Shady Spring resident overcomes past, graduates with honors

[BEAVER, W.Va.] Andrew Redden dropped out of school during his senior year at Shady Spring High School in 2005 and began working three jobs. He soon realized that he would need training to find better employment opportunities. When he learned of the Flatwoods Job Corps Center, a no-cost education and technical training program offered through the U.S. Department of Labor in Coeburn, Virginia, he enrolled and earned his GED and welding certificate.

His new certifications led to opportunities for him in the mining industry and continued until he was laid off after nine years. “I went everywhere,” Redden said. “I was unemployed, we had small children and I needed to work.”

Through the United Mine Workers Union, he discovered New River Community and Technical College’s accelerated industrial technology program, allowing him to complete a two-year degree in 32 weeks.

Redden was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa academic honorary society at New River CTC in April, Phi Theta Kappa is a national honor society for community college students who have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher, and he celebrated his graduation during the college’s fourteenth commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 13 at the Chuck Mathena Center, Princeton. Now, his wife Felicia, a certified nursing assistant, plans to continue her education at New River CTC as well.

“This has been a team effort. I couldn’t have gone to school without her,” Redden explains. “I went from a high school drop-out to making the Dean’s List in college, and now I’m able to tell my story to inspire others. I want to let people know that I did this, and they can to.” Redden encourages youth as a volunteer coach for wrestling, football and baseball. He is looking for employment opportunities in his field and considering continuing his education at Bluefield State College or West Virginia University Institute of Technology in the future. Redden resides in Shady Spring with his wife and three children, Brooklyn, Brantley and Londyn.

For information on admissions and the programs offered at New River CTC, email or call 866-349-3739.

New River Community and Technical College serves nine counties in southeastern West Virginia from the Greenbrier Valley Campus (Lewisburg), Mercer County Campus (Princeton), Nicholas County Campus (Summersville) and Raleigh County Campus (Beaver/Beckley).