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There’s a lot to love about FastForward: Read what students and instructors have to say about the short-term training program

Love is in the air this time of year, and while many people celebrate Valentine’s Day with fancy dinner reservations or weekend getaways, how about showing some love for the talented students and instructors helping to fill the talent pipeline in Virginia’s most high-demand industries.

Whether holding a welder and bonding metals together brings you joy or working with patients in the healthcare system is more your speed, FastForward’s umbrella of training offerings supply a career boost for all types of job seekers and future leaders.  

Keep reading to learn what FastForward graduates and faculty have loved about their FastForward experience.

Doubling down on caring for others💞

When Laurel Ridge Community College student Morgan Palme first considered earning a credential, she hesitated, mostly because of what she envisioned would be a big price tag for the training. But after some inspirational words of encouragement from her grandmother, and a conversation with her local community college career coach, Palme discovered it would cost her $0 to earn her certified clinical medical assistant (CMA) and phlebotomy technician credentials.

“This career field is a big change for me,” Palme said. “But, I’ve always had a passion for caring for people and wanting them to feel better. I’ve had a lot of patients here say that I really care for them as a patient. I love it.”

Learn more about Palme’s experience, and see how you can fall in love with a healthcare credential today.

Mom welders rule

Need inspiration for starting your own FastForward journey? Heather Owens’ path to becoming a welder through FastForward—while simultaneously raising three daughters—should be enough to get at least one foot in the door.

Owens’ career in nursing had left her uninspired and searching for more hands-on work. That’s when FastForward swooped in for the career save.

After completing welding training and landing a job in Southwest Virginia, Owens said life is treating her well. “I love getting to see the final product because it’s something that you’re building yourself,”

Forge a career in the welding industry, and learn more about Owen’s discoveries along the way.

All aboard, job seekers

It’s no surprise that one of the largest shipyards in the world, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, which also represents one of the oldest shipyards in the world, has become a major hub for ship building companies that constantly need more skilled workers.

Virginia Ship Repair Association’s Marine Trade Training (MTT) was created to soften the workforce shortage and helps train thousands of Virginians for careers in the ship building and repair industry. The organization partners with Tidewater Community College and offers FastForward training, a move that has helped speed up the training process.

90% of students who go through shipbuilding related programs, such as welding, coatings, sheet metal, pipe fitting and structural fitting and more, get a job immediately following program completion.

“It’s great to get a credential, but we are even more proud when our students get a job. If you think about a model program, it should provide the student with a training credential and then a job,” said Tamara Williams, vice president of workforce solutions at Tidewater Community College. “We love programs like this. Industry partners are very vested in the program’s success.”

If shipbuilding sparks your interest, keep reading to learn more.

Leading the next generation

We’ve all had a teacher that has made a lasting impact on our life, and Virginia’s Community Colleges’ Career Switcher Program, EducateVA, is paving the way for new teachers to enter the workforce who have previously worked as doctors, lawyers, pharmacists and other non-teacher jobs.

The program gives job switchers the flexibility to keep their full-time job and have quality family time at home during the training by utilizing a hybrid approach with both in-person and virtual class options.

After students finish their training, instructors regularly check in with students to track progress and answer classroom-related questions.

“We want to make sure we are supporting teachers. We want them to be successful as much as they want to be successful,” said Dr. Stephanie Moore, assistant director of EducateVA. “A lot of students are emailing us saying it’s hard, but that they love it and are so glad they made the move to the classroom.”

If becoming a teacher is up your alley, learn more about what you can expect in the program.

Inspired? Eager to get started? Ready to finally LOVE your career? The first step is talking with a career coach.