2023 was another impressive year of growth for FastForward. Since 2016, the short-term credential program has helped students living in Virginia earn more than 52,900 credentials in industries ranging from infrastructure to nursing.
As Virginia continues to experience rapid economic growth and development with recent accolades including being named the top state for quality of life (Forbes) and the No. 1 state for business (CNBC), the commonwealth needs a constant stream of skilled employees to keep up with the high demand.
So, in the spirit of renewal this year, keep reading to see how FastForward helped thousands of students spring forward their careers. Now, it’s your turn!
Affordability meets flexibility
What continues to make FastForward unique and attractive for job seekers is its affordability and focus on short-term courses that cater to working adults. 86% of FastForward students have never been enrolled at one of Virginia’s Community Colleges.
If you’re over the age of 30 and hesitant about making a career change, you’ll be pleased to know that the average FastForward student is 35 years old, with many students enrolling during the final stage of their career.
FastForward instructors welcome all adult learners with open arms and often find students with more work experience beneficial to the classroom experience, as they provide real-world context and industry insight to the younger students, helping provide a more well-rounded experience for everyone.
Support has never been better
When you enroll in a FastForward program, you become a valued member of the local community college, which comes with support in and out of the classroom. Over 60% of students enrolled in FastForward have dependents, and each college works with learners to help them access childcare.
In 2023, FastForward continued working with SingleStop, a website that provides quick access to state and federal work benefits. On top of wraparound support like SingleStop, 2023 data found that FastForward students who received Workforce Credential Grants were twice as likely to receive SNAP / TANF benefits compared to other college students.
More pay, more play
Last year, FastForward helped more students take paid vacations and pay less when they showed up to the doctor’s office. On average, 78% of FastForward graduates have paid vacation and another 78% have employer-paid medical insurance.
Sound enticing? It doesn’t stop there. More and more FastForward students are finding their credential is something their employer wants, and 86% of students are satisfied with their job stability after earning a credential.
Many credential earners are seeing average wage increases, too, which include:
- Business: Average increase of $14,328
- Education: Average increase of $22,737
- Healthcare: Average increase of $10,105
- Information Technology: Average increase of $19,139
- Logistics & Transportation: Average increase of $12,153
- Skilled Trades: Average increase of $17,190
- Welding and Manufacturing: Average increase of $19,303
And last, but certainly not least, in 2023, 95% of students that started a FastForward program went on to complete the coursework. If you’re looking for a resolution that you see through this year, the odds are in your favor.
Learn more about starting your own FastForward journey today by visiting https://fastforwardva.org/. A career coach should be in touch with you to get started.