The future of Virginia’s manufacturing community is critical to the viability of the commonwealth, with 6,000 manufacturers employing more than 200,000 people and contributing $34 billion to the state’s gross national product. A two-year Tobacco Commission grant is paving the way for the Virginia Manufacturing Association (VMA) and the Virginia Community College System to ensure advanced manufacturing careers get the attention they deserve in attracting a new generation of Virginia’s talent.
The objective of the grant is to expand VCCS’s successful coaching model in rural Virginia with a focus on coaching students with an interest in and aptitude for advanced manufacturing careers. VMA’s role will be to apply its Dream It. Do It. Virginia (DIDIVA) program to change perceptions about careers in manufacturing and increase public interest in pursuing careers in advanced manufacturing career pathways, including obtaining industry certifications to complement academic credentials.
The advanced manufacturing high school career coach will serve a unique function among the many high school career coaches, receiving specialized training on advanced manufacturing and its workforce needs. These coaches will serve juniors and seniors who are identified as having an aptitude for the sophisticated technology skills required by the industry. The advanced manufacturing high school career coach will ensure that identified learners are engaged in a planned sequence of curricular and extra-curricular activities that are designed to prepare them for today’s high-performance manufacturing environment.