For Immediate Release: April 12, 2016
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, (804) 225-4260, Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Community College System: Jeffrey Kraus, (804) 819-4949 Email: jkraus@vcs.edu

Governor McAuliffe Invests $1 Million to Assist Small Businesses in Training and Credentialing Incumbent Workers

~New Virginia Community College System Incumbent Workforce Credentialing Program will help existing employees earn certifications and licenses to succeed on the job~

 

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today a new $1 million program to assist small businesses of up to 250 employees in improving the occupational and technical skills of their workers through workforce credentials that drive business growth.  The new program, to launch June 1, is the latest in a series of statewide initiatives that Governor McAuliffe has introduced to drive workforce credential attainment by future, incumbent and displaced workers.  

Speaking at today’s event, Governor McAuliffe said, “This is great progress in our work to ensure that Virginia’s businesses have the number of highly skilled workers they need to get the job done today and grow the jobs of tomorrow so we can build a new Virginia economy.  I am proud of the way our community colleges and local Workforce Development Boards are stepping up to the challenge I gave them last year by creating new strategies and partnerships to expand training and credentialing across the Commonwealth.” 

The industry recognized certifications and occupational licenses to be provided by the program will help incumbent workers stay employed and progress in their careers.  The new initiative supports the Governor’s goal of having Virginians attain 50,000 STEM-H workforce credentials a year by the end of the administration.  It also supports the long-term state goal of making the Commonwealth the best educated state in the U.S by 2030 as measured by the percentage of Virginians holding an industry recognized credential, occupational license, apprenticeship credential, or college certificate or degree.  

“The goals of our workforce development efforts are to help businesses grow and help individual workers progress,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “This new program places business and industry in the driver’s seat and gets more Virginians the skills and credentials they need to access jobs with middle class wages and opportunities for growth.”  

The new initiative heralds the Commonwealth’s renewed focus on improving and streamlining business services at Virginia’s One Stop Career Centers, community colleges, and other access points to Virginia’s workforce development system.  The new program will be administered by the Virginia Community College System and will require Workforce Development Regions and local community colleges to work cooperatively and closely with small businesses in their local areas.  These partnerships will develop workforce training plans for the employees of participating small businesses, and then implement and evaluate workforce training programs addressing the competencies identified in the training plans.  Training funded by the new program must be targeted to a national, portable workforce credential in a field for which employers are demanding skills development and certifications, including manufacturing, energy, information technology, cybersecurity, health care, transportation, and logistics. 

“Attaining Virginia’s goals for postsecondary education and workforce credentials will require new and innovative business-education partnerships,” said Secretary of Education Anne Holton.  “Bringing together employers, community colleges, and our One Stop Career Centers to expand opportunities for continued education and credentialing will help us reach the Governor’s goal to make the Commonwealth the Best Educated State in the U.S.”   

Funding for the new program will come out of the Governor’s set aside funds in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) and is the latest example of the Governor’s determination to redirect more of the federal funds available for workforce development in the Commonwealth to education and training for credentials that count for jobs and business growth.  To expand the pool of resources available for training and credentialing, participating businesses and industries will contribute from 10% to 50% of the cost of the training, based on the business’s number of employees.  

“We spoke with more than 1,500 business leaders across Virginia last year during 22 town hall meetings,” said Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “And we heard from a lot of small business owners who have a tough time helping their employees stay up-to-date with their skills, finding qualified people to hire, and actually doing what their business does. We need more credentialed talent across the board, and this approach focuses resources in a smart way, providing an economic development resource for small companies already invested in their local communities.” 

For more information about the new program, including information on how small businesses can apply through their local One Stop Career Center, contact Yolanda Crewe at 804 819-3330 or ycrewe@vccs.edu.  

 

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