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Probationers posing with their heavy equipment operators certificates
Agency News

Nine VADOC Probationers Earn Heavy Equipment Operator Certification through Partnership with Southwest Va. Community College

June 17, 2024

Probation and Parole districts across Virginia continue to provide professional development opportunities, reentry resources, and many additional means of support to supervisees across the Commonwealth.

District 43, Tazewell Probation and Parole, recently highlighted this support for probationers through a collaboration with Southwest Virginia Community College in Cedar Bluff.

Nine probationers walked across the stage in June, receiving certificates for the Heavy Equipment Operator program offered through Southwest Virginia CC at their Southern Gap Transportation and Logistics Center.

The probationers earned their certificate for successful completion of a seven-week program from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). The program includes instruction on the operation of backhoes, bulldozers, excavators, and front-end loaders with experienced, professional instructors. Successful class completion also included certification in NCCER Core Curriculum, OSHA 10, first aid/CPR/AED training, Intermediate Work Zone Safety Flagger training, and solar panel installation.

Tuition for the program is available at no cost for the probationers or VADOC, thanks to the partnership with Southwest Virginia CC.  

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Construction Laborer and Helper positions are expected to grow 4 percent from 2022 to 2032, with more than 151,000 openings projected each year over the decade. The median annual wage for the positions was $44,310 in May 2023.

“This type of partnership should be celebrated by all Virginians,” said VADOC Director Chad Dotson. “Giving supervisees the tools to secure a high-quality job greatly helps the reentry process, which increases long-term public safety across the Commonwealth. I thank Southwest Virginia Community College, District 43 Chief Probation and Parole Officer Chris Shortt and the entire District 43 office, and these probationers for their willingness to commit to learning new skills.”

“I want to say a special thank you to Jamie Hackney, the dean of workforce development at Southwest Virginia Community College, and his staff for this partnership,” said District 43 Chief Probation and Parole Officer Chris Shortt. “I also have to say thank you to District 43 Adult Education teacher Rick Blevins, and our probation and parole officers who worked so hard on this project and sometimes even transported probationers to class. We’re here to make sure supervisees excel.”

The VADOC’s probation and parole officers enhance public safety by helping probationers and parolees lead more pro-social lives and assist those who have been incarcerated to transition back into society after release.​ More information about probation and parole in Virginia can be found on the VADOC website.

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