First PluggedIn Virginia Cohort Bodes Well at Laurel Ridge: All students earned National Certification as Certified Medical Administrative Assistants

For Immediate Release:
June 1, 2016

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

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 Laurel Ridge Community College received a $50,000 PluggedIn Virginia grant earlier this year.  The award made it possible to create a new program, PluggedIn Virginia (PIVA), to help students simultaneously complete their GED or increase basic skills (for high school graduates) while completing a Career Studies Certificate and earning a national certification.


The first PIVA program offered at Laurel Ridge was Medical Office Administration, a Career Studies Certificate established specifically for this program.  Classes began on February 8, 2016 and were completed on May 25, 2016.  Students committed to taking classes full-time, Monday-Thursday from 9:00 am-4:00 pm.  They spent two days in college classes, which included:

  • College Student Development
  • Keyboarding
  • Medical Terminology
  • Heatlhcare Information Systems
  • Medical Office Procedures.


The other two days included GED/Basic Education instruction and preparation for a Career Readiness Certification. Throughout the curriculum, students received training in digital literacy, soft skills, and job readiness preparation. Each participated in a capstone project.


All five students in the first cohort passed the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant National Certification exam (given on May 25, 2016) and all received the Microsoft Digital Literacy Certificate.


Joy Cary, Laurel Ridge PluggedIn Virginia Coordinator, said, “We are so proud of this group and all that they have accomplished in such a short window of time. The most exciting part is that several of these students have gained the confidence to continue their college studies into the fall with nursing pre-requisite classes! We will be working with the others to find employment where they can use their newly developed skills.”


The College plans to offer the program again on the Middletown campus this fall, and hopes to bring it to the Luray-Page County Center at a future date.

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(Pictured from left to right: Stephanie Mooney, Thamara Vazquez, Charris Brooks, Ashley Tinsman, and Stacy Beehler)


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College (Laurel Ridge) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College. Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.