Partners launch job skill training efforts

gener8tor, SOVA Innovation Hub and Microsoft recently announced an effort to launch gener8tor Upskilling, a free training program to help Southern Virginia residents get critical digital skills for in-demand jobs. The program will kick off its first, virtual class on Oct. 19.

gener8tor Upskilling Southern Virginia will be open to all Southern Virginia residents seeking to develop new skills or enhance existing skills in Customer Service or Sales.

This five-week, cohort-based program will include

w Self-paced virtual curriculum from Microsoft and LinkedIn to learn skills for in-demand customer service or sales roles, and earn certifications and badges;

w One-on-one concierge support from the gener8tor team on the skills content, plus coaching on interview skills and resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter writing;

w Virtual access to a network of peers who can support each other and form a community; and

w Opportunities to interview with companies ready to hire candidates with these skills.

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Southside Virginia Community College named ‘2020 Great College to Work For’

Southside Virginia Community College is one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, according to a new survey by The Great Colleges to Work For program.

The results, released recently in a special insert of The Chronicle of Higher Education, are based on a survey of 221 colleges and universities. In all, 79 of the 221 institutions achieved “Great College to Work For” recognition for specific best practices and policies. Results are reported for small, medium and large institutions, with SVCC included among the medium colleges and universities with 3,000 to 9,999 students.

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$500,000 flows to help Halifax County businesses impacted by COVID-19

The town of South Boston is now under contract with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to administer the Halifax County Small Business Recovery Assistance Fund (SBRAF).

The town has been awarded $500,000 to help eligible businesses in Halifax County meet their long-term business goals by adjusting to COVID-19 demands.

This $500,000 grant is part of $8.4 million Community Development Block Grants announced Monday by Governor Ralph Northam.

The maximum benefit to any individual business is $10,000. This program will be operated on a reimbursement basis only.

Eligible expenses for the grant include retooling and technology activities and rent and mortgage.

The fund guidelines defines retooling and technology activities as space and technology upgrades that were completed to reopen the business and conduct business safely including purchases of furniture, barriers and technology such as laptops, software and touch-free credit card payment systems to accommodate social distancing.

Sanitization and job training, classes and/or technical assistance also are considered retooling and technology activities.

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Destination Downtown South Boston receives 2020 National Main Street Accreditation

ddsdDestination Downtown South Boston (DDSB) has been designated as a 2020 Accredited Main Street America program.

Accredited status is Main Street America’s top tier of recognition and signifies a demonstrated commitment to comprehensive commercial district revitalization and proven track record of successfully applying the Main Street Approach.

Patrice Frey, president & CEO of the National Main Center, said, “Accredited Main Street programs have proven to be powerful engines for revitalization by sparking impressive economic returns and preserving the character of their communities. During these challenging times, these Main Street programs will be key to bringing economic vitality back to commercial districts and improving quality of life during the recovery process.”

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Destination Downtown receives grant for COVID-19 small business recovery

Small businesses in downtown South Boston will get a boost to help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to $25,000 in grant funding recently awarded to Destination Downtown South Boston.

Gov. Ralph Northam’s office on Tuesday afternoon announced the award of $278,000 in Virginia Main Street Downtown Investment Grants to 18 communities throughout the Commonwealth, including South Boston.

Tamyra Vest, executive director of Destination Downtown South Boston explained that the grant funding would provide “vital economic support to our small businesses to help them overcome the temporary loss of revenue they have experienced.”

“The small businesses in downtown South Boston are vital economic engines in our community who have been severely impacted by COVID-19,” Vest said. “Destination Downtown South Boston wants to assist our small businesses with training and help them navigate through a recovery plan.”

Vest added funding would be available to downtown businesses attending training sessions and meetings.

The Department of Housing and Community Development administers Virginia Main Street grants, which can be used toward “implementing innovative strategies, plans and programs, capacity building, or design projects that help stimulate increased private investment,” according to a news release on Northam’s announcement of the grants.

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Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative leader tapped to represent Va. on national board

jlJohn C. Lee Jr., president and CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative in Chase City, and EMPOWER Broadband Inc. in Bracey, has been chosen by his peers to represent Virginia on the board of directors of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Lee was elected by representatives from each electric cooperative in the commonwealth to serve as the Virginia Director on the NRECA board at the July meeting of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives. He replaces Greg White, who recently retired from the NRECA Board and as president and CEO of Northern Neck Electric Cooperative in Warsaw.

NRECA is the Arlington-based trade association that represents the interests of more than 900 cooperatives and 42 million members across the country, as well as public power districts, and public utility districts. The board is composed of one representative from each of the 48 states served by electric cooperatives.

“I am honored that my colleagues here in the commonwealth trust in me to represent their best interests on the NRECA Board, and to champion matters that bring value to the distribution cooperatives and/or ODEC, and take a strong stand on issues that don’t,” Lee said. “I will do my utmost to validate their support by ensuring that our national organization does the right thing by those we serve, and dutifully represents our membership during these very challenging times in the electricity and technology arenas.

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Creating space for startups to bring products to fruition

tdSouth Boston’s town manager, Tom Raab, was elated when Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp. announced in early summer its plan for a Southern Virginia Tech Hub adjacent to its Southern Virginia Innovation Hub.

“That’s big for South Boston and Halifax County,” Raab says. “The locations will have the fastest free Wi-Fi in Southern Virginia.”

The Tech Hub, which will provide makerspace for startups and tech ventures, is the vision of Mid-Atlantic Broadband President and CEO Tad Deriso. After MBC obtains enough equity from investors, the planned $3 million, 13,200-square-foot Tech Hub will be built next to the Innovation Hub, which is scheduled to open in December.

A prime downtown location, the building will be built in a federal Opportunity Zone and State Enterprise Zone, offering federal, state and local tax breaks for investors and various enterprise zone grants and rebates for companies leasing space in the Tech Hub.

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County receives $10,000 tourism marketing grant

Halifax County Tourism has received $10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant Program, a new grant made available to Virginia’s Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) across the Commonwealth that have been heavily impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic to fund recovery marketing initiatives.

A total of $866,504 in marketing grant funds were awarded to 90 Destination Marketing Organizations as part of the DMO WanderLove Recovery Grant program.

Halifax County Tourism plans to use the VTC WanderLove grant funds to promote Halifax County as an inviting road-trip destination with print, social and digital media campaigns, according to LaTonya Hamilton, director of tourism.

She explained the campaigns would leverage Halifax County’s myriad road trip adventures to attract visitors here for three seasons. These road trip itineraries provide travel inspiration for outdoor recreation, hidden gems, small towns and Virginia’s signature LOVEworks program.

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