New grant will help expand registered apprenticeship program

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The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) has awarded Virginia Western Community College a $140,000 grant to support the expansion of registered apprenticeship opportunities to help students gain a quality education in addition to on-the-job training in a rewarding career. 

Virginia
Western is one of 66 colleges in the country selected for the Expanding
Community College Apprenticeship (ECCA) initiative, led by AACC with funding
from the U.S. Department of Labor to increase the number of registered
apprentice programs and services throughout the country. The ECCA project will
be conducted over three years. Participating colleges were competitively
selected, and will serve 12,000 of the 16,000 total registered apprenticeships.

Virginia
Western will collaborate with local businesses and industries to train more
than 150 apprentices in in-demand areas with focuses on advanced manufacturing
and healthcare. Efforts will eventually expand to include construction/building
trades, hospitality, IT, finance and business, telecommunications and
agriculture.

Regional
workforce, economic development, and industry leaders collaborated with key
personnel at Virginia Western on Tuesday morning at the college’s
Apprenticeship Program Kick-Off meeting. The group of attendees all
acknowledged the need to bring more local awareness to the value of registered
apprenticeships in high-demand occupations and agreed to take an active role in
a multi-agency apprenticeship advisory group.

“Creating
a sustainable apprenticeship program will increase the pipeline of skilled
workers in the Roanoke region,” said Jill Loope, Director of Economic
Development for Roanoke County. “Apprenticeship is a time-tested approach to
training and developing a skilled workforce, resulting in increased
productivity, retention and performance for an employer’s bottom line. With
regional sights set on talent development, grant money will fuel an apprenticeship
program that solidifies sustainable solutions for employers, creates more
opportunity for workers, and promotes the value of skill development in
high-demand industries.”

“Virginia
Western is committed to developing a quality apprenticeship program that will
create gainful and sustainable pipelines of opportunities capable of
transforming lives,” added Dr. Milan Hayward, Vice President of Virginia
Western’s School of Career and Corporate Training (CCT). “The apprenticeship
program, coordinated through our Hall Associates Career Center, will support
strong career pathways that lead to employment. As we continue to expand our
connections with business and industry partners and take an active role in
registered apprenticeship programs, the regional community and economic impacts
will be significant.”

In
addition to offering two-year degree and one-year certificate programs, CCT,
formerly known as Workforce Development Services, offers short-term training
programs that lead to industry recognized credentials and certifications. CCT
programs that will have an immediate growth in apprenticeship opportunities
include Pharmacy Technician, Medical Assisting, Certified Nursing Assistant,
Machining and Advanced Manufacturing.

For
additional information regarding apprenticeship training or sponsor partnership
opportunities, please contact Sadie Remington, Virginia Western’s
apprenticeship coordinator, at mremington@virginiawestern.edu.

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