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Techno Entrepreneur – Workforce Wednesday (7/19)

Techno Entrepreneur – Workforce Wednesday (7/19)

Do you know what machine learning and artificial intelligence can’t do yet?  Replace the human capacity to develop and test great ideas!

Entrepreneurship is not just a difficult word to spell (tip: remember to lead with the “e” for the vowels).  It’s at the heart of what makes or breaks a new or existing business, especially for technology startups.

I’ve taught a number of entrepreneurship classes throughout Virginia, helping small and medium sized businesses launch or expand, and there were two things that had a significant impact on whether success was imminent.

The first is a testable idea.  You might have a great idea that people are not willing to pay for.  This is actually just a hobby, and if that is what you are looking to do, great!  But for those of us who want to do great things and make money, we need to be able to come up with ideas that resonate with people, which they are also willing to pay for.

The second is passion.  Incubators, venture capitalists, banks, etc., are looking to invest in people with the drive and passion to come up with an idea and carry that through execution.  All businesses have ups and downs, so the grit of the individual must be strong enough to empower and endure.  This is particularly true for those of you who work with technology.

If you would like to learn more, join us on July 19 for the Workforce Wednesday Webinar. Click here to sign up for “Entrepreneurship for IT Professionals: Are you a Technopreneur?

Additional Resources:

Richmond LogistX Games

Richmond LogistX Games

Logistics companies participate in friendly competition highlighting supply chain and logistics industry.

From the Virginia Community Colleges’ Workforce Wednesdays blog:

Community College Students and Local Businesses Participate in Richmond LogistX Games.

The RVA LogistX Games returned to the Central Virginia region on April 20, showcasing 10 local companies involved in the movement of goods between source and consumer, in a head-to-head competition.

“We’re once again happy to partner with local logistics companies to promote this industry,” said Wes Smith, manufacturing and trades director for the Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA) – the partnership between John Tyler and Reynolds Community Colleges. “Logistics companies are expanding in our region, and CCWA is prepared to offer training and credentialing opportunities for the sector.”

Held at Liberty Property Trust’s Richmond Distribution Center in Henrico County, the games were designed to test the teamwork, talent, efficiency and speed of each competing company. The games mirror the types of environments in which logistics professionals work and are judged by industry volunteers.

CCWA was able to showcase two teams of individuals, most of whom are new to the logistics industry. These students are currently enrolled in the Middle College program at Reynolds, and receive education and logistics training at CCWA through funding provided by USA Funds. This comprehensive training allows the students not only to work to earn their GED through a partnership with Region 15 adult education, but also gain valuable logistics credentials (Certified Logistics Associate, Certified Logistics Technician, forklift, and OSHA 10) to assist them in finding a new career path.

Logistics student, Cameron Cherry noted, “For our first time being in the event, we did well. We worked as a team, and it was a good time.”

First held in 2007 in Louisville, Ky., the games were created as a means for participating companies to build employee pride, foster teamwork principles and reinforce safety standards.

Featured image: The Dream Team and team Truck N’ Go from CCWA

Getting Into Gear in RVA

Getting Into Gear in RVA

While some occupations face decline based on economic changes, earning a commercial driver’s license (CDL) still delivers solid job opportunities, steady work and great pay. With surges in the logistics and warehousing industries in the Greater Richmond region and across the nation, truck drivers remain in demand. Local salaries in these industries are aligned with the national wage averages and there are opportunities for growth within this sector.

“Our partnership with CDS Tractor Trailer Training, a leader in CDL training, delivers commitment and accountability to the participants, employers and industry leaders,” said Natalie Meredith, CCWA’s Assistant Vice President for Workforce Development. “In a thorough, short-term course, we are preparing qualified CDL operators to work in this high demand industry and fill workforce shortages.”

From Fortune 500 companies to local distributers, CCWA’s CDL course participants build solid careers after completing the program and hands-on training. And, according to, there are more than a half million openings in the industry nationwide.

Participants in CCWA’s CDL program receive in-class and on-the-road training offered in weekday or weekend sessions year-round at our John Tyler Community College – Chester location. Employment assistance is also available. Grant funding is available for eligible registrants.

For more information, contact us at (804) 706-5256 or email us at

Employers are seeking local, regional and national drivers. New drivers earn an average $700-$1200 per week. Working with our team of specialists, companies seek recent graduates to fill open positions.

¿Sus empleados hablan español? (Do your employees speak Spanish?)

¿Sus empleados hablan español? (Do your employees speak Spanish?)

If your organization experiences language barriers, it’s not alone. In a recent Rosetta Stone survey, 90 percent of responding organizations “struggle with language barriers in their day-to-day work.” In today’s increasingly global economy, language barriers often occur among employees or within work teams. However, another study found that “64 percent of business leaders reported that employee-customer interactions are the primary language challenge their organizations face.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Spanish will remain the most commonly spoken LOTE (language other than English) over the next ten years, and Spanish speakers will account for over 60 percent of the population that speaks a LOTE by 2020.

CCWA recognizes that your employees do not need to be fluent in Spanish. Instead, they need to understand and know key phrases pertinent to your business so they can communicate effectively with your Spanish-speaking customers. Our nationally-certified Command Spanish® instructor has been providing occupational Spanish training for over a decade. Her enthusiasm for the Spanish language leads her to deliver lively, job-specific language training across a variety of industries.

Command Spanish teaches phrases, questions, and commands necessary for your specific workplace. Examples of workplace-specific programs include Spanish for:

  • First Responders
  • Banking
  • Human Resources
  • Industry, Manufacturing, and Warehousing
  • Office Personnel
  • Medical Office
  • Law Enforcement

And many, many more! CCWA even offers a class focused on Spanish for those in your workplace who collect personal information and data from your customers. If you’re wondering how we might create a Spanish class for YOUR workplace, please contact:

Joyce Lapsley
Client Solutions Manager
Phone: 804-706-5180

VDOT Announces Plans for Certification And Inspector Training Programs

VDOT Announces Plans for Certification And Inspector Training Programs

Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance (VTCA)’s Blue Top Newsletter  – Nov. 2016

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA) – the workforce development partnership between John Tyler Community College and Reynolds Community College, are excited to announce a collaboration for the Materials Certification School and the Construction Inspector program. Classes will be provided through CCWA and will comply with VDOT procedures, specifications, and certification requirements.

Materials Certification School:

  • Central Mix Aggregate
  • Concrete Field
  • Concrete Plant
  • Soils and Aggregate Compaction
  • Pavement Marking

Construction Inspector Program

  • Site Manager Certification
  • Plan Reading Certification
  • Documentation & Record Keeping Certification
  • Surveying for Inspectors Certification
  • Roadway & Drainage Certification
  • Structures & Bridges Certification
  • Guardrail Installation Certification

Duane Sayre, VDOT’s Materials Certification Schools Program Manager, said “VDOT hopes to leverage the numerous resources and nationally-recognized expertise of the CCWA to advance Materials Certification Schools to the next level.”

CCWA has unveiled the new VDOT Certification registration website. Participants and companies can conveniently register online or by phone. Individuals can also view other classes and professional development opportunities at

“CCWA is dedicated to creating an industry focused on continuous improvement and technical expertise for the transportation industry,” said Natalie Meredith, CCWA’s Assistant Vice President of Workforce Development. “Our Materials Certification and Construction Inspector credentialing training programs will continue to help ensure the quality of Virginia’s transportation system.”

The 2017 class schedule is very similar to previous years, and experienced individuals can still perform a self-study option. As CCWA communicates with industry, more classes will be offered to ensure individuals and companies can effectively plan their training activities for the year.

Throughout 2017, CCWA will focus on two specialty schools. The Materials Certification School and the Construction Inspector Program. Certification classes in asphalt will be conducted by Germanna Community College, and VDOT will retain ownership of its remaining training programs.

CCWA is pleased to collaborate with the transportation industry to ensure Virginia’s roadways and workforce are operating at maximum capacity and safety. The industry has an impact throughout the Commonwealth, and CCWA is committed to providing the effective educational opportunities and resources.

CCWA will also be hiring new instructors throughout the next year for classes as the new program builds. If you or someone you know is a talented trainer with instructional expertise, please contact:

Wes Smith
Director, Manufacturing & Logistics Program
Community College Workforce Alliance
Phone: 804-523-2296

Governor McAuliffe Announces $1 Million Grant Award to Promote Workforce Development Efforts in the Commonwealth

Governor McAuliffe Announces $1 Million Grant Award to Promote Workforce Development Efforts in the Commonwealth

~ USA Funds Grant Aims to Increase Education, Employment of Young Adults for In-Demand Jobs ~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Virginia received a $1 million grant from USA Funds to sponsor an initiative aimed at helping young adults in Virginia achieve the education and training needed to obtain stable, well-paying jobs.  Funding will expand or create programs at the Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), as well as support the development and promotion of a web-based dashboard to help policymakers and education providers make informed decisions about programs and curricular according to regional and state labor market demand.

“I am delighted to announce this new partnership between the Commonwealth and USA Funds – an organization dedicated to supporting postsecondary education and training that leads to a fulfilling career,” said Governor McAuliffe.  “My administration has been similarly dedicated to driving postsecondary workforce credentials—from industry certifications to college degrees—that support in demand occupations in advanced manufacturing, IT and cybersecurity, and other high-value sectors.  Today’s announcement is another step in ensuring that our workforce has the right tools to become successful.  I thank USA Funds for this grant and look forward to seeing the results of this investment as we work to building a new Virginia economy.”

Funding dedicated to the CCWA will focus on helping young adults, primarily African-American and Hispanic, obtain relevant training for today’s high-demand occupations in the greater Richmond area. CCWA is the workforce development partnership between John Tyler Community College and Reynolds Community College. Funds will serve approximately 135 young adults over 18 years of age who are not enrolled in public schools providing them with development of foundational knowledge and skills, training for an in-demand occupation, employability skills development, and career coaching.

“As the Governor’s Chief Workforce Advisor, I am appreciative of the many ways in which USA Funds has supported Virginia’s efforts, especially through our community colleges, to create talent pipelines for in-demand fields,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore.  “This year, Virginia’s workforce leaders participated in two national policy academies to better align education and training to labor market needs.  Both of these were supported by USA Funds.  We are proud that USA Funds has selected the Commonwealth as one of only two states to receive a grant to create innovative pathways to credentials that count in the workplace.”

”One of Governor McAuliffe’s long-term education goals has been to better connect academic programs with workforce demands,” added Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. “This grant award from USA Funds will support this Administration’s bold work, and put us one step closer to creating and sustaining a talent pipeline that provides the Commonwealth’s students with access to the jobs of the future.”

Richmond was selected as the site for this initiative because of its record of addressing the educational challenges of minority and low-income residents, as well as the need to expand workforce development programs to urban youth who have significantly higher unemployment rates.

“Improving the connection between success in college and career—especially for lower-income and minority students—lies at the heart of USA Funds’ non-profit mission,” said USA Funds President and CEO William D. Hansen.  “We are honored to have the opportunity to support Virginia’s focus on enhancing economic prosperity through education and training aligned with the needs of the state’s employers.”

The participating institutions will implement two integrated education and training programs– the Virginia Department of Education’s PluggedIn VA and the Virginia Community College System’s Middle College.  PluggedIn VA combines basic skills instruction with postsecondary training, employability skills, and digital literacy to prepare individuals for employment in a regionally high-demand industry field. Similarly, Middle College has historically focused on preparing youth to earn their high school equivalency diploma and advance to earn the postsecondary credentials needed to gain employment.

Regional Adult Education programs serving the Richmond and Petersburg areas will join the CCWA partnership to provide assessments and contextualized basic and soft skills instruction for students enrolled in the PluggedIn VA cohorts for Middle College. In addition, the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center at Virginia Commonwealth University will provide technical assistance and training on PluggedIn VA to instructional staff and administrators.

“A high school diploma is no longer the finish line, and that’s increasingly true every day,” said Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “These resources will help us reach and serve individuals in families often with little or no college experience, and help them earn the postsecondary credential necessary to reach and experience today’s American Dream.”

Young adults can enroll now by contacting CCWA at 804-523-2292 or by email at

About USA Funds

USA Funds is a nonprofit corporation that supports Completion with a Purpose, building a more purposeful path for America’s students to and through college and on to rewarding careers and successful lives.  USA Funds pursues its nonprofit mission through philanthropic activities and partnerships, policy research, and programs and services that enhance preparation for, access to, and success in higher education.  Learn more at

Content credit: Office of the Governor.

Photo credit: Michaele White, Office of the Governor