Last updated: March 20. 2014 9:23PM - 589 Views
By Tanya Chilton tchilton@civitasmedia.com

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Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of articles on Surry Community College and its impact on the community.

The Surry Community College Elkin Center still has as its primary purpose to provide Surry Community College classes, but increasingly it has utilized the location to meet needs of the individuals, groups and businesses in the community.

Elkin Center Director Ray Hall said, “I would like the community to realize, I need to go to the Elkin Center and see what they can do for me.”

Core programs at the Elkin Center are certified nursing assistant (CNA), criminal justice certification and classes (CJC) and the High School Equivalency School (HES), each of which meet four days a week there.

The Elkin Center also is host to a large number of events for groups including Elkin Valley Trails, Elkin Parks and Recreational Department, the Over Mountain Park Trail, Yadkin Valley County Heritage Corridor, Elkin Police Department and several committees, said Ray Hall, director of the Elkin Center.

It is open to any business and industry as long as they go through the process for using it, said Hall.

Pittsburgh Glass Works in Elkin does employee testing and training at the Elkin Center. Applications for the company are submitted online at the SCC Elkin Center where potential employees report to be tested. Other companies such as Lydall and Walmart also use the center, said Hall.

Mayor Lestine Hutchens contributed in making the vision turn into a reality and called the multi-approach of its use a winning approach, he said.

Customized Industry Training came to the SCC Elkin Center two years ago in May, with a mission to support local and existing business and industry in Surry and Yadkin counties, said Director of Customized Training Service Sam Brim and SCC Business and Industry Specialist Denise Brown.

Specifically, training goals are to develop long-term partnerships with business and industry, increase student enrollment and assist new small business start-ups and existing small businesses. The partnership plan involves pre-employment screening, leadership and development in key areas, continuous improvement, maintenance of necessary skills and response to global business initiatives.

The meeting space hosts conferences, provides open training sessions and a computer lab. They maintain training records and have an advisory program as part of the continued improvement process. They offer business support programs through internships, a co-op program, Project Still Up Program, Back-2-Work, and College Central.

The focus is win, win, win, said Brim and Brown. Brown said they are connecting the win dots between the school, the students, the business marketplace and stakeholders.

Brown said their approach helps companies and the college become more successful by a focus on cost efficiency improvements and providing skilled students marketable in the workplace.

When it comes to small business and localized industrial training, the Elkin facility provides rooms and equipment in addition to instruction. Coordinator of the SCC Small Business Center Susan Coble is coordinating the Get your Business Online seminar for small businesses next week.

Also available at the Elkin Center is a Career Readiness Pre-accessment test that helps determine skill levels in a particular area and key training that may be needed. Once identified, SCC then provides key training assistance in order to get a Career Readiness Certificate. Bronze, Silver or Gold certificates may be awarded.

Anyone needing to take the test to receive a Career Readiness Certificate may do so for a fee since some businesses now require the certificate.

Brim added, “It is still surprising that people do not really realize what we can do to help them be successful. Part of the partnership is networking.”

Partnering with economic development and area business chambers is also a big part of what the team does, said Brim.

Brown added, “We hear some of the companies look at North Carolina because of the partnership and customized industry program and is a lot of the reason companies look at our program. When someone comes off the street, we try to get them connected to where they need to be. We are always trying to connect those dots to wherever they need to be connected.”

Brim said the importance of making others feel comfortable remains high with an emphasis on the words: will, can, simplistic and respectful.

“Whether it is young students who did not complete high school, as well as the older worker,” Brim said things have changed dramatically. If someone is not up to speed on what may be required, “our job is to make them feel comfortable and it is OK and (that) we are there through the process.”

Tanya Chilton may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @TanyaTDC.

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