Opportunity is all about taking advantage of the tools and training that you are given.
This theme rang clear as Thad and Mary Jane Ussery spoke with Richmond Community College Welding Technology students during a visit to the Forte Building this week.
“I was fortunate to get the training I received,” said Mr. Ussery, who gained welding, drafting and engineering skills through four years of apprenticeship and work on the railroad before starting Richmond Steel in 1968.
“Now you can get that training here at RCC,” he said. “I didn’t have that option.”
By giving to the Forte Building Capital Campaign, the Usserys hope to increase options for RCC students. The renovation and expansion of the existing structure will result in more classroom space, upgraded facilities and better equipment so that students can get the tools they need to land high-skill jobs in today’s tough economy.
“RCC is going to be one of the keys to growth for this area,” said Ussery. “Because when you train people for higher skill jobs, that brings higher skill and higher paying jobs here, to our county.”
A lead gift for the Forte Campaign, the couple’s investment will be honored in the naming of the Thad and Mary Jane Ussery Welding Technology Program.
“We want to pay tribute to two people who have shown unshakable enthusiasm and conviction for the mission of this college and the role that it plays in the community,” said RCC President Dale McInnis.
“On top of their financial commitment to the Forte Project, Mr. Ussery devotes such a significant amount of time to playing an active role on the Forte Building Steering Committee and the RCC Foundation Board of Directors,” said McInnis.
“Mr. and Mrs. Ussery established an RCC Foundation scholarship for Welding students; they support Foundation operations as members of the Director’s Circle; they are always looking for opportunities to help our students, faculty and staff,” added McInnis.
Near the end of class, as students asked questions and chatted one-on-one with Mr. Ussery, he had a chance to reflect on different aspects of his welding experience and the value of the training he received.
“You have to work hard, but it’s a good trade, with gratifying rewards, and I enjoyed it,” he said.
“A good welder can always find work.”
For more information about Richmond Community College and the RCC Foundation visit www.richmondcc.edu.