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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 www.vccs.edu. To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit 50.vccs.edu.

The Hows and Whys of Workplace Assessments

The Hows and Whys of Workplace Assessments

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the assessment industry has been growing by 10 percent for the last several years. The rise in popularity of assessments can be attributed to several factors, not the least of which is summed up in Will Brooks’ recent Association for Talent Development blog post, “Let’s be honest: people love learning about themselves.” Self-awareness as well as a greater understanding of others has the potential to have a significant impact on performance and productivity.

There is another side to the rise in popularity of assessments, though. The plethora of assessment tools to choose from can be overwhelming: behavioral assessments, personality assessments, and cognitive ability assessments. Understanding what each assessment measures and what business need you are trying to address are key to selecting the right tool. That’s where CCWA can help!

CCWA offers an array of assessments including:

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®)
  • DiSC Assessment
  • Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument
  • Conflict Dynamics Profile
  • StrengthsFinder
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
  • Team Dimensions Profile (CARE Profile)
  • Career Readiness Certificate (CRC)*

*Did you know that many organizations in the Greater Richmond area use the CRC as part of their hiring process? The CRC measures competencies in the areas of reading for information, applied mathematics, and locating information. Call us today if you’re interested in learning more about this assessment tool!

CCWA works closely with clients, listening to your goals, and asking the questions that uncover the real business needs. When we recommend an assessment tool, we also provide an instructor or coach who has an in-depth knowledge of that tool to assist you and your team with interpreting the results and understanding how to use them to improve team performance, develop leadership talent, or enhance individual performance.

In addition to helping our clients understand how to use workplace assessments, we also advise how not to use them. Assessments should not be used as stand-alone indicators of behavior or performance. Instead, they should be used in conjunction with other performance measurements, observations, and maybe even other assessments. As one of our instructors recently said to a class of senior leaders, “Making decisions based solely on an employee’s DiSC profile is like sitting in the cockpit of a 747 and only using the altimeter to fly it.”


If you’re trying to navigate the maze of workplace assessments, choose CCWA as your co-pilot. For more information, please contact:

Joanne Even
Client Solutions Manager
Corporate Training & Consulting
Community College Workforce Alliance
Phone: 804-897-7612
Email: jeven@ccwa.vccs.edu

In-Demand Across the Region – Certified Manufacturing Technicians

In-Demand Across the Region – Certified Manufacturing Technicians


What is a Manufacturing Technician Level 1 Certification?

The Manufacturing Technician Level 1 (MT1) certification program was developed to meet the growing employment demands of the manufacturing industry. The MT1 program addresses the core industry-wide skills standards required for skilled production occupations in all sectors of manufacturing.  The core competency areas certified are: (1) Math and Measurement, (2) Spatial Reasoning and Manufacturing Technology, and (3) Quality and Business Acumen.

The purpose of the MT1 certification program is to document individuals’ mastery of the critical competencies required for modern manufacturing production and production-related occupations.  The goals of the MT1 certification program are to:

  • Develop a workforce pipeline capable of meeting the requirements of existing and emerging employers in advanced technology industries such as manufacturing,
  • Provide a customized fast track pathway to stackable credentials for 21st Century advanced technology careers in industry,
  • Provide online and instructor-led training to address identified technical skill gaps, and
  • Provide a pathway to advanced level training and specialized training based on industry requirements for potential new hires and incumbent workers.

More on MT1

An MT1 operates precision machinery, systems and processes. Typical skills expected in these positions usually include: CAD skills, computer controlled machine programming, precision measurement, process and machine trouble-shooting, problem-solving, machine maintenance and proficient use of diagnostic and statistical tools.  These positions generally describe someone who has enough broad-based knowledge about a multi-step process to successfully troubleshoot and solve problems beyond the scope of typical “machine operators”. Sample MT1 Job Titles: Operator, Production Operator, Production Technician, Technician, Chemical Equipment Operator, Chemical Operator, Fixers, CNC Technician Manufacturing Technician and Production Manufacturing Specialist. NOTE: To review a full list of production occupations in modern manufacturing requiring MT1 industry-wide technical skills, please refer to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Why RVA Needs Certified Manufacturing Technicians

Manufacturing is still alive and well in the Greater Richmond region. Our local economy continues to benefit greatly from this thriving business sector, which has created more ancillary jobs in comparison to others. This is one of the primary reasons national leaders are frantically searching for new ways to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States.

It is widely known that economies with a strong manufacturing base are more secure in other economic areas. But, the manufacturing industry is only as good as its human capital; and a large skills gap has appeared in the last decade.

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CCWA Partners with VMA to Address a Growing Skills Gap in a Vital Industry

CCWA Partners with VMA to Address a Growing Skills Gap in a Vital Industry

Manufacturing is still alive and well in the Greater Richmond region. Our local economy continues to benefit from this thriving business sector, which has created more ancillary jobs in comparison to others. The manufacturing industry, however, is only as good as its human capital, and a large skills gap has appeared in the last decade.

While manufacturing plants have many open positions, and opportunities exist for employees to progress upward internally, employers find it difficult to locate candidates with the needed technical knowledge. This skills gap creates a significant opportunity for companies and individuals to break away from the pack. Job seekers and incumbent employees who are enhancing their knowledge and technical expertise become more competitive. Additionally, companies that actively invest in their employees increase productivity in their workplaces.

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Virginia Awarded $6.9 Million in American Apprenticeship Grants

Virginia Awarded $6.9 Million in American Apprenticeship Grants

RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe today announced that Virginia has been awarded $6.9 million in American Apprenticeship Grants from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to expand apprenticeships in high-growth industries.  U.S. DOL awarded $175 million in grants to 46 awardees, and Virginia is being awarded funding for apprenticeship initiatives at the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc. and the Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA). CCWA is the workforce development partnership between John Tyler Community College and Reynolds Community College.

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Bronze, Silver and Gold = Employment Ready

Bronze, Silver and Gold = Employment Ready

Hiring and recruitment are full of unknowns. More than ever, businesses want to make certain current and potential employees have the basic work skills necessary to successfully perform key job duties. In the Greater Richmond region, dozens of employers connect the right person for the right job using the results of the Virginia Career Readiness Certificate (CRC). As part of its mission to benefit economic development and workforce needs in Central Virginia, the Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA) offers individuals and companies these assessments of workplace skills.

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