Paul D. Camp Community College, along with all of Virginia’s Community Colleges, is playing an important role in the Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready) — a newly established nonprofit organization formed in response to the economic hardships created by COVID-19 that will help thousands of unemployed Virginians access the training needed to get back to work.
“Through this partnership, community colleges and their existing workforce credential grant programs called FastForward, will be able to meet state business needs by providing students with quality, short-term training,” explained Camp Director of Workforce Development Dr. Angela Lawhorne.
VA Ready programs at Camp include CDL A, CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, Fast Track Welding, Fast Track Healthcare, Medication Aide, and NCCER Industrial Maintenance-Electrical and Instrumentation.
VA Ready and its partners - 20 of the Commonwealth's leading businesses - provide incentives for motivated, out-of-work Virginians to reskill for in-demand jobs in high-growth sectors. Upon achieving their new credential in one of 29 selected training programs, “VA Ready Scholars” receive a $1,000 Credential Achievement Award and are offered opportunities to interview at many of Virginia's best companies.
Funded through philanthropic donations and company contributions, VA Ready recognizes and rewards student initiative to gain new skills.
“Community colleges are in this unique position to help get people back to work,” said Camp President Dr. Daniel Lufkin. “In a way, it’s what we have been doing all along — offering relevant training and programs to fulfill the goals of the students, but also meet the needs of our area employers. It has just become more crucial due to the pandemic.”
In addition to supporting credential earners with financial incentives, VA Ready business partners, through the VA Ready Talent Task Force, will consult with college leaders to ensure that program offerings and curricula remain focused and relevant to rapidly evolving industry needs. They also participate in the VA Ready Job Exchange and provide job interview opportunities to VA Ready Scholars.
Out-of-work Virginians with ambition to gain new skills can enroll in VA Ready's first cohort of VA Ready Scholars for Community College programs beginning after August 1.
“With an average out-of-pocket cost of just over $1,000, our FastForward training programs are the most affordable option in higher education today and the fastest way for someone to skill-up for a career that offers family-sustaining wages,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia's Community Colleges. “But we know that price tag is still out of reach for too many people, especially the newly unemployed. We are pleased to work alongside VA Ready and its business partners to make those training opportunities more affordable and accessible – and get people back to work.”
For more information on VA Ready, including how to apply, visit www.vaready.org.
Photo Cutline: Fast Track Welding is just one of the programs approved under the VA Ready initiative at Camp Community College.