Laurel Ridge signs partnership agreement with Opportunity Scholars and Shenandoah University

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For Immediate Release:
May 11, 2022

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

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner meets Opportunity Scholars students

Laurel Ridge Community College is excited to partner with Opportunity Scholars and Shenandoah University to help high school students from middle- and lower-income families attain a higher education. The entities are signing a memorandum of understanding May 18.

Opportunity Scholars provides the up-front costs of education and career training – including short-term training – as a way to provide economic mobility for all families. More than 100 students in one academic year have already been engaged in the program, which creates a pipeline of workers ready to support professional, career and technology industries.

“We believe that by joining forces with like-minded partners, we can empower every student with the tools for success and touch future generations,” said Opportunity Scholars CEO Knox Singleton. “By 2025, we hope to have enrolled 1,000 students in the program, putting them on the course toward high-demand, high-paying professions.”

The agreement is intended to enable students to pursue a career in their own communities with sustainable wages at the least cost to themselves and their families in one of these high-demand and high-skilled areas: public service, healthcare, education, business, IT and trades.  

As part of the agreement, Opportunity Scholars will pay for and provide personal, career and academic mentoring for high school and college preparation, as well as most of the expenses related to earning a degree or certification. Opportunity Scholars staff will articulate transfer pathways from Laurel Ridge to SU for those careers that require a bachelor’s degree.

In return, among Laurel Ridge’s obligations are helping high school students choose the right curriculum for their chosen pathways so they are able to take advantage of dual-enrollment classes; sharing with Opportunity Scholars advisors, students and parents plans and pathway information demonstrating how students can earn credentials, certificates and degrees; and providing high school seniors with information on financial aid, new student onboarding and other initiatives.

Additionally, Laurel Ridge will ensure students have a smooth transition from high school to college, will refer potential students to the Opportunity Scholars program if those students are interested in one of the targeted fields, and will train career coaches and dual-enrollment specialists to provide program continuity with Opportunity Scholars.

“The Opportunity Scholars program will provide many students an avenue to pursue training and education beyond high school that will put them on a pathway to success,” said Dean, Early College and High School Partnerships Brenda Byard. “The partnership with Laurel Ridge Community College will ensure students can begin the pathway while still in high school. Opportunity Scholars is a model program to create equitable opportunities and the talent pipeline in our communities.”

Learn more about the program at

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner meets Opportunity Scholars students


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — 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 is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources, [email protected]173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.

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.