The GO Virginia Region 6 Council announced $882,536 of funding for two workforce development projects that focus on enhancing career pathways in the region’s targeted industry clusters. The two projects both have strong industry support and share the goal of bridging the gap between education and the private sector by addressing the needs of area employers. The projects are led by Rappahannock Community College Education Foundation (RCCEF) and the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement (VTCECE) and will be implemented over the course of the next few years. Region 6 Localities participating in the projects are primarily located in the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck regions. The VTCECE project is a multi-region initiative in partnership with Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore (Region 5).

Rappahannock Community College Educational Foundation | Expanding Dual Enrolled HVAC and Diesel Training at RCC’s New Career Training Center

The Rappahannock Community College Educational Foundation (RCCEF) has been awarded $290,000 from Region 6’s Per Capita allocations to renovate and repurpose an existing maintenance warehouse structure on the RCC Glenns Campus to improve classroom space and expand dual enrollment opportunities for the College’s high demand workforce training programs. The new Career Training Center will offer courses in diesel mechanics, welding, and HVAC.  The Center will allow for day classes for dual enrolled students and evening classes for adult students. Overall, the new facility will support training in a more central location while expanding dual enrollment opportunities to Essex, Gloucester, Lancaster and Middlesex County Schools.

Classes will begin in the 2024-2025 academic year for both dual enrolled students and adult learners. Dual enrollment partnership agreements will expand with Essex County Public Schools, Gloucester County Public Schools, Lancaster County Public Schools and Middlesex County Public Schools.

“Rappahannock Community College is so thankful for the GO Virginia grant in support of our career training center on the Glenns campus,” expressed Dr. Shannon Kennedy, President of Rappahannock Community College. “We will now be able to expand two programs – diesel mechanics and HVAC – from part-time to full-time programs and expand our welding capacity meeting employer needs in our region and giving dual enrollment students an opportunity to participate while still in high school.”

The GO Virginia award is matched with $313,500.00 in local, federal, and foundation funds. An additional$757,964.00 is also being leveraged for the project. This brings the total project budget to $1,361,464.00. The core grant outcomes for the project include 130 students trained, 115 jobs created/filled, 10 businesses served, 117 credentials awarded, and 59 students enrolled in dual enrollment programs.

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.

Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement| Promoting Careers in Aquaculture 2.0

The Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement (VTCECE) was awarded $302,536 from the Competitive Fund for the Promoting Careers in Aquaculture 2.0 project. This project is in partnership with both GO Virginia Regions 5 and 6.  Participating localities from each of the regions include the Counties of Gloucester, Lancaster, Mathews, Northampton, Richmond and York, and the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson and Williamsburg. Virginia Tech, in partnership with participating school systems, the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, and Rappahannock, Eastern Shore, and Virginia Peninsula Community Colleges, will work to address the aquaculture industry’s need for skilled, dedicated employees. Students will be trained through online learning modules, a one-week, hands-on education immersion summer course and 75-hour intern placements with local industry partners. This project is an expansion of the successful Promoting Careers in Aquaculture pilot program led by Rappahannock Community College.

The updated program’s multi-pronged approach will create positive career and growth opportunities for students, teachers and participating industry partners. The enhanced programming also builds in a teach-the-teacher element to expand instruction capacity and create a long-term sustainability plan. VTCECE will continuously evaluate the project across the grant period to identify potential adjustments. This will culminate in a yearly evaluation report.

“Virginia Tech is thrilled to have the opportunity to enrich and expand the Promoting Careers in Aquaculture program to more students, teachers, higher education partners, workforce councils and aquaculture industry partners encompassing a larger footprint of Coastal Virginia,” stated Mallory Tuttle, Associate Director of the Virginia Tech Newport News Center. “Providing support to help ensure the longevity of this legacy industry is the core mission of this program. We are grateful for the financial support of GO Virginia and our contributing partners who value both the mission and expected project outcomes.”

The match provided for the project totals $164,733.00 with $22,274.00 of additional leverage for a total project budget of $489,542.60. The core grant outcomes for this project include 100 students and 16 teachers trained, 24 businesses served, 58 internships created, 74 credentials awarded.