Educational opportunities are opening up in a Valley community hit hard by layoffs over the last couple of years.
It's day one of classes at the new Lord Fairfax Community College satellite center in Luray. Efforts to bring the center to the area have been going on for several years. The school is offering 23 classes this semester, in addition to offering job training for people laid off from places like Wrangler. But like any new start up, the school is still trying to get the word out, any way it can.
"One of the best was a young woman who came in with a crumpled up class registration paper and I offered her a new one and she said oh great," says Gail Price the Director of Luray-Page County Center. "She found it on the street and that's how she knew about the classes and she came and enrolled for three classes."
The new branch is still accepting applications. For more information, log onto www.lfcc.edu or call 540-868-7000.
And a number of students at the Luray campus try and start over after more than 20 years on a job, lacking this promise.
"I need to educate myself a little more and start learning new trades because the way it looks, there's not going to be any factory work around here," says student Melissa Hart.
Hart and her friend Sylvia Sintas used to work at Luray's Wangler plant. Now, they’re both starting school all over again.
"When you're older and you've been with the plant for a long time it's real hard to start over and go into new things, but we're kind of anxious about it," says Sintas.
"We're working very closely with people who have recently in the last couple years lost their jobs in manufacturing and are looking to find other ways to earn a living for their families," says Gail Price the Director of Luray-Page County Center.
That chance is happening here, at Luray's new satellite campus for Lord Fairfax Community College. Providing new hope and opening a number of doors.
"A lot of medical doors," adds Sintas. "I want to get into medical offices and maybe later on become a nurse."
"It's something different," says Hart. "We have to get out there and we have to learn new skills and go with the younger group and try to learn how to do things."
Both Hart and Sintas are taking full schedules and will try and balance that time along with their families.