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$30,000 donation to help PHCC fund tiny house, mobile lab

MARTINSVILLE – Patrick Henry Community College’s research showed that Martinsville and its surrounding counties needed better access and more project-based learning opportunities for high-demand technical career fields.

When the PHCC staff saw the data, they started searching for ways to meet the need.

With the support of an anonymous donor, PHCC is moving forward with a two-fold plan.

The Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia recently made a grant to the PHCC Foundation from an anonymous donor-advised fund in the amount of $30,000.

The college plans to use the money to fund its current construction trades tiny house project and a new Advanced Manufacturing Mobile Training Lab.

“The Foundation is proud to support PHCC in its training initiatives in developing a highly-skilled workforce. The tiny house and the Advanced Manufacturing Mobile Training Lab will be wonderful assets in our community,” said April Haynes, Regional Vice President for Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia.

The Advanced Manufacturing mobile training lab is a 38-foot-long, fifth-wheel trailer that takes the classroom to the student.

The lab will be multifunctional.

PHCC can offer introductory training courses to K12 partners as well as customized training for employers needing quick specialized training options for their current workforce.

The mobile lab will also be used as a community engagement center to increase the awareness and perception of the many career options that are available locally in advanced manufacturing fields.

The mobile lab has been partially funded by the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and the Higher Education Equipment Trust Fund.

Additionally, PHCC plans to use $13,000 from the anonymous donation to further equip the lab with tools and supplies.

Thanks to all of the funding partners, the lab is set to launch in Fall 2019.

The remaining $17,000 from this donation will be used for the construction trades tiny house project.

In PHCC’s construction trades program, students work together to construct an entire tiny house.

This massive, multi-disciplinary effort started as a student project for Burr Fox’s carpentry class.

Soon it will become a cozy, livable home complete with air conditioning, plumbing, and electricity.

The grant will provide funding to purchase a flatbed trailer, materials, and appliances to complete the house.

Once completed, PHCC hopes to sell the home to ensure the sustainability of the construction trades programs.

The construction trades program is also known as the NCCER (National Council for Construction Education and Research) credential program.

Even though this program only began in 2018, the students enrolled have already earned 36 credentials in either carpentry, HVAC, or plumbing.

All of these, of course, are skills that are in high-demand in Martinsville and the surrounding counties.

“We are thrilled to have the extra funding we need to further these initiatives,” says Tiffani Underwood, the Director of PHCC’s Foundation. “Both the mobile lab and the tiny house project will serve to prepare students for well-paying jobs that are in high-demand locally. This kind of training is so needed in our area.”

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