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Preventing Workplace Accidents in the RVA

Preventing Workplace Accidents in the RVA

Preventing Workplace Accidents in the Greater Richmond Region ~ CCWA Provides FREE OSHA-10 Construction Training to Employers! ~ By Wes Smith, Interim Assistant Vice President for Workforce Development

Accidents are one thing, but deaths in the workplace are another. Did you know that in 2017 there were 4,674 worker fatalities in private industry? To make matters worse for the construction industry, 20.7% of these deaths were construction related. OSHA has stated that the leading causes of death (excluding traffic collisions) are caused by four primary accident areas, which they’ve titled the “Fatal Four.” These include falls, struck by object, electrocution, and caught-in/between. The “Fatal Four” are responsible for 59.9% of the deaths which occur in the construction industry. That percentage is why OSHA routinely holds more inspections on construction companies vs. other sectors. In 2018, there were over 32,000 inspections completed by OSHA.

Accidents are incredibly preventable when workers and employers put an emphasis on safety and set standards and responsibilities for safety protocols. Outside of death and accidents, there’s another reason for job seekers, employees, and employers to focus on safety. Simply put, it’s bad for business. When federal OSHA inspections are completed, most companies receive multiple citations. After compiling all of the data from these citations, OSHA was able to identify the most frequent citations. These include falls, hazard communication, scaffolding, ladders, respiratory protection, lockout/tag-out, powered industrial trucks, fall protection, machine guarding, and eye and face protection.

It is for the reasons mentioned above that the Community College Workforce Alliance (CCWA) has decided to engage with industries to get more Virginians certified in relevant and life-changing credentials. OSHA-10 Construction Certification involves ten hours of instruction, and typically comes at a financial cost to the individual or the employer. This cost barrier stops many individuals from receiving training each year. It’s a proven fact that individuals who are formally trained and certified are safer in the workplace not only for themselves but for everyone around them. A safe employee adds value in many ways to a company. This is why it’s normal to see construction and industrial companies make safety a top priority.

CCWA will be hosting its first free OSHA-10 Construction training class on May 2nd & 3rd. CCWA is doing this to give back to the community it serves, as well as addressing the importance of industry credentials and life-long learning in the workplace.

If your company is interested in attending or sending staff to this free certification training, then click on the link below for registration or contact us at 804-897-7602. Stay safe out there!

Register for CCWA’s FREE OSHA Class – May 2/3
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.

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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Presenting Your Best Professional Package

Presenting Your Best Professional Package

In the world of training and development, presenters live by the mantra:  “Tell them what you’re gonna tell them. Tell them, and then tell them what you told them.”  Whether you’re a child or an adult, repetition is one of the ways we learn. Take GEICO, for example. It’s because we’ve heard the ad so many times, we all know what can happen in 15 minutes.  The same holds true for the jobseeker who wants to convince a hiring manager that she is the best candidate for the job.

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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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Governor McAuliffe and Chancellor DuBois Focus on the Future for Virginia’s Workforce

Governor McAuliffe and Chancellor DuBois Focus on the Future for Virginia’s Workforce

During the annual Chancellor’s Retreat at the Virginia Crossings Hotel and Conference Center in Glen Allen, Chancellor Glenn DuBois discussed the focus of the Virginia Community System’s (VCCS) next strategic plan, stating:

“Most importantly, it challenges us to make a meaningful difference in Virginia’s quality of life. The next strategic plan has just one goal. That’s it, just a single goal. And that goal is to triple the numbers of credentials awarded annually by the year 2021. In hard numbers, that means we will go from 38,000 credentials awarded last year to no fewer than 114,000 by the year. This means that student success, in the form of credential attainment, will no longer be among our priorities. It becomes the priority.”

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