The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

May 15, 2013

Vital cog


— Having an able workforce available is critical for any area’s future.

That’s why southern West Virginia is fortunate to have higher education options such as those afforded through New River Community and Technical College.

Nearly 300 men and women graduated with NRCTC degrees just this past weekend during the college’s 10th commencement.

Many of the grads were non-traditional students, most completing their degrees from between five and 20 years after finishing high school.

For that reason alone, giving these folks additional opportunities and hope in a flailing economy — that’s great.

But there’s much more to it.

NRCTC is an asset to our region and our state, not only by enabling its students to earn gainful employment, but to assure employers that they’re hiring highly skilled and properly educated men and women.

It’s a challenge, as technology and workplace needs are constantly evolving.

But that’s the beauty of community colleges like New River — they adjust to meet the demands and to suit the needs of the area.

For example, Roger Griffith, dean of the Greenbrier Valley campus, recently pointed out that Greenbrier East High School has the largest Future Farmers of America chapter in the state, making a vocational-agricultural program a natural for New River on his campus.

Common sense ideas like that will benefit us all.

This week, NRCTC announced the launch of Phase 2 of its capital fundraising drive.

New River President Dr. L. Marshall Washington stated that the capital campaign is targeting the college’s three areas of critical need: facilities, scholarships and technology.

The new president of the rapidly growing institution has certainly hit the ground running. Our first impression is that he is a leader with vision, combined with an understanding of our area’s needs and the college’s role in fulfilling them.

New River’s five campuses serve a nine-county region — Fayette, Greenbrier, Mercer, Monroe, Pocahontas, Nicholas, Raleigh, Summers and Webster.

NRCTC has 158 full-time employees itself, an important statistic to any local community.

With nearly $33 million already raised, NRCTC is seeking private contributions to reach its $40.2 million total funding goal.

These are exciting times for our region.

NRCTC is playing a key role is helping us realize and achieve our significant promise.

For more information on New River’s “Creating the Future” capital campaign, visit www.newriver.edu and click on “Foundation & Alumni” or call the Foundation’s office administrator, Lisa DeLilly, at 304-929-5485.