VGCC’s Dickens receives statewide award for Work-Based Learning

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Antoinette C. Dickens, Department Chair of Public Service and Work-Based Learning Coordinator for Vance-Granville Community College, was recently named the winner of the North Carolina Work-Based Learning Association (NCWBLA) Jon A. Young Award for 2020. This award recognizes the outstanding NCWBLA member of the year, one who exemplifies the ideals of Work-Based Learning by making significant contributions to the mission and goals of the association.

Work-Based Learning (WBL) is an academic program at VGCC that combines classroom studies with on-the-job, career-related work experience. The goal is to provide students with not only the curriculum to succeed but also with the hands-on and on-site experience they will need to succeed in the workforce.

“We congratulate Antoinette for being recognized at the state level for her talents and her contributions to Work-Based Learning,” said Dr. Rachel Desmarais, president of VGCC. “She has revised and streamlined the WBL processes at VGCC, helping our students gain skills and prepare for promising careers.”

A resident of Rolesville, Dickens has served as the WBL Coordinator at VGCC since 2016. Under her leadership, the Work-Based Learning program saw a 27% increase in student hours completed from 2018-2019 to 2019-2020. In her other role at the college, Dickens provides leadership for several curriculum programs: Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Early Childhood Education and Paralegal Technology.

She has served in leadership roles at the NCWBLA, as an at-large board member and as Treasurer.

“WBL is an experiential class/program that provides students with the opportunity to apply theories and skills learned in class to the workplace,” Dickens noted. “It is a win-win-win situation for all parties involved! First, students are able to gain experience and work skills needed to be successful in their careers. Second, employers benefit from having students and graduates who possess the skills and education to successfully meet their employment needs. And third, VGCC benefits from WBL in that it allows the college to forge new community relationships, or strengthen existing ones.”

Dickens started her higher education at VGCC, earned a Paralegal Certificate from the American Institute of Paralegal Studies, and later completed a bachelor’s degree in Justice Studies at North Carolina Wesleyan College, and a master’s degree in human services counseling: criminal justice at Liberty University.

She has held a variety of positions in the justice system, as a deputy Clerk of Superior Court in Vance County, a legal assistant in the District Attorney’s office in Oxford, a juvenile court counselor, and a paralegal working for law firms in Louisburg, Warrenton and Raleigh. Dickens was an instructor for VGCC’s Criminal Justice Technology program from 2004 through 2010. She rejoined VGCC in 2013 as the first person to head the college’s Paralegal Technology program.

For more information on participating in WBL at VGCC, contact Dickens at (252)-738-3609 or dickensa@vgcc.edu.

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