Posted on Wednesday, September 3, 2014

workforcewed-newsquare2Workforce development in Virginia received another boost this week in the form of a $170,000 grant from The National Governors Association. This particular grant will focus on increasing credentials in the high-demand STEM-H (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Health) fields, as well as industry certifications and apprenticeships most needed by Virginia’s current and emerging industries.

In addition, Governor McAuliffe has announced a ground-breaking new initiative created to train Virginia workers for jobs in the state’s film industry. The Film Industry Training (FIT) is a pilot program created by the Virginia Film Office and the Community College Workforce Alliance that’s designed to prepare workers for film, television and commercial projects in Virginia.

This news comes on the heels of a major workforce development initiative unveiled by the governor just last month. “The New Virginia Economy” Workforce Initiative seeks to overhaul Virginia’s economy in four ways: increasing postsecondary education and workforce credentials, securing employment for veterans, aligning education with the needs of businesses and diversifying the economy.

Alongside the Governor’s new initiative, Virginia’s Community Colleges announced a new six-year strategic plan that calls for tripling the number of credentials awarded annually by 2021.

Based on current estimates, about 500,000 new jobs will be created in Virginia by 2022. Over 930,000 workers will be needed to replace Virginia’s retiring workforce. Many of these jobs will fall into the STEM-H category.

In just one month, the VCCS Office of Workforce Development will be convening the state’s workforce professionals in Hampton, Virginia, for a three-day academy aimed at professional development as well as tackling the work set out by the governor and his leadership team.

Virginia has been designated the best state for business. Also named the best State for STEM Jobs, Virginia has the highest concentration of high-tech jobs per capita in the nation. This is undoubtedly an exciting time for workforce development in the Commonwealth. Stay tuned for the exciting work to come.

Photo:  Courtesy of the Martinsville Bulletin, this photo shows a Patrick Henry Community College student completing a welding project.'

Amanda Christopher

Amanda Christopher is a graduate of Hollins University and Virginia Commonwealth University. A native of the DC metro area, Amanda worked in public relations for the American Red Cross before joining the Virginia Community College System as the Workforce Communications Coordinator.

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