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Workforce training: Setting yourself up for success

A FastForward education at your local community college prepares individuals for a career in an in-demand field right in their community. Programs to earn a credential or certification, many stackable, take just a few short weeks and run year-round.

Whether you’re starting in the summer, fall, spring or somewhere in between – be sure to set yourself up for success. Here are three tips for ensuring a smooth and successful learning experience.

Plan, schedule and pull in support.

Most FastForward students juggle caring for their family, working a job and more. Schedule study time ahead of exams, designate days for meal prep, coordinate student drop off and pickup with neighbors or parents in your neighborhood and plan for anything else in your typical routine that might be disrupted when your classes begin.

If part of your program is online, be sure also to designate a study space in your home away from distractions.

Anticipating and planning for these changes in your life will help alleviate everyday stressors.

Take advantage of grants and financial aid resources.

FastForward graduates have completed programs, some paying just $25 total (others even $0!). Be sure to schedule a time to talk with your local Career Coach to explore the many financial support opportunities. There are several funding resources, financial aid and new incentives and programs like Re-Employing Virginia (REV) and VA Ready that cover program costs or provide financial awards when completing an educational program. 

In addition to program tuition and fees, Career Coaches can help students find ways to relieve other financial burdens like sourcing childcare, connecting you with local services to help put food on the table and more.

And don’t forget, being a FastForward student means you’re a student at your local community college. You’ll have access to library resources to rent a laptop or simply set up shop to study on campus.

Remember, you can do this.

Stay positive and confident from start to finish. If it has been several years since you’ve been in a classroom, don’t worry – many FastForward students are in the same boat. Remind yourself of your capabilities, and remember, you have life experience and life skills to leverage like critical thinking, leadership and problem solving.

If you need a little inspiration, read about Megan, a single-mother who pursued a career through FastForward training to secure a future for herself and her daughter. And Gerri, who finally pursued her lifelong career goals to become a CNA at the age of 65.

Interested in pursuing a career in an industry you love, or ready for a career change but not sure where to start? Reach out today to get connected with a Career Coach at your local community college.