The General Assembly has been in session since early January, and we’re at the point where bills from one chamber cross over to the other. By this time, some bills have died on the vine, while others have moved over for further discussion and votes.
If you’re not tuned into what’s happening up in Richmond, here’s a quick rundown on the headlines that impact workforce development, careers and fields that are supported by FastForward training.
Consolidating workforce services in Virginia
With support from both chambers, a new proposed department would become a centralized agency for workforce development. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the “Department of Workforce Development and Advancement would be the administrator and fiscal agent — the money manager— for state programs that help people train for and find jobs.”
Working to reduce barriers for Nurse Aides
Nurse Aide training is one of the programs covered by FastForward, but even beyond Virginia’s Community Colleges, there are other training providers who support the pipeline into the field. Given the shortage of qualified instructors and lack of skilled talent, Gov. Youngkin announced in January that the Virginia Board of Nursing is working on changes to improve training and hiring of qualified nurse aides. There is a public comment period, which runs through March 1, 2023, and interested parties can comment through Townhall.Virginia.gov. The changes would become effective on March 16, 2023.
Focusing on postsecondary credentials
Unrelated to FastForward and Virginia’s Community Colleges is an interesting piece of legislation that echoes larger conversations happening in Virginia. According to Cardinal News, “HB 1726, sponsored by Del. Chris Head, R-Botetourt County, that requires the Department of Education to authorize a Virginia-based nonprofit organization as a local education agency to provide schools for adults to earn an industry-recognized credential or dual college credit and a high school diploma.” This bill advanced in its chamber and is crossing over for consideration.
Incentives, funding and more for expanding industry in Virginia
There are several budget bills and pieces of legislation that could mean jobs for skilled trades workers. DCist flagged that there is an incentive for the Commanders to build its stadium in Virginia. Axios Richmond highlighted incentives for the film and television industry. Cardinal News broke down the budgets in both chambers relating to an inland port in Southwest Virginia. And these just scratch the service. The more business and industry that comes to Virginia, the more carpenters, laborers, electricians, welders and heavy equipment operators we need.
Photo from Virginia General Assembly‘s Facebook page.