The Dickenson Center for Education and Research was established to provide educational opportunities and work force training for the citizens of Dickenson County. The primary educational focus will consist of course offerings generally required the first two years of college and will be coordinated with Mountain Empire Community College and Southwest Virginia Community College. Work force training will concentrate on the mining and gas industries with specific training made available for any industry upon request.
The Dickenson Center for Education and Research (DCER) is the property of the Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority and is governed by a nine member board made up of local citizens representing various entities of the community. DCER was developed through the efforts of the IDA in obtaining a $4 million grant from Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority to renovate an existing shell building into an educational and work force training facility. The research component depends on the emerging industry of carbon capture and storage and the future need of a field laboratory in Dickenson County. DCER has the space and infrastructure to accommodate this need should it become a reality.
In addition to the $4 million grant from VCEDA, grants for construction and equipping the facility with the latest technology and furniture were obtained from the following agencies.
- Virginia Tobacco Commission - $312,500
- U. S. Department of Agriculture - $225,000
- Appalachian Regional Commission - $100,000
- Federal Directed Grant - $95,000
- Columbus Phipps Foundation - $27,500
- Dickenson County Board of Supervisors - $25,000
DCER began operation August 18, 2008 with a modest beginning. Since opening, community use of the facility, college classes, and work force trainings have continued to increase significantly. It is expected that DCER will play a very prominent role in the future for Dickenson County citizens as the importance of work force training and education continue to increase.
DCER is not accredited by any professional educational agency. Credit classes are offered through a sponsoring community college or four year college that is accredited according to their operational guidelines and accrediting agency.
DCER does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, veteran status, political affiliation, disability, or age in its programs and activities.
Facts and Figures
School Year 2008-2009
Enrollment – 379
Workforce Training Activities – 303
College Academic Classes – 67
Grounds – The Dickenson Center for Education and Research is located in the Dickenson County Technology Park on 11 acres of property on the outskirts of Clintwood, Virginia. The facility has a paved parking area that can accommodate up to 100 vehicles and an overflow parking facility capable of parking up to several hundred additional cars.
Inside – The facility is designed to meet the educational and workforce training needs of the college student and the everyday industry worker. The facility consists of:
Four general purpose lecture classrooms; one biology/chemistry laboratory; one computer laboratory; one nursing classroom; two industrial training classrooms; two conference rooms; one distance learning online classroom; one distance learning video conferencing classroom; one small group seminar classroom; and one multipurpose training hall.
Future plans for the Dickenson Center for Education and Research are to become the one stop center for the educational and workforce training needs of the citizens of Dickenson County. Efforts will continue to focus on offering college classes for graduating seniors through the community colleges and continuing education opportunities for professional groups on an as needed basis. A second priority will be to continue to develop and coordinate training opportunities for the mining and gas industries that are so prevalent in our region. Thirdly, in the distant future, DCER will promote career development opportunities such as nursing, medical coding, pipe welding, and vocational trades. The final component of the future plans for the Center will be in the area of research, probably relating to the energy field.
Hours of Operation
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (M-F)
Weekday Classes Times Vary
Evening Classes Times Vary
Saturday Classes Times Vary
Board of Directors
The Dickenson Center for Education and Research has a nine member board of directors that is responsible for seeing to the day to day operation of the Center by developing policies and standard guidelines and procedures.
Dr. Jewell Askins – Dickenson County School Board Representative
Dr. Richard Phillips – MECC Representative
Dr. Mark Estepp – SWCC Representative
Mr. Phillip Deel – Community Representative
Mr. Mike Ratliff – Community Representative
Mr. Donnie Rife – Board of Supervisors Representative
Mr. Gary Cowden – Natural Gas Industry Representative
Mr. Donnie Ratliff – Coal Mining Industry Representative
Mr. Roger Deel – Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority Representative
Mountain Empire Community College, Big Stone Gap, VA; phone 276-523-2400
Southwest Virginia Community College, Richlands, VA; phone 276-964-2555
Tri County Driving Academy, Lebanon, VA; phone 276-794-7660
The Dickenson Center for Education and Research does not have any financial aid help available to students. Students should contact financial aid offices at MECC and SWCC for assistance in applying for financial aid. The Clinch Valley Works WIA office located in the DCER may also be able to provide financial assistance to prospective students who meet certain income and employment requirements. The WIA office can be reached by calling 276-926-4865.