“Our goal is to provide local industry with the trained workforce they need.” – Dan Horine, USA

With college tuition rates rising and preparation for the 21st century workforce a more urgent priority than ever before, more U.S. students are turning to community colleges for their smaller class sizes and skills-oriented curriculum. Community college program head Dan Horine knows first-hand how the needs of employers are driving enrollment and schools like Virginia Western Community College. The 70-acre campus has grown from 1,352 students when the school opened in 1966 to over 10,000 today.

In fact, Horine says that the impetus for starting the school’s Regional Advanced Technology Academy came from the area’s businesses. He told the local newspaper, “Our goal is to provide local industry with the trained workforce they need.”

To do this, Horine has helped to create a dual enrollment program, targeting students while they’re still in high school. Key to reaching these digital-native younger students are online programs like Tooling U, which partners with educators to provide accessible training in manufacturing skills.

Connecting students with real-life skills is increasingly important, whether they’re using the global standard work tools in Office 365, or acquiring the specific trade skills that local employers are demanding. And innovative educators like Dan Horine are helping to lead the way. Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure.

What drew you to the field of education? Why is it important to you? 

Education is the most gratifying profession. Education is the key to our future. 

Can you tell us about a favorite teacher, or someone who made a difference in your education? 

Ms. Brooks, Brookville High School, Lynchburg, Virginia. She was my inspiration because of her enthusiasm.

How have you applied technology in innovative ways to support your work? 

Curriculum online with Tooling U, Festo’s online portal, Blackboard, Siemens online portal.

In your opinion, how has the use of apps, cellphones, and mobile devices changed education? And your work? 

Access 24/7. 

In your view, what is the most exciting innovation happening in education today?  

Collaboration and the systems approach. 

Is there a 21st century skill (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, or creativity and innovation) that you are most passionate about? Why?

Mechatronics – it’s the key to keeping manufacturing in United States. 

If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be? Why? 

Their favorite book, because reading is the key.

What is your country doing well currently to support education? 

Working together and involving Industry. 

How must education change in your country to ensure that students are equipped to thrive in the 21st century?

Stay connected to the workplace. 

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome to ensure students are receiving a quality education? 


How can teachers or school leaders facing similar challenges implement what you’ve learned through your work? 

Get over yourself and work together. 

How have you incorporated mobile devices/apps into your classroom and have you seen any improvements? 

Tooling U-SME is extremely critical to giving access to curriculum on mobile devices.

About Dan Horine, Program Head, Mechatronics Systems Engineering Technology and Energy Management, Virginia Western Community College
Bedford, Virginia, USA

  • Birthplace: Charleston, South Carolina
  • Current residence: Bedford, Virginia
  • Education: AS – Engineering – Virginia Western Community College, BS – Mechanical Engineering Technology, ME – Systems Engineering UVA
  • Website I check every day: LinkedIn
  • Person who inspires me most: Wayne Michie
  • Favorite childhood memory: Throwing apples at bats.
  • Next travel destination (work or pleasure): Chicago
  • When was the last time you laughed? Why? Today, because every day is fun.
  • Favorite book: Thomas Jefferson – The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
  • Favorite music: Jazz and Classical
  • What is the best advice you have ever received? No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
  • Your favorite quote or motto: 
    • “Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to; convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty.” – Thomas Jefferson to James Madison (1787)
    • “…wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government…” – Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price (1789) 
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3 Responses to “Our goal is to provide local industry with the trained workforce they need.” – Dan Horine, USA

  1. Joyce Greer says:

    Wonderful interview and I agree completely that we need to begin targeting students in high school or even earlier to meet the challenges of educating and training the future workforce designers and leaders.

    BTW – where did you get your BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology??

  2. Bertha says:

    Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same
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    • admin says:

      Thank you, Bertha! Let us know if you ever have any more questions or suggestions.
      -Minnia, Daily EdVentures team

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