHEC earn several industry-recognized certifications.

For more information about Welding@SVHEC visit email, or call 434-572-5488.

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First noncredit certification will be offered through SVHEC in partnership with Siemens

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) will be entering into a partnership with Siemens, a global technology company, to establish the only noncredit Level 3 Mechatronics training program in the world. The field of mechatronics combines mechanical, electrical, computer, and software and control engineering to design and manufacture products.

Until now, Siemens Level 3 certification has only been available at two universities in the United States and three worldwide: Middle Tennessee State University and California University of Pennsylvania, as well as Yeungnam University College in South Korea. The new SVHEC-Siemens partnership will now make this training and certification available as a noncredit option offered in a compressed timeframe.

“Noncredit workforce credentials are an essential part of building the new Virginia economy and preparing our students to be competitive members of the 21st century workforce,” Governor McAuliffe said. “We want our students to earn in-demand certifications and use those skills to help Virginia attract businesses, resources, and new investment. This innovative Level 3 Certification exemplifies SVHEC’s dedication to its students, the community, and the region, and I commend the partnership with Siemens to make this possible.”

“This unique partnership between SVHEC and Siemens will allow students to pursue a specialized credential in an exciting field,” Secretary of Education Dietra Trent stated. “As a native of Halifax, Virginia, I have seen firsthand how difficult it can be for students in Southside and Southwest Virginia to gain access to the global marketplace. That is why we are committed to ensuring that all of our students have access to world-class educational opportunities, and SVHEC is helping us to achieve that lofty goal.”

“Governor McAuliffe is a dedicated champion of fast-paced, intensive noncredit workforce training for globally recognized industry certifications that lead to skilled jobs with good wages and a great future, as demonstrated in Executive Order 23,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “SVHEC’s partnership with Siemens represents the pinnacle of what we hope to achieve in workforce certification training across the state. I am especially proud that one of only four such training programs in the world will be based in rural Virginia.”

Internationally recognized "gold-standard" certification now available to regional students and employers

Gordon, Soyars Earn Siemens CertificationSoVA Center of Manufacturing Excellence (SoVA CME) staff Will Soyars (pictured right) and Ricky Gordon recently traveled to Berlin, Germany to complete Siemens Level 2 Mechatronics Instructor Training. Soyars is the SoVA CME Industrial Maintenance/Mechatronics Program Leader and Gordon is the SoVA CME Programs Technician. They both received their Siemens Level 1 certification in 2015.

With two certified trainers on staff, SoVA CME in South Boston, VA can now offer Siemens Level 1 and Level 2 training. Siemens Mechatronics certification is recognized in the United States and around the world as the gold-standard in mechatronics certification. “The key point for industry to understand is that Siemens Mechatronics training is not about Siemens equipment or products. The training teaches the concepts and skills you should know as an entry-level industrial mechanic. Today, Siemens is the only one with a certification for that,” Soyars stated.

troycomerTroy Comer, SoVA Center of Manufacturing Excellence (SoVA CME) Welding Program Leader, has obtained welding educator certification through the American Welding Society (AWS). In July, Comer traveled to Louisville, KY to attend a weeklong seminar and complete a rigorous two-part assessment. Obtaining AWS certification means Comer will be nationally recognized as possessing the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to train other welders.

Comer has 17 years of welding experience, including owning and operating his own welding and fabrication business, Slap Nasty Customworks. He has served as a Welding@SVHEC instructor since 2014, and SoVA CME Welding Program Leader since January 2016. Starting August 2016, Comer will also serve as an adjunct welding instructor for Southside Virginia Community College welding classes being offered at the SVHEC.  

Registration is still open for Welding@SVHEC classes. For more information contact Troy Comer at 434-572-5492 or email