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MARTINSVILLE, VA – Patrick Henry Community College can now certainly call its Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Training program an award-winning program. This week, the high-tech program garnered two separate awards back-to-back. 

During a virtual ceremony published on Wednesday, PHCC received the Workforce Development Award from Community Colleges of Appalachia. PHCC was one of three colleges honored this year across the Appalachian region. The CCA 2021 Awards ceremony can be viewed at this link www.ccofapp.org/videos

During the virtual ceremony, a CCA representative, Dr. Nicholas Neupauer, said, “[Community Colleges of Appalachia] members are very forward-thinking bright agile and frankly smart individuals. [The award winners] represent the very best of CCA.”

During a virtual ceremony released on Thursday, PHCC received a Creating Excellence Award for its Industry 4.0 program. PHCC’s program was one of 10 career and technical education (CTE) programs in the state to earn this award which is presented by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). The Creating Excellence Award honors exemplary contributions of organizations that improve the quality of career and technical education.

To the award winners, Sharon Morrissey, the Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic & Workforce Programs at the Virginia Community College System, said “Congratulations to your innovative faculty and staff for their outstanding achievements in CTE. Their work will serve as a model for other community college/school division partnerships.” 

From the time PHCC began offering Industry 4.0 training in 2018, students have earned over 1,000 certifications. The college was also the first institution in the nation to offer all three levels of Industry 4.0 training. Because of this high-achieving program, PHCC was named an National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) Leadership School and became the first institution in America to be named a NC3/Festo Center of Excellence. Because of the high-demand nature of Industry 4.0 workers, this program has also been instrumental in recruiting employers in the advanced manufacturing sector to this region. 

“We are so proud of what our incredible instructors and our dedicated students have been accomplishing in our CTE programs,” says Rhonda Hodges, PHCC’s Vice President of Workforce, Economic and Community Development. “I call our Industry 4.0 instructors ‘rock stars’ all the time because they truly have been staying on the cutting edge of this innovative and much-needed training. They’re ensuring that the graduates we send to our local industry partners are competitive on a global level with the most up-to-date and in-demand advanced manufacturing skills.”

In light of the success of this Industry 4.0 program, the college has decided to expand its advanced manufacturing options this fall. Students will soon be able to take two separate advanced manufacturing tracks simultaneously: Mechatronics Level 1 and Festo Industry 4.0 Level 1 Fundamentals. In this new hybrid program, called Dual Track: Automation and Robotics, students can earn both credentials in one semester – half the time it would traditionally take to earn each credential.

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