Disappointment turned into delight when displaced ITT Tech student Earnest Simpson discovered Tidewater Community College.

“TCC saved my bacon,” said Simpson, enrolled in four 12-week classes at the college and working toward his Associate of Applied Science in Electronics Technology. “And that’s an understatement.”

Simpson is among several former ITT Tech students who turned to TCC following the for-profit college’s abrupt closure on Sept. 6. His son, Matthew, is another. Matthew Simpson is working toward his Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Drafting and Design.

After his Navy career ended, Earnest Simpson worked at Huntington Ingalls, but was part of the shipyard’s massive layoffs in February 2015. He enrolled in electrical engineering at ITT Tech, planning to earn a bachelor’s degree. Matthew, a wannabe video game designer joined him, to study computer science. Both started last December earning 29 credits and had already paid tuition at ITT Tech for the fall 2016 semester.

When they learned that ITT closed, both turned to TCC. Earnest Simpson met with counselor Kia Hardy to talk about a new academic plan.

Simpson was surprised to learn many of the requirements needed to transfer to Old Dominion University’s electrical engineering bachelor’s program can be met through TCC’s electronics associate.

He is unsure how many of his ITT credits will transfer but is confident he will be able to earn some by taking challenge examinations. Same for Matthew, who is excited about being part of TCC’s hands-on CADD program.

“When I first heard about ITT closing, I was confused and angry,” Matthew said. “Everything was chaotic.”

“TCC gave us a helping hand,” Earnest said. “We had somewhere to go. They were the only ones reaching out to us.”

Added Matthew, “It’s sort of like someone threw a rope down to us after we fell into a hole.”

TCC’s academic advisors, financial aid specialists and veterans education benefits experts continue to offer assistance to any student displaced by ITT Tech. Interested students can email the college at ITT2TCC@tcc.edu, call 757-822-1669 or logon to www.tcc.edu/admission/itttech.