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What you may not know about workforce training at your local community college

When the local business community is thriving, chances are the trickle-down effect will be felt at every level of an organization and into the community itself. But when businesses are struggling to find skilled workers to hire, something must be done to bridge the gap. Community college programs are that bridge.

Your local community college is training individuals in your community for Virginia’s most in-demand jobs, but what does that look like?

Customized training

Every community college offers some level of customized training, so not only will your employees learn the advanced skills needed to do their job, but they will also take away some of the soft skills that can lead to a more productive and efficient workforce.

“We offer customized training, consulting and coaching solutions across a variety of industries to meet employer needs,” said Christy Hawkins, dean of workforce services at Piedmont Virginia Community College.

Quickly filling the pipeline

We prepare students to take their industry credential exams in a matter of weeks, so you can hire them on the other side. FastForward programs, for example, are usually 6-12 weeks long.

“We offer low-cost, short-term training programs in healthcare, IT, manufacturing and transportation that get people skilled up so they can get to work, generally in less than 90 days,” said Kevin Ratliff, dean of workforce and continuing education at Blue Ridge Community College.

Adjusting for local need

Community colleges are experts in local hiring needs, and programs are constantly fluxing to meet that need.

“Our college helps train and credential students to provide a pipeline of applicants for an employer’s workforce needs,” said Randall Rose, dean of workforce and continuing education at Southwest Virginia Community College.

Programs that fall under FastForward must be proven to have a connection to local demand. If there are no opportunities for welders in a certain community, that community’s local college is not going to offer the program. Conversely, if an organization is expanding and creating new job opportunities, colleges will adapt and add specific industry trainings to help support that need for skilled employees.

Want to learn more about the connections between your business and your local community college? Visit our Information for Employers page, and reach out to learn more about opportunities where you do business.