My return to higher education occurred when Virginia Highlands Community College (VHCC) offered free tuition based on “Covid Cares” funds. I had been a stay-at-home father and homeschool teacher for years; before that time, I was employed in my native United Kingdom from age 16. It has been 30 years since I was in school. Precision Machining has always been an interest of mine, and when my wife, an instructor at VHCC, encouraged me to go back to school, I was thrilled by the opportunity. I knew a career was the next season of life, but until this opportunity, I did not know what I would do. The moment I met my instructor, Johnnie Keene, and my cohort, I felt at home and engaged with the process. I learned about the Mount Rogers program in my first week of classes, and I was keen to earn the tools and learn valuable workplace skills. Tamara Grimm, my Mount Rogers instructor, and my facilitator Hannah Ingram were fantastic; they were always available and able to answer any question. They were flexible with schedules and encouraging about progress. My wife, my children, and my family in England were behind me and provided encouragement and support. I learned that anything is possible if you set your mind to it: for example, I did not think I was good at math, but I was able to pick up the skills and move forward. I have so much fun while learning machining that a transition into the workforce is a welcome prospect. This experience has been life-changing because I feel prepared for the workforce and eager to put my learned skills into practice.
Mount Rogers Regional Adult Education Program
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