Industry Credentials Completion Key to Economic Growth
This article will appear in the local newspapers and is in response to Governor Terry McAuliffe's plan to strengthen Virginia's economy.
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, one of 23 colleges in Virginia’s Community College System, will benefit from increased funding in a plan for strengthening the workforce announced by Governor Terry McAuliffe on December 15. Training programs will be expanded to increase the number of industry-recognized credentials that individuals will be able to earn for in-demand jobs, many with high pay and opportunities for advancement.
VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois, in an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, stated that the Governor’s plan was a huge step in moving Virginia forward and a direct response to needs expressed by roughly 1,500 employers in meetings held throughout the Commonwealth. He commented that, “Virginia is on the verge of taking an important step forward in helping individuals earn terrific career opportunities, with family-supporting salaries, and supplying our businesses with the highly-qualified employees they struggle to hire today…certifications are a growing and increasingly important part of Virginia’s postsecondary picture, driven by employer needs. Some of Virginia’s fastest-growing industries, like cybersecurity, healthcare and advanced manufacturing, boast the greatest needs for these credentials. Meanwhile, other industries that Virginia relies on daily are seeking ways to replace an aging workforce in essential positions like HVAC, electricians, plumbers and truck drivers.”
It is expected that there will be thousands of jobs available over the next decade, resulting from retirements and new positions. DuBois pointed out that “…as many as two-thirds of the 1.5 million jobs that Virginia must fill will require more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree, according to leading economic analysis. Those jobs will demand an associate’s degree and industry-recognized certifications that Virginia’s Community Colleges help people obtain”.
While many Virginians have work experience and have even completed some college credits, too many lack a completed credential that would document their knowledge, skills and abilities using a common language recognized by employers. The decision to gain a credential does not mean missing out on a college degree. A surprising number of individuals who complete short-term training for specific credentials later decide to continue their education and enroll in a college degree program, ultimately enhancing their resume with both achievements.
Created nearly 50 years ago, Virginia’s Community Colleges address the need for more individuals enrolled in higher education and workforce training. Currently, credentials completion is the focus and DSLCC is responding.
Dr. John Rainone, DSLCC president, commented on the announcement, stating, “Under the leadership of Governor McAuliffe, Virginia continues to move forward with developing the infrastructure necessary for economic development initiatives. Community colleges are on the front line for training and developing the current and future workforce of the regions that they serve. To move forward, we need resources to be certain that our residents have access to earning the credentials in high demand by employers. It is critical to identify, train and retain local talent, to support current businesses and industries, as well as have options in place to readily meet the needs of employers we seek to recruit to the area. Support from the Governor’s office, as well as Dr. DuBois’ leadership of Virginia’s Community College System, will allow us to move forward.”
Funds will be used to promote workforce credential training programs to those who are unaware of the opportunities to secure numerous job openings. Examples of current DSLCC programs leading to high-demand credentials include preparation for passing the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) examination, welding, computer support technicians, emergency medical technicians, and advanced manufacturing.
We wish you a very Happy Holiday season and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
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