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¿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: 804-523-2292

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

Governor McAuliffe Applauds Workforce Training Programs and CCWA at Hillphoenix

Governor McAuliffe Applauds Workforce Training Programs and CCWA at Hillphoenix

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe visited Hillphoenix (Chesterfield County) this week to see firsthand the impact of job training programs in the region. Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA), the workforce development partnership of John Tyler and Reynolds Community Colleges, and Hillphoenix are working together to create a culture of professional and personal development in the manufacturing industry. Beginning earlier this year, this partnership offers technical training for apprenticeships and welding/brazing, and has been working to increase employee leadership and management capabilities through CCWA’s Frontline Leadership program.

Hiring and keeping qualified employees is a top priority for Hillphoenix. To help recruit and train current employees, CCWA offers two new industry certifications for frontline positions. The Manufacturing Technician Level 1 (MT1) and the Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) are currently being utilized to instill important technical knowledge in the workforce pipeline. Hillphoenix is one of Virginia’s largest employers to see great value in these certifications for recruitment, as well as incumbent worker training.

Credentialing & leadership projects are a great example of CCWA’s broad delivery of services within one company. CCWA’s director of manufacturing and logistics programs, Wes Smith, apprenticeship coordinator, John McGarry and OJT (On-The-Job Training) coordinator, Stephanie Landry were on-hand with company representatives, state leaders and employees as the Governor toured the facility and discussed the success of workforce training programs.

Photo credit: Michaele White, Office of the Governor 

Get Assistance to Earn Industry Credentials – A third of the cost for Professional Certificates

Get Assistance to Earn Industry Credentials – A third of the cost for Professional Certificates

CCWA offers 10 workforce credential grant programs as announced in the Governor’s release below. Governor McAuliffe Announces Workforce Grant Program and speaks to how “Credentials Will Open Doors to Promising, High-Demand Career Opportunities.”

Learn more about CCWA’s Certificate Programs.

Governor McAuliffe Announces Workforce Grant Program

~ Credentials Will Open Doors to Promising, High-Demand Career Opportunities~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the launch of a new grant program designed to ensure that workforce credentials are accessible and affordable for Virginians seeking the skills they need to obtain good-paying jobs in high-demand fields.

The New Economy Workforce Industry Credentials Grant program covers 124 different community college training programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges geared toward providing workforce credentials at one-third of their former cost.

“This program establishes a first-in-the-nation performance funding formula to create and sustain a supply of credentialed workers who meet the needs identified by our business leaders,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This week’s launch is the culmination of many months of hard work by public and private sector partners, all of us working together to ensure that Virginia has a 21st century workforce with the skills and experience to compete in today’s global economy.”

Virginia’s Community Colleges consulted with Virginia businesses to develop the list of eligible credentials that can provide access to a wide variety of high-demand jobs, such as certified welder, electrician, medical records tech, computer network specialist, pharmacy tech, digital security specialist, emergency medical tech, industrial machinery mechanic, dental assistant, and commercial truck driver.  The Virginia Board of Workforce Development identified more than 170 in-demand jobs aligned with the Commonwealth’s economic development targets for which Virginians can prepare through the new workforce program.

These are jobs that require specific skills, but not necessarily a traditional college degree. Community Colleges are making it even easier to earn workforce credentials by developing new programs and adding classes and locations for increased convenience.

“To create the skilled workforce the Commonwealth needs now and in the future, we need more options for training and credentialing that work for Virginians of all ages and life circumstances,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “With the New Economy Workforce Credentials program, for the first time, we have new options for workforce training and development that promptly get trainees into the skilled labor force.”

Research indicates that these workforce credentials are in high demand across Virginia and will be for the foreseeable future. The company Burning Glass produced a recent report indicating that there were more than 175,000 job vacancies for so-called middle-skill occupations last year in Virginia – the types of jobs that typically require some type of credential. The jobs paid more than $28 per hour (or more than $58,500 per year). According to the research, the jobs went unfilled for an average period of 26 days, which is longer than the national average. As a result, Virginia businesses lost 36.4 million hours of productivity. Virginia families lost more than $1 billion in potential wages, and Virginia’s General Fund lost more than $54.3 million in revenue.

Other studies predict that Virginia will have to fill more than 1.4 million jobs over the next decade. As many as two-thirds of those positions will require postsecondary level workforce credentials.

“The New Economy Workforce Industry Credentials Grant program will be a game changer for the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. “The in-depth research that has gone into establishing this innovative program will help us to increase access and success in higher education, especially for some of our most underserved populations.”

Students enrolling in one of the workforce credential training programs covered by the new grants will pay only one-third of the normal cost. Program costs vary widely, depending on the length and complexity of the training. For a list of programs covered by the grants, visit this link on the VCCS website.

The maximum value of each grant is $3,000. For example, a student who enrolls in and successfully completes a grant-eligible program that normally costs $4,500 will now pay $1,500, and the grant covers $3,000 of the cost. Additional financial aid can offset that cost even further. More information is available at the workforce development offices of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Governor McAuliffe won bipartisan support this year among Virginia lawmakers for funding to enable approximately 10,000 Virginians to receive Workforce Credentials Grants for training costs over the next two years. This unique performance-based funding model is the first in the nation. Further, it represents the first significant public funding for workforce training programs in the 50-year history of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

“These workforce credentials increasingly represent the American Dream in the 21st century,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “Individuals earn these credentials in weeks and months, not semesters and years. Those students are often quickly employed by businesses hungry for their skills. And they accomplish all that without piling on a decade’s worth of student debt.”

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve approximately 400,000 students each year.  For more information, please visit To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit