Story by: Mike Zitz

Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine visited Germanna’s Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper on Friday, February 23, to present the College with federal funding to support the Davenport Early Childhood Development Fellowship and the Great Expectations program. 

Sens. Warner and Kaine presented $2,428,000 in federal funding to the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education to improve early childhood education programming and support education access and success for foster youth in Virginia. 

Senators visit
Sens. Warner and Kaine presenting the check to Germanna

The funding, secured by the senators as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 government spending bill, includes $105,000 to support two programs at Germanna: the Davenport Early Childhood Development Fellowship, which supports students pursuing careers in early childhood education, and the Great Expectations program, which assists foster youth who are aging out of the system in completing their education and transitioning to independent living. 

During their Germanna visit, Warner and Kaine tried their hands on the heavy equipment simulators at the Daniel Center. The simulators train Germanna students for jobs that pay well in infrastructure improvement on Virginia's roads, serving thousands of students, including some from the Great Expectations program, and supports core craft, electrical, heavy equipment operation, automotive technician, and general studies education. 

Warner said, "With this kind of hands-on experience, I have to say our community colleges do an extraordinary job of training Virginians."

Senator Tim Kaine trying out Germanna's heavy equipment simulator at the Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper

Kaine, Warner, Dr. David Doré, chancellor of Virginia's Community College System, Germanna president Dr. Janet Gullickson, and Amy Frazier, CEO and president of the Culpeper Chamber, took part in a roundtable discussion with Germanna students who are benefitting from these programs.

Kaine noted that his wife, former Virginia Secretary of Education and First Lady Anne Holton, helped launch the VCCS Great Expectations program: “Imagine being 18 years old and not knowing who to go to for advice. It makes my wife enormously proud to see this program going on." 

“Mark and I love going to bat for community colleges,” Kaine said. “In terms of batting average success,” he said about pitching, "the (U.S. Senate) Appropriations Committee for [college] programs like this, I will say Germanna probably has the highest batting average.”

Taylor Landrie, Germanna's Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives, said Great Expectations students at Germanna can receive $3,000 stipends from the grant to help them with their education and assist in making the transition to independence. The funds will support up to 200 Great Expectations students state-wide on a first- come, first served basis, she said.

Studies have shown that youth aging out of the foster care system at 18 have an increased risk of homelessness and incarceration as compared to others their age.

The Great Expectations program began in 2008 with a challenge grant from the Fried family. The program started out by serving students in five colleges and now helps thousands of foster youth in all 23 of Virginia’s community colleges.

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