Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2018

Ed Breeden, the Virginian recognized by Virginia’s Community Colleges as the recipient of the 10,000th workforce credential generated through its ground-breaking FastForward job training program, is a fitting example of why the program was created.

Thanks to the VCCS FastForward workforce training program, Ed Breeden is trading in his laborer’s job at a Winchester scrap metal yard, seen above, for an advanced manufacturing job with better pay and benefits.

Thanks to his training and new industry recognized certification, Breeden is leaving behind the life of laborer in a scrap metal yard for an advanced manufacturing job.

“FastForward is doing exactly what we intended: improving the lives of Virginians by helping them start, or re-start their careers to meet the challenges of the ever-changing economy,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “We were grateful Ed allowed us to share his story.”

Breeden was introduced to the State Board for Community Colleges during the board’s meeting July 19 in Fredericksburg.

Breeden, 48, is a longtime resident of Winchester, and a loyal employee of a recycling center there for more than 20 years. But, with demand for scrap metal in decline, the center is shutting down, and workers there received notice they would all be laid off.

Breeden knew he needed to improve his educational status, so he contacted Lord Fairfax Community College to study for his G.E.D. While at LFCC, Breeden learned about FastForward.

With the help of a one of the many grants available to FastForward students, he was able to reduce his out-of-pocket costs to train for the Manufacturing Technology Level 1 Credential. After completing the 12-week training program this spring, Breeden earned his MT-1 certification. And, thanks to LFCC’s solid working relationships in the community, Breeden soon was contacted by a prospective new employer.

“They practically offered me a job on the spot when they heard about my experience and credentials,” said Breeden. “Now, I’m looking forward to doing something new and moving up the ladder.”
Breeden’s new position with a local manufacturing firm will provide benefits that he never had before, not to mention a salary increase of nearly 40 percent.

“This is going to make a huge difference for me and my family,” Breeden added. “We’re going to be able to be more financially secure, invest in our home, and even put money into savings. I’m excited about the future.”

Learn more about the life-changing workforce training opportunities possible through Virginia’s FastForward program here.'

Jim Babb

Jim Babb works for Virginia's Community Colleges in the Office of Strategic Communications.

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