by JEFF SAY
NextEra Resources is helping New Pathways fast track students into the workforce.
NextEra, a solar energy provider new to the Culpeper area, recently made a $5,000 donation to New Pathways to help students get a start on their career and technical education.
Shanelle Wilson, Project Director, NextEra Resources said it’s important to the company to help local nonprofits, such as New Pathways, as it shows a commitment to the community.
“Part of our business model as a company is making sure that we are good corporate citizens and we want to be invested in our community and give back where we feel it’s necessary,” Wilson said. “We think that this is a great organization that we feel will benefit a lot from this. I think in the long run our goals are aligned in trying to figure out ways for the community to be best prepared for the future ahead.”
Ed Dalrymple, of New Pathways, pointed out that students that attend New Pathways can start with a “fast forward” program that the state has instituted that helps with two-thirds of the program. With the donation from NextEra, students can have a head start on the other third of the cost. According to Ben Sherman, Germanna Community College Business and Career Coordinator, the program costs $12,000 and the state grant helps with all but $4,000 of it.
“It helps us bring students in and helps them get started in the programming,” Dalrymple said of the NextEra donation. “They can recruit them and provide services to other companies. So much of the training that’s done nowadays is useful to multiple companies. Donations like this make it possible for students to come into the program.”
Sherman said students can struggle to find ways to help cover the other third of the tuition, so this donation helps in that regard. He said that 10 students have already enrolled at New Pathways and another 19 have enrolled or completed the course at the neighboring American Institute of Welding.
“Words can’t express our gratitude to the companies that do this, because this is huge,” Sherman said.
Dalrymple said individuals have also come forward to offer donations, and said if anyone is interested in donating they can contact the Germanna Foundation or New Pathways itself. New Pathways inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.