The GO Virginia Region 6 Council announced $1,227,449.30 of funding for two workforce development projects that focus on enhancing career pathways region’s K-12 institutions and expanding work-based learning opportunities for secondary and post-secondary students. The ultimate goal of each project is to further bridge the gap between education and the private sector by addressing the needs of area employers. The projects are led by Stafford County Public Schools and the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and will be implemented over the course of the next few years.
According to Region 6 Council Chair, Billy Beale, “both projects take a significant step in giving our students the skills they need to be successful in a 21st century economy and our businesses the talent they need to reach their full potential.” Beale went on to further note that, “the collaboration in each of these projects is a core tenet of GO Virginia and a vital component to our region’s competitiveness.”
INNOVATION PATHWAYS|STAFFORD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS|$978,449.30
Stafford County Public Schools (SCPS) requested $978,449.30 for their Innovation Pathways project to further develop existing and new educational programs to create a seamless career pathway for middle and high school students entering the workforce and wishing to pursue occupations in IT, computer science or cyber technology.
In partnership with G3 Community Services and GCubed, Inc., the project is a new 2-year certificate program to enable students to obtain CompTIA certifications in Information Technology Plus, A+, Network+, and Security+. The curriculum will include courses to train each student to pass the certification exam(s). The project’s goal is to provide training for 525 certifications.
“We at GCubed Enterprises, and G3Community services believe these examples of public private partnerships allow us to directly affect workforce development,” stated Vernon Green, Jr., Founder and CEO of Gcubed, Inc. “This program will generate qualified, certified, IT professionals right out of high school and help with the availability of IT and Cyber qualified teachers. We are excited to be a part of this initiative.”
The project will include summer camps and internship opportunities with industry partners in the cybersecurity and IT fields. SCPS has also partnered with the University of Mary Washington to include training and certifications for IT teachers throughout the region. This will create of pool of qualified instructors that can train students in schools in the Planning District 16’s five localities – Fredericksburg City and the Counties of Caroline, King George, Stafford and Spotsylvania
“Without access to industry certifications and highly-trained instructors who already have industry certifications, there is no economic development,” according to SCPS Superintendent Dr. Thomas Taylor. “This project addresses a hard reality: there is a concrete connection between economic growth, school quality, and well-trained, credentialed instructors. I am so proud of the Stafford Schools and G-Cubed partnership to solve this community challenge.”
Stafford County Public Schools, G3 Community Services, and GCubed, Inc. are providing the match for the project, which will have a total budget of $1,770,441.30. In addition to SCPS, King George County Public Schools and Caroline County Public Schools will serve on an advisory committee for the project.
WORKFORCE NOW|FREDERICKSBURG REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE|$230,000
The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce was awarded $230,000 for their Workforce NOW – Workforce and Internship Development Programming. In partnership with businesses, schools, and secondary and post-secondary institutions, the funding will focus on the planning and implementation of the Chamber’s annual Intern Expo and a series of workshops aimed at providing employers with the necessary tools and knowledge for hosting work-based learning opportunities. The grant will also provide support for workforce volunteers and Chamber staff in their overall efforts within the workforce development arena.
The Chamber previously was awarded an enhanced capacity building grant from GO Virginia Region 6 for the first Internship Expo and Hiring Workshop series. The success of this programming lead to the Chamber requesting Implementation funds to further their workforce efforts in the region. The current grant will span a 2-year period and will result in up to 100 work-based learning connections and internships across our region annually, focusing on GO Virginia’s targeted industries.
“An empowered and enriched workforce is the foundation of our region’s success. This GO Virginia funding will allow the FXBG Chamber’s Workforce NOW program, our business community and our students to come together to build upon our workforce.” Carley Walker, Vice President of Programs & Events at the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce stated. “Our goal is to create higher awareness and accessibility of intern/extern/apprenticeship (work-based learning) opportunities for businesses to host and students to participate in leading to higher paying, good quality jobs for all residents of GO Virginia Region 6.”
GO Virginia is a state-led initiative focused on creating private sector jobs in high-paying, high-growth industries by facilitating collaboration among each region’s government, education, and business leaders.