The “Road to Success in Virginia Program” is Helping Virginians Transition from Government Assistance to Lifelong Careers
Submitted by Amanda Christopher, workforce development, VCCS, and Layia Perry, workforce development, Central Virginia Community College
The Road to Success in Virginia Program (RSVP) envisions a Virginia in which all TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) recipients will have a path forward to a brighter future. This means that RSVP participants receive training, skills and credentials for employment and independent of TANF benefits.
Participating RSVP regions in Virginia include Richmond and Petersburg, Lynchburg, Roanoke, Blacksburg, and Radford.
RSVP participants have a wide array of services at their fingertips, including training that leads to industry credentials (aligning with the strategic plan for the Virginia Community College System), soft skill, work-readiness training, personal coaches to help every step of the way, business contacts for easy job placement, and GED preparation and testing.
Central Virginia Community College (CVCC) recently celebrated the graduation of nine RSVP students in their Hospitality Management Program. Graduates received multiple credentials, including Career Studies Certificates in Hospitality Management and certifications from the National Restaurant Association (AHLEI).
All nine RSVP graduates are now employed. While many of the industry level credentials and training afford them the opportunity for entry-level positions, they are also positioned to advance quickly and secure a sustainable career.
Nickki, a recent CVCC RSVP graduate, was weary of entering the program because she didn’t believe it would take her anywhere. She quickly gained confidence, passed her tests, obtained her credentials, graduated, and now has a full-time job as a marketing coordinator at a resort with a salary of $40,000 with benefits. A 10-week class changed her and her family’s life. Nickki is hoping to hire RSVP graduates on her staff in the future.
“When the students come into the program it can be frightening for them because many have never set foot on a college campus before,” said CVCC RSVP Coordinator and Coach Layia Perry. “Nobody wants to talk on the first day of class; they don’t even know how to relate to each other. For me, to see every one of them obtain credentials and to see them realize that they can do something beneficial for their lives was incredible. The joy and self-esteem boost was amazing.”
“After having children of my own, I thought college was a luxury I could not afford,” said Nickki.
The RSVP program has changed the lives of many like Nickki. To learn more, please contact Alex Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org or (804) 819-1675.
CAPTION: From Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to marketing coordinator at Peaks of Otter, Nickki has found joy in her new career.
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