Germanna Community College has ambitious plans to help students get on the path to high-paying, in-demand jobs, and a $20,000 Visionary Grant from the Community Foundation will allow the community college to do just that.

In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the Community Foundation is giving out four Visionary Grans totaling $80,000 in 2017.

The board of governors voted to award the second Visionary Grant, in the category of education, to Germanna because “it is a project that can create change in the community and told a story about student success in our community in the future,” said executive director Teri McNally.

A group of staff, board members and guests surprised Germanna administrators Thursday morning with a check and a gift box for students. Dean of Arts and Sciences Shashuna Gray got emotional during the presentation.

“This means so much,” she said.

The money will go toward redesigning the school’s website so students have a better idea of what is needed for a degree and what jobs are available in the region.

Rather than just choosing classes, the redesigned website will allow students to peruse career tracks and choose a complete study plan. That plan would show what classes they need to take and in what order, saving students money and time, Gray said.

The website will also show within a 100-mile radius what jobs are open and in demand, and which are on the decline.

Gray said they intended to start the program next year, rolling out the new website in 2019. With the funds already in hand, they can immediately seek a contractor to complete the site in 2018.

Kemp said this is part of an overall project to support student wellness and academic achievement.

He said The Community Foundation has also supported Germanna’s efforts to develop a nature trail, supports student health, and donated to help the campus create a video helping students identify and prevent dating violence.

“It’s all about student success,” he said.

The Community Foundation will award two more Visionary Grants in 2017 to nonprofits in the categories of arts and human services.

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Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976

lestes@freelancestar.com

@flslindley

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