For Immediate Release: November 10, 2014
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Rachel Thomas, (804) 225-4262, Rachel.Thomas@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Community College System: Amanda Christopher, (804) 819-5382, achristopher@vccs.edu | Opportunity Inc., Robert Sharak: (757) 314-2370, rsharak@oihr.org

Department of Labor Selects Virginia Workforce Investment Board for Participation in Economic Growth Initiative

 

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Opportunity Inc., the Commonwealth’s local Workforce Investment Board serving South and Western Hampton Roads, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) as one of 12 organizations nationally to participate in its Sector Strategies Technical Assistance Initiative.  Over the next eight months, Opportunity Inc. will receive intensive coaching and technical assistance from national experts aimed at expanding and sustaining its current industry sector workforce strategies. The goal is to build a regional, industry-focused workforce system that fuels greater economic competitiveness and job growth.   

“I am proud to announce that Opportunity, Inc. is one of only a dozen organizations to be selected for this important national workforce initiative,” said Governor Terence R. McAuliffe.  “Working with employers, economic development and education officials to build workforce pipelines for key industry sectors is exactly how the local Workforce Investment Boards can help to build a new Virginia Economy.”  

“This is another step forward to making Virginia’s workforce system not just business friendly, but business led,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “I am delighted that Virginia’s public and private sectors will be engaged in a talent development initiative to align training with industry demand.” 

The largest of Virginia’s 15 Workforce Investment Boards, Opportunity Inc. has extensive experience in supporting the workforce needs of the region’s key industry sectors. It actively maintains industry work groups in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, information technology and maritime trades. 

“We are honored to be chosen from among so many other organizations to participate in this initiative,” said Shawn Avery, President and CEO of Opportunity Inc. “We look forward to working with our partners to enhance the economic competitiveness of the Commonwealth and the Hampton Roads region as well as the many industry sectors with which we work.” 

“We congratulate Opportunity Inc. for this recognition to build an exemplary system of internal and external strength for the delivery of comprehensive workforce services in the Hampton Roads,” said Dr. Edna Baehre-Kolovani, President of Tidewater Community College (TCC).  “TCC has a long-standing and productive partnership with Opportunity Inc. successfully connecting community needs with relevant training and services to expand the workforce pipeline. We stand ready to support the Sector Strategies Technical Assistance Initiative for an even stronger workforce delivery system.” 

The ETA Sector Strategies Technical Assistance initiative aims to increase the number of states and regions actively engaged in sector strategies. Assistance includes help in developing stronger employer partnerships, more effectively using labor market information, creating sector partnership funding models and other workforce development strategies tailored to a region’s unique needs. Opportunity Inc. has been partnered with a coach from “Jobs for the Future”, a Boston-based nonprofit that works to design and drive the adoption of innovative workforce development models. 

Opportunity Inc. is an operating arm of the Hampton Roads Workforce Development Board and serves the localities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Isle of Wight, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Southampton, Suffolk and Virginia Beach. With an operating budget of over $9.0 million and staff of 40, Opportunity Inc. is the largest of the Commonwealth’s workforce development boards. Opportunity Inc. develops strategies and implements programs that support the needs of business and industry for a workforce that is skilled, capable, and able to meet the demands of the 21st Century workplace. OppInc. One-Stop Workforce Centers operate in Norfolk, Franklin and Suffolk. Opportunity Inc. also manages a variety of youth programs as well as the Youth Career Center of Hampton Roads in Virginia Beach’s Pembroke Mall. For more information on Opportunity Inc., go to: http://opp-inc.org.

 

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