Through a new state-wide initiative announced Tuesday by Gov. Ralph Northam, Virginia Western Community College will pursue support for the continued creation and refinement of academic pathways that lead to high-demand, well-paying jobs in the Roanoke Region.
Gov. Northam allocated $5 million of federal workforce discretionary funds to Virginia’s Community Colleges to focus on academic planning for the growing industry sectors of IT, healthcare, manufacturing and trades, public safety and early childhood education. Virginia Western is in collaborative discussions within the college and with industry partners to identify its strongest proposal for the early January deadline.
“Our programs are designed and continually refined to ensure they serve the needs of our students, whether they are pursuing a career immediately or plan to transfer to a four-year university, and to serve the economic needs of our community,” said Dr. Elizabeth Wilmer, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “We are thrilled that there is state-wide support for the enhancement of skills-based courses that will lead to industry recognized credentials, and we are eager to be a part of this initiative.”
The Governor’s initiative is slated to provide up to a maximum of $500,000 of funding for 10-month projects at individual community colleges. It continues the work of the FastForward program, which supports students as they take short-term programs in pursuit of training credentials in growing industries. Virginia Western will look to hone its stackable certificate and degree programs to provide students with the skill and the credentials they need to succeed in a rapid manner.