Governor’s Chief Workforce Policy Advisory Serves as Guest Speaker
The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) recently celebrated 47 trainees who successfully completed its workforce training programs. Held in the banquet hall of the Prizery, family, friends, and supporters gathered to recognize program completers in Mechatronics, IT Academy, Welding@SVHEC, and Work Ready Foundations.
Sara Dunnigan, Executive Director of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development and Governor McAuliffe’s Chief Workforce Policy Advisor, served as the ceremony’s guest speaker. “Finishing something you’ve set out to do is worth celebrating in life,” she said. Dunnigan shared her experiences of finding her way in the workforce, and encouraged program completers to keep moving forward. “Constantly ask yourself what’s next,” she said.
Dunnigan has been instrumental in implementing the Commonwealth’s Workforce Credential Grant Program which pays up to two-thirds of the cost of non-credit, credential based programming like the SVHEC’s Workforce Training Programs. “It’s exciting to see the trainee’s success and to know the Workforce Credential Grant contributed to that,” Dunnigan stated.
Nearly 80% of the individuals recognized during the completion ceremony received financial assistance through the Credential Grant Program. SVHEC officials have described the CGP program as a “gamechanger” for their workforce training efforts.
“Successful workforce development programs like those offered at SVHEC not only change the lives of students, but these initiatives are also preparing the region’s workforce for high-demand jobs in the New Virginia Economy, and positioning Southside Virginia as an economic development destination,” said Nathalie Molliet-Ribet, the Commonwealth’s Deputy Secretary for Education, who was in attendance at Thursday’s ceremony.
On August 10th Sara Dunnigan, Executive Director of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development and Governor McAuliffe’s Chief Workforce Policy Advisor, will be the guest speaker for the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s (SVHEC) workforce training completion ceremony. The ceremony will recognize individuals who have successfully completed one of four training programs: information technology through the IT Academy, Mechatronics, Welding@SVHEC, or Work Ready Foundations.
“It is an honor to have Sara Dunnigan participate in our completion ceremony. Her leadership in rolling out the Commonwealth’s Workforce Credential Grant Program (CGP) has had a direct impact on many of the completers who will be recognized,” said Dr. Betty Adams, SVHEC executive director.
Dunnigan has been instrumental in implementing the Credential Grant Program which pays up to two-thirds of the cost of non-credit, credential based programming like the SVHEC’s Workforce Training Programs. Implemented by the General Assembly in 2016, CGP funding provides financial assistance to allow individuals to receive training in a high demand field, and earn an industry-based certification or state licensure.
Nearly 80% of the individuals to be honored at the SVHEC Workforce Training completion ceremony were supported in their training through the Credential Grant Program. “Without the benefit of the CGP, these programs would have been unaffordable and, therefore, out of reach for these individuals. Instead of receiving credentials and securing new jobs these many of these completers would remain stuck in low-, no-, or under-employment situations,” Adams stated.
The SVHEC’s Workforce Training Completion Ceremony will be held on August 10th at 2:00pm at The Prizery (700 Bruce Street, South Boston, VA). RSVPs are requested to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Ten individuals recently completed the SVHEC’s first Welding Basics for the At Home Welder course. This hands-on, project-based class was designed with the home or farm owner in mind.
“We wanted to offer a non-credential, hands-on training class to individuals in the community who wanted to learn a little bit more about welding, for their own personal use, without enrolling in a year-long training program. This six week training class was a great fit for everyone,” said Scarlett Brandon, program/marketing coordinator for the SoVA Center of Manufacturing Excellence.
The course covered essential welding basics including safety, torch cutting, MIG, Stick and Flux Core welding. Each participant had an opportunity to design a personal project they carried home at the end of the course. “What a wonderful opportunity this class has afforded me and the rest of the participants,” said participant Denise Hudson. “This is a great adult learning program that has provided me with a working foundation on how to safely and productively weld. I loved the hands-on instruction which was perfect for adult learners like me,” she said.
The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s (SVHEC) Workforce Advancement division and the South-Central Workforce Development Board (SCWDB) recently celebrated the Super Stars of Workforce with a luncheon for employers and employment supportive services agencies.
“This was a terrific opportunity to thank our employers – and the agencies who support them – for their positive contributions to our economic base,” said Dr. Betty Adams, SVHEC Executive Director. “It also provided a chance to share enhancements to the Work Ready Foundations program as well as bring to light increasing tuition assistance opportunities through programs such as the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant and Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act,” she continued.
During the luncheon, employers learned about the SVHEC’s Work Ready Foundations training program, funding options for the program, and SCWDB opportunities available to employers. SVHEC Director of Industry & Workforce Advancement, David Kenealy, described the Work Ready Foundations program as real world, effective, and for the employer. “The name of the training is not random—it is truly about preparing individuals for the workplace. We hire instructors based on their work experiences and competencies, and we train participants using hardware and software that replicates what employers have in their workplaces,” he stated.
The intensive, 11-week training provides broad, foundational training that includes safety, reading blueprints, material handling, and basic electrical concepts including gearboxes, switches, and AC/DC power conversion. Individuals who successfully complete the Work Ready Foundations program receive five industry recognized credentials including OSHA 10, CPR/First Aid, and NCCER Electrical One. The program has been revamped to be competency and project based, allowing individuals to progress through the curriculum as they meet established benchmarks.