FastForward programs at each of Virginia’s 23 community colleges work hand-in-hand with local businesses to ensure training programs are designed to meet regional hiring needs. In turn, local Virginians have affordable, flexible opportunities to train for in-demand jobs.
While our career coaches and faculty work hard to stay in sync with local industry demands and maintain relationships with partners, it’s important for employers to reach out and get involved.
Here are three ways businesses can work with their local community college to fill future workforce pipelines.
Serve as instructors
Just about every FastForward program offers hands-on training taught by real professionals with industry experience, like RN Farah Lane who teaches night classes at Mountain Empire Community College for students looking to achieve their nursing goals. FastForward needs a steady pipeline of instructors to train future talent as well as help shape training programs.
“We are currently struggling to find manufacturing, CDL and Heavy Equipment Operator (HEO) instructors,” said Kevin Ratliff, chief workforce officer at Blue Ridge Community College. “It’s also helpful for local professionals to serve on advisory committees and provide feedback regarding our programs.”
If you don’t have the bandwidth to commit to teaching, consider getting involved with students in a smaller capacity. For example, Virginia’s Community Colleges’ G3 Ambassador program provides opportunities to work closely with FastForward programs and other community college students.
“There are ways to be actively involved with students, like offering company tours or info sessions, providing information and letting graduates know of opportunities,” said Jason Ferguson, chief workforce officer at Central Virginia Community College. “Work-based learning is another great option that helps connect students to the workplace. And we encourage subject matter experts to serve as adjunct faculty or guest lecturers.”
At Eastern Shore Community College, “Companies can get involved in Career Days to make students aware of various career opportunities that are available to them as well our Lunch & Learn speaker series,” explained Chief Workforce Officer Scott Hall.
Communicate your needs
The most important thing local businesses can do is communicate with their local community college the need for new hires and training programs that will upskill current staff.
“CVCC has quarterly meetings to maintain consistent communication,” added Ferguson. “We are working to get more business presence on campus to promote partnerships.”
If your business is always scouting for new talent or looking for ways to get involved to help professionals build a successful career, reach out to your local community college today.