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Caroline drawing college’s interest

Germanna Community College is taking the first steps toward opening a campus in Caroline County.

Caroline officials approved giving the school up to $42,000 per year for three years to rent temporary space in the county for workforce development.

“This action by the Caroline County Board of Supervisors will help us to soon be able to offer outreach and training opportunities that are easily accessible to Caroline residents,” Germanna President David A. Sam said in a statement.

“Our long-term vision is to grow with the county and eventually have a permanent location in the heart of Caroline. This action is a first and important step toward that goal.”

The school is in search of space that would be suitable for classes and will soon put out a request for proposals, said Germanna spokesman Mike Zitz.

A space has not been identified yet, but the target area for Germanna is in the Ladysmith area, off Interstate 95, Zitz said.

“Our plan is to start out small with a few classrooms. We’ll grow with the educational needs of the region,” Zitz said.

During the discussion at the Caroline Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, all six supervisors expressed support for bringing Germanna to the county, but wanted more information.

The initial class offerings will be workforce classes, which will not be for credit.

“There are jobs that go unfilled because there aren’t workers who have the skills,” Zitz said. “We try to help closer that gap.”

He said there’s a lot of interest in Caroline County.

“We expect Caroline County to grow pretty quickly in the near future and we expect new companies to be coming in there,” Zitz said. “When they do we’d like to hire people from Caroline and not outside.”

There were 400 students from Caroline enrolled at Germanna in credit classes last fall, Zitz said.

Germanna already has a dual enrollment program with Caroline High School.

Through an articulation agreement with Germanna, Caroline High dual enrollment courses meet both high school and college course requirements and the students can earn college credit.

Germanna already has campuses in Orange, Culpeper and Spotsylvania counties and is in the process of opening a Stafford campus.

The college rents classroom space in the Aquia complex off U.S. 1 in Stafford, as well as other space for its automotive technology center.

If it opens a permanent campus, the temporary locations would close.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413