~ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 usafunds.org.
Content credit: Office of the Governor.
Photo credit: Michaele White, Office of the Governor