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White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities visit Gadsden State

Taniesa L. Sullivan | The Weekly Ledger News | GSCC

Gadsden, Ala. – A group with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities visited Gadsden State Community College’s Valley Street Campus today as a part of a tour that will take them to four Alabama community colleges with the HBCU designation. The Valley Street Campus is the area’s only HBCU.

PHOTO: Kelsey Ruiz, a Gadsden State student in the Dental Assistant Program, speaks to members of the White House Initiative for HBCU during their visit to the Valley Street Campus.

“We feel privileged to have the opportunity to meet with such a great group of workforce development leaders,” said Ricky Tillis, Valley Street Campus director. “We are proud to show them the valuable and important programs we have on our campus, and we are appreciative of the feedback and advice they have provided.”

PHOTO: Ricky Tillis, campus director, speaks to members of the White House Initiative for HBCUs and students in the Construction Technology program on the Valley Street Campus.

A group of 15 was a part of the Valley Street Campus visit representing the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Jobs for the Future, the Alabama Office of Apprenticeships, and the Alabama Department of Commerce. Other guests representing the City of Gadsden, Gadsden Career Center, Gadsden City Schools, and the WIOA Board of Directors were also in attendance.

The visit kicked off with a historical overview of Valley Street Campus, which opened its doors in 1960 as a private vocational training school for Black Americans. A campus tour followed with stops in the Dental Assisting Program, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Certified Nursing Assistant Program, Construction Technology, and HVAC Technology.

“We had student speakers on each tour stop,” Tillis said. “They did a fantastic job telling their story as well as sharing the important role Gadsden State plays in their lives. Our guests were very impressed with what they saw on the tour – both in terms of our equipment and facilities as well as our students.”

The visit ended with breakout sessions that provided opportunities to have more conversations about programs at Gadsden State as well as federal programs and partnerships available to the College.

“We are grateful and appreciative of the White House Initiative members’ time, knowledge, and energy that they provided to us today,” said Dr. Kathy Murphy, president of Gadsden State.

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