FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – In their first two years, FastForward workforce training programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) have enabled Virginians to earn more than 11,000 industry-recognized credentials to advance their careers. The most recent statistics were shared with the Virginia State Board for Community Colleges at its scheduled July meeting.
“Thanks to FastForward, thousands of our fellow-Virginians have been able to secure new jobs and career promotions,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “In the process, many of these newly-empowered workers are enjoying healthy wage hikes, and Virginia businesses are finding more of the skilled workers they need.”
“When we first proposed this initiative, we hoped to achieve 10,000 new credentials in the first two years, and we did even better than that,” DuBois added. “But the numbers tell only part of the story.”
This spring, the VCCS surveyed people who trained through FastForward. Nearly 700 FastForward graduates responded.
Here’s a sampling of their survey responses:
“I was stuck in a dead end job for a boss I didn’t like. Training was very satisfying, fun, and informative. After training, I got a job right away in a field that I like. I’m getting experience toward getting the job I want, which would not be possible without the training.”
“I needed a job with benefits and I was tired of working weekends. Now I am working a job that is Monday-Friday, and I love it. I am being challenged and supported by my supervisors, and my coworkers are good to get along with.”
“I had worked at a basically dead-end job for years and had few marketable skills. Within the first two sessions of class, I felt like I was finally moving forward in life. It only took me about two weeks after training to find a job in the field I trained for.”
“I was very frustrated with the part time work I was doing, with low pay and no benefits. I had been out of the work force taking care of my elderly mother, but it was only for two and a half years. After she died, I could not get anyone to hire me for a full time job with benefits. People said things like ‘We don’t hire anyone who hasn’t worked in a while’ as if there was something wrong with me for taking care of my mother. I had to beg for food and medicine to survive, even with the part time job. I was so glad to be able to take a short-term training program at night that showed that I could learn new skills and was willing to work in a challenging field. I passed the National certification exam and began applying for jobs. I was chosen for the first one I was interviewed for! I love my new job, and have the pay and benefits I need. The instructor was wonderful.”
“Coming from retail work but with huge passion to join the health care field to save lives, I had no knowledge about health care. But after taking my CCMA program, I totally am on the right track of achieving my dream of being a part of the health care team to save lives.”
“We’re grateful for the General Assembly’s continued support for the Workforce Credential Grant program that makes FastForward programs so affordable to Virginians,” said DuBois. “We’re proud to share some of the stories that show FastForward is changing lives for the better in Virginia.”
Learn more at www.fastforwardva.org.
About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 252,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.