VCCS workforce and career training programs earn bipartisan praise during congressional visits - VCCS

VCCS workforce and career training programs earn bipartisan praise during congressional visits

Home|Blog|VCCS workforce and career training programs earn bipartisan praise during congressional visits

In separate visits to a pair of Virginia Community Colleges last week, two of President Biden’s cabinet secretaries held up VCCS workforce and career training programs as models that could be emulated nationwide to boost student success and help employers find critically needed skilled workers.  Adding a bipartisan note of support, a conservative Republican congressman told students at a third college that the specialized job training they’re receiving will make the nation safer.

Workforce and career training programs are among the fastest growing courses at Virginia’s Community Colleges.  FastForward workforce credential training prepares students for family-sustaining careers in weeks or months, not years.  And G3 career training programs increase access for low-to-moderate income students to prepare for work high-demand fields including public safety, information technology, healthcare, skilled trades, construction and manufacturing, and early childhood education.

Reynolds Community College:

Image of Sen. Tim Kaine and Ed Secretary Cardona

Sen. Tim Kaine and U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona view a demonstration of EMT training at Reynolds Community College downtown campus, May 2.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and U.S. senator Tim Kaine met May 2nd with students and faculty from EMT and health care professions programs at Reynolds Community College.

Cardona has pushed for schools to reimagine education by ensuring pathways through higher education that lead to successful careers. At Reynolds, “they’re doing it masterfully,” Cardona said.

“We don’t often say it like this, but community colleges like Reynolds are really economic development engines,” Cardona noted.  “This community’s economic stability is better off because of this community college.  You see the importance not only of education but providing job opportunities for your students.”

“Students here are getting a top-notch education and experience that will lead to good jobs.  I’m going to push hard to make programs like this the norm, not the exception, for programs across the country.  I’m here to learn from your experience to help drive my policy decisions,” added Cardona.

image ofd student panelAt a roundtable discussion about the importance of training opportunities, Garrick Williams, seen in the center, said he previously had enrolled in a four-year institution and left when he had a change of heart about this career goals. Williams earned a healthcare certification at Reynolds in February, and that’s just the first step toward his new goal.  “I really didn’t see myself in healthcare at the beginning, but now I realize I do want to help people. So, at first I wanted to help people by fixing cars. Now I want to fix their bodies.”

Virginia Peninsula Community College:

image of Labor Secretary Walsh


Also on May 2nd, U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and congressman Robert “Bobby” Scott met with students and faculty in the growing construction and welding program at Virginia Peninsula Community College (formerly known as Thomas Nelson CC).  Community Colleges in Virginia’s tidewater region offer these programs with a targeted goal of training workers for the area’s important shipbuilding and marine services industries.

Secretary Walsh noted, “Virginia Peninsula Community College and the [Newport News Shipbuilding] Apprentice School have been a role model for expanding and diversifying apprenticeships and are a shining example of the workforce development investments needed to grow our nation’s middle class.”

Image of Congressman Bobby Scott


Rep. Scott, D-3rd District and also chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee) said teaching people the skills they need to re-enter the workforce is critical to the nation’s recovery from the pandemic.  He echoed Walsh’s statement that the job training programs they visited at VPCC and the Apprentice School are “national examples” of how to do that.

Danville Community College:

Image of Rep. Good meeting with DCC officials

Interim Pres. Muriel Mickles, l, escorted U.S. Rep. Bob Good, second from left, during his visit to the DCC campus May 3.

U.S. Rep. Bob Good, R-5th District, underscored the importance of specialized manufacturing programs related to the national defense when he met with faculty and students at Danville Community College on May 3rd.  Rep. Good visited the Charles Hawkins Engineering and Industrial Technologies building at DCC, where students train for careers in machining, metrology, welding and additive manufacturing, also called professional or industrial 3D printing. “Thank you for what you’re learning,” Good told a group of metrology students at DCC during his tour. “It will make our country safer.”



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