VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Monday, Tidewater Community College held a dedication ceremony for its new Regional Health Professions Center.
The federal program is funded by $30 million from state taxes.
While many important people spoke at the dedication, the man who caught WAVY.com's ear was a 46-year-old student, who is using the program to train for a new career after losing his old one.
As a radiation tech student, Al Faison spends a lot of time in the dark, but his sunny deposition draws you to him.
"Don't ever say you can't do it, cause you can," Faison said.
Faison is living proof. He worked at the now closed International Paper Mill in Franklin for 25 years. Now, he's starting over.
"Its a little flip flop. My wife says, 'have a great day at school, honey' to me and 'have a great day at work' to our son, you know," Faison laughed.
Faison is being trained on state-of-the-art radiology equipment that some hospital don't even have. In the respiratory labs, students practice on mannequins that react like real people.
"It's as real as it can be in an environment like this," TCC student Ashley Memken added.
That's why Senator Mark Warner got behind the $30 million program when he was governor.
Warner said, "We got to do more of this."
Ten of the top 20 fastest growing jobs are in healthcare and with baby boomers living longer, Warner believes the school is a sound investment.
"This really is a success story," Warner added.
And so is Faison, who is paying for school through a federal retraining program.
It's estimated that Hampton Roads will see a nearly 20 percent increase in healthcare-related jobs in the next decade. That's 8,000 job openings.
TCC's new health professions center is located on its Virginia Beach Campus on Princess Anne Road near Landstown High School.
A company has been hired to complete the repairs to the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks, but how long those repairs will take remains unknown.
Drivers traveling between Hatteras Island and the mainland were forced to use an emergency ferry Wednesday, following the sudden closure of the Bonner Bridge Tuesday.
State officials say construction on a new Bonner Bridge has been delayed for years because of a legal battle with an environmental group.