FastForward is a unique program that exists across all 23 of Virginia’s Community Colleges. In different geographical areas, different industries are more prominent. For example, the shipbuilding industry is big in the Hampton Roads area, but without a coastline, it is not as relevant of an industry in Southwest Virginia.
FastForward is a grant-funded program that identifies those high-demand industries and offers individuals (or your employees) short-term career training. It is a program for students to become more hirable, but another goal of the program is to provide local businesses with skilled employees who are ready to hit the ground running.
Here are three ways your local community college acts as your local workforce partner.
While FastForward is one source of training funding, there are several different funding avenues available to your employees and future employees. Jason Ferguson, associate vice president of professional and career studies at Central Virginia Community College added, “There are so many opportunities now that greatly reduces or eliminates costs to the individual or business.”
Upskilling your new hires
Blue Ridge Community College’s Dean of Workforce and Continuing Education Kevin Ratliff shared that, “Retention efforts could start with investing in apprenticeship type training in partnership with the community college.”
Getting hires in the door and in an apprenticeship can help upskill your workforce fast – without carving out hours to train them in-house.
A collaborative, flexible partner
We understand that one-size doesn’t fit all, and community colleges can craft trainings specific to your businesses (and your workforce’s) needs. “At Workforce Solutions we are more than just trainers — we’re problem solvers. That’s why we listen first, asking the right questions to make sure we really understand your business and workforce needs before proposing a solution. We believe in the value of collaboration and want to partner with you to design solutions for long-term success rather than short-term fixes,” said Guy Curtis, director of marketing, business and industry training at Lord Fairfax Community College.
Southwest Virginia Community College’s Dean Workforce & Continuing Education Randall Rose summed it up well: “It’s a great time to encourage your employees to continue education and training, and [your local community college] can help with that.”
Editor’s Note: At the time of publishing, Laurel Ridge Community College was named Lord Fairfax Community College.