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How community colleges help local businesses build the future workforce

There are a few industries in Virginia that not even a pandemic could impact. In fact, the pandemic may have even increased the need for skilled, trained workers. While four-year institutions address a spectrum of career fields, community colleges tends to have a more concentrated focus: the community – navigating the needs of local employers, and what jobs might be open when community college students graduate.

Here’s how FastForward training and other community college programs help local businesses build their workforce.

Information Technology

Our colleges help train students in a variety of IT and digital-related fields. Looking for someone who has a suite of CompTIA certifications? Great, because 70% of our colleges offer the training. CISCO networking? AWS architect? Our colleges train students for those roles, too.

Some colleges even have formed their own apprenticeship relations and boot camp programs to add more value to students and for business partners. For example, Piedmont Community College has a 10-week Analyst Boot Camp that starts the process for students to receive top-secret security clearance.


The healthcare industry is the heartbeat of many of Virginia’s communities – and we know this because all our community colleges run at least one healthcare FastForward training program. Some run as many as 15 different programs, training for a variety of healthcare positions – from billing and coding, to nursing aids, pharmacy technician, phlebotomist and EKG techs.

In addition to short-term training, our colleges are known in their communities for training future nurses and EMS personnel through associate degree programs. This will be even more apparent in the coming months and years as G3 rolls out at colleges.

Welding and Manufacturing

Following in the footsteps of healthcare, 97% of our colleges offer some kind of welding and manufacturing FastForward training, like Certified Welder training. Once you start to look around the Commonwealth, you’ll see what makes FastForward training special: regional nuance to meet local demand.

For our more rural communities, our colleges may offer a mix of American Welding Society and National Institute for Metalworking Skills training to help students earn certifications in flux core arc, gas metal arc, gas tungsten arc, CNC milling and about a dozen others.

Our colleges also have associate degree programs in this space and work with four-year university programs to collaborate on research and training, like through the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

Logistics and Transportation

From CDL drivers and remote airman pilots, to certified logistics associates and technicians, FastForward training covers off an operations at almost every stop of the supply chain – on the ground and in the air.

As the focus on infrastructure becomes greater and greater in the Commonwealth, FastForward credentials ensure that local businessess have a skilled workforce ready to get the job done.

If you’re looking to make a hire, or if you’re looking to train your existing workforce, contact your local community college about the possibilities where you live.