VGCC receives $125,000 grant from The Cannon Foundation


The Cannon Foundation, based in Concord, North Carolina, recently awarded a $125,000 grant to the Vance-Granville Community College Endowment Fund. The funds will support VGCC’s Nursing Simulation Lab and Heavy Equipment Operator program simulators.

“With this grant, Vance-Granville Community College will continue to enhance our Nursing and Heavy Equipment Operator training programs, so that students can receive state-of-the-art preparation for their careers,” said VGCC President Dr. Rachel Desmarais. “We appreciate the Cannon Foundation’s commitment to workforce development and education.”

Part of the grant will provide needed equipment for the new, 4,000-square-foot Simulation Lab on VGCC’s Main Campus in Vance County. This lab has recently been relocated from its previous space on the campus of Maria Parham Health in Henderson. Much like it did at the previous location, the lab will provide students in Associate Degree Nursing and Practical Nursing with opportunities to train for a variety of real-life situations, using high-tech manikins. The life-like “patients” can be programmed to replicate a variety of medical diagnoses and conditions.

The other, larger portion of the grant funds will provide simulators of a different sort. The Heavy Equipment Operator program, based on VGCC’s Warren County Campus in Warrenton, will benefit from new, improved training simulators, on which students can practice in a safe, controlled way. The trainers simulate equipment such as bulldozers and excavators. The college’s HEO program is now a registered apprenticeship and per-apprenticeship program, and the updated simulation equipment will help align the training with current workforce needs.

“Our current Heavy Equipment Operator program has been in place since 2015 with the simulators we currently have through an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration,” explained Kyle Burwell, VGCC’s director of Occupational Extension & Human Resources Development. “I am thrilled at the opportunity offered to us by the Cannon Foundation to purchase additional simulation equipment to enhance our HEO program, so that students can practice and learn on updated equipment as they prepare to work in the field of Heavy Equipment Operation.”

The Cannon Foundation was formed in 1943 by Charles A. Cannon, chairman and president of the Cannon Mills Company. The Cannon Foundation continues his philanthropic legacy by funding primarily capital and infrastructure projects for organizations across the state of North Carolina. To date, the Cannon foundation has awarded grants totaling more than $305 million.

“This new grant from the Cannon Foundation is good news for our community, for the students who will use this equipment to learn, and for their future employers,” said Eddie Ferguson, VGCC endowment fund director. “VGCC continues to partner with a variety of funders to provide high-quality training for good jobs in fields like health care and construction.”

The Cannon Foundation has supported VGCC in the past, including a grant of $150,000 to help complete the renovation of Building 10 on the college’s Main Campus.

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