‘Wildly helpful:’ Community-college students enjoy first semester of tuition-free classes

At 37 years of age, Raymond Owen has gone from being the teacher to being the student.

The Lexington resident had been teaching school for several years, but unlike many who enter that profession, he was not feeling a true passion for standing in the classroom anymore. An emergency medical services training class prompted a career change to the Lexington and Staunton fire departments, and eventually Owen wound up signing up for paramedic studies at Blue Ridge Community College.

Unbeknownst to Owen, however, was the fact that while at BRCC, he qualified for the “Get A Skill, Get a Job, Get Ahead” [G3] program that provides tuition-free community college education for students who meet a certain criteria and are pursuing degrees in information technology, healthcare, public safety, early childhood education, and skilled trades, construction and manufacturing.

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