workforce luncheon1The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center’s (SVHEC) Workforce Advancement division and the South-Central Workforce Development Board (SCWDB) recently celebrated the Super Stars of Workforce with a luncheon for employers and employment supportive services agencies.

“This was a terrific opportunity to thank our employers – and the agencies who support them – for their positive contributions to our economic base,” said Dr. Betty Adams, SVHEC Executive Director. “It also provided a chance to share enhancements to the Work Ready Foundations program as well as bring to light increasing tuition assistance opportunities through programs such as the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant and Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act,” she continued.

During the luncheon, employers learned about the SVHEC’s Work Ready Foundations training program, funding options for the program, and SCWDB opportunities available to employers. SVHEC Director of Industry & Workforce Advancement, David Kenealy, described the Work Ready Foundations program as real world, effective, and for the employer. “The name of the training is not random—it is truly about preparing individuals for the workplace. We hire instructors based on their work experiences and competencies, and we train participants using hardware and software that replicates what employers have in their workplaces,” he stated.

The intensive, 11-week training provides broad, foundational training that includes safety, reading blueprints, material handling, and basic electrical concepts including gearboxes, switches, and AC/DC power conversion. Individuals who successfully complete the Work Ready Foundations program receive five industry recognized credentials including OSHA 10, CPR/First Aid, and NCCER Electrical One. The program has been revamped to be competency and project based, allowing individuals to progress through the curriculum as they meet established benchmarks.

Near the end of their training, participants receive assistance with transitioning into the workplace. They write resumes, practice interview skills, and have an opportunity to participate in a job fair exclusive to program participants.workforce luncheon2

Work Ready Foundations program coordinator, Deloris Jones, spoke to employers about the benefits of hiring from the Work Ready Foundations trained pool of applicants. “Individuals go through a screening process before they ever enter the program. We include one-on-one interviews to ensure they don’t have barriers to success, and if barriers exist, we direct participants to appropriate resources so they can overcome those barriers. We set the expectations up front, establishing soft skills training first and then building on that with technical skills,” she said.

Super Stars of Workforce Luncheon attendees also heard testimonials from Huber Engineered Woods and Comfort Systems USA, representatives who have hired Work Ready Foundations program completers. “Rather than put an ad on the internet and see who walks through the door, Work Ready Foundations is a great source for dependable prepared individuals,” said Mark Gosney with Comfort Systems USA. “One of our best employees is Marquee Medley who was in the first Work Ready Foundations cohort. The program mentally prepared him for the challenges ahead--I’d take 10 more employees like him if I could,” he continued.

South Boston One Stop representative Terra Napier shared information with employers on the National Dislocated Worker Job-Driven Grant that assists dislocated, long-term unemployed individuals, and can reimburse employers for a portion of wages. “The Job Driven Grant has allowed the South-Central Workforce Development Board the opportunity to assist the local employers in meeting their hiring needs and serving those job seekers who have been unemployed for an extended period of time. In addition, it has provided opportunities for dislocated workers to obtain credentials for high demand occupations such as IT, healthcare and advanced manufacturing,” said Debra Crowder, Executive Director of the South-Central Workforce Investment Board.
 
For more information about SVHEC Workforce Advancement or the Work Ready Foundations program visit email delorisjones@svhec.org, or call 434-572-5593.

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