PDCCC president and former board member visit Congress

Published 6:22 pm Friday, April 19, 2019

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Wendy Harrison


Paul D. Camp Community College President Dr. Daniel Lufkin, along with Executive Vice President/President of Amadas Industries and Founder/Owner of Pathfinder Associates LLC O. Kermit Hobbs Jr., joined more than 30 business and community college leaders from 12 states for the Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships Fly-In on April 3 and 4 in Washington, D.C. Hobbs is also a former board member at the college.

The focus of the engagement was to visit members of Congress and their staff in order to urge them to modernize our higher education system by providing more funding for high-quality, short-term training programs that prepare students for in-demand jobs; providing more federally funded student support services, such as child care and transportation assistance; and investing in partnerships between business and community colleges in order to provide high-quality training.

“These are common sense solutions that would deliver real results for our students working toward a post-secondary credential, our businesses, and the college,” said Lufkin.

Nearly two-thirds or 62 percent of small and mid-sized business leaders say it’s difficult to find and hire skilled workers, according to the Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships. Community and technical colleges play a critical role in ensuring workers and employers have the skills to succeed on the job and in their career.

But our federal education policies simply aren’t structured to support partnerships between businesses and community colleges — and they don’t do enough to help the working people who want and need training to take the next step in their career.

“Businesses are already working together with local community and technical colleges — to make sure they’re offering training programs that give people the in-demand skills they need to get hired. It’s time for lawmakers in Washington to also work together to ensure federal policies are structured to support our institutions and the businesses we serve,” Lufkin said.

Lufkin and Hobbs also shared insights with staffers from the offices of Rep. Bobby Scott, Rep. Donald McEachin, Sen. Tim Kaine and Sen. Mark Warner.

As a small business owner, Hobbs said that the Jumpstart our Businesses by Supporting Students Act really resonated with him.

“In today’s world we are seeing an unfortunate combination of willing workers needing jobs, along with well-paying, secure jobs needing the workers to fill them,” said Hobbs. “There should be a natural fit between them, but there is a missing link — the training needed to qualify the workers for the jobs. The proposed JOBS Act would help fill this gap by making funds available for skills training, qualifying more people to fill those jobs. It’s a win-win for workers and for business and industry.”

WENDY HARRISON is the public relations specialist for Paul D. Camp Community College. She can be reached at wharrison@pdc.edu.