This news release is from the previous Governor's administration.
For Immediate Release: March 9, 2017
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, 804-225-4260, | Tidewater Community College, Marian Anderfuren, 757-822-1940,

Governor McAuliffe Announces Hampton Roads is One of Only Four Sites Selected for National Prior Learning Assessment Project

~Tidewater Community College and Opportunity Inc. partnership to increase the adult learner pipeline into postsecondary education programs and credential attainment~


RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Tidewater Community College (TCC) and Opportunity Inc. will receive a $25,000 grant from the national Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) for a pilot project designed to link local workforce systems with community colleges to increase success for adult learners. Virginia’s TCC-Opportunity Inc. partnership is one of only four in the nation that was selected for the project, which is designed to expand the adult learner pipeline into postsecondary credential attainment.  Philadelphia, Miami and Seattle were the selected locations for other partnerships. 

“I am pleased that Tidewater Community College and Opportunity Inc. have joined forces to promote expedited pathways and credit for prior learning and experience to transitioning service members and other job seekers served by our workforce system,” said Governor McAuliffe. “My administration has worked on successful legislation to award community college credits for military education and experience, for industry certifications and licenses, and, this year, for apprenticeship credentials. Working adults should get every college credit they deserve for the learning and skills they bring to their community college experience, and I’m proud to see Hampton Roads leading this national effort.” 

“When regional workforce boards and community colleges come together, great things can happen for Virginia’s regions,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “We know that workforce is a top issue for businesses seeking to relocate or expand in the Commonwealth, and we know educational attainment rates are the primary signifier of a ready workforce. By reducing the time and cost for adults to earn a community college degree or certificate, the partners in this project are boosting regional education attainment rates and economic development.” 

Funded by the Educational Credit Management Corporation, this grant will use prior learning assessment, or experiential learning, to facilitate attainment of postsecondary credits for prior learning, training, and education for military students, as well as other adult populations.  Prior learning assessment activities will focus on programs of study leading to priority industry sectors for regional economic development including: automotive and diesel technology, construction, industrial technology, information technology, manufacturing, and maritime and logistics. These identified industries and related occupations are expected to grow at rates faster than the regional average, creating high-demand for workers and above-average wages.

“Further education is critical for transitioning service members in our Hampton Roads community,” said TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani. “We look forward to working together with Opportunity Inc. on this project, which is another example of how TCC is fulfilling its mission to prepare the region’s 21st century workforce.”

“This partnership with TCC supports our commitment to transitioning veterans into the civilian workforce, and provides an opportunity to develop and leverage the talent unique to Hampton Roads,” said Shawn Avery, CEO of Opportunity Inc., the region’s Workforce Development Board. “Our partnerships with the education and business communities create the synergy critical to ensuring a highly skilled workforce equipped to meet the needs of high-demand careers.”

The ability of TCC and Opportunity Inc. to award prospective and enrolled students college credits based on knowledge, skills and abilities gained outside of the classroom provides the opportunity for students to accelerate the completion of training and degree programs – creating a win-win for students and the regional workforce.

“This project connects adults with workforce systems, such as the Workforce Development Boards, American Job Centers and community-based organizations, which can help orient adults to college level learning that aligns with regional demand occupations and employer demand for education,” said Pamela Tate, CAEL chief operating officer and president.

About Tidewater Community College
Founded in 1968, Tidewater Community College ( helps students of all ages and backgrounds achieve their educational and career goals. TCC is the largest provider of higher education and workforce solutions in southeastern Virginia, serving both students and local employers with in-demand academic and career programs. It is one of 23 schools that make up the Virginia Community College System. 

About Opportunity Inc.
Established by the Hampton Roads Workforce Development Board, Opportunity Inc. oversees workforce development programs for eight localities in South and Western Hampton Roads. The organization provides strategic workforce development solutions designed to assist businesses in accessing qualified workers and jobseekers in search of suitable job openings and training opportunities to bolster their earning potential. For more information, visit

About CAEL
Founded in 1974, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) is a Chicago-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that assists adults with their educational career development endeavors. CAEL works with the public sector, private sector industries and higher education institutions to ensure that adult students receive the most efficient training and education to occupy a meaningful professional place in a 21st century economy. More information is available at