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Career skills training moving to forefront

RICHMOND — Gov. Ralph Northam has announced a collaborative effort to transform workforce programs at Virginia Community College System (VCCS).

Many programs train students with applied skills requiring them to take general education courses before advancing to essential skills-based courses. To best prepare students with the skills needed for high-demand, well-paying jobs, VCCS will work to redesign career pathways so that skill training is at the start of each program.

“Completion shouldn’t be the only measure of success at the community college level—it should also be defined by securing a good job,” said Northam. “We can and should prepare students with high-demand skills the moment they enter the community college system, and ensure that they have a foundation that will yield success at several points over the course of the program, including if they leave with a job before completion.”

Northam allocated $5 million of federal workforce discretionary funds to support redesign of the community college system. Each college will compete for funds used to rethink how they do business and support students, as well as current and future companies.

Each college will receive a minimum of $100,000 and a maximum of $500,000 to support its redesign. Businesses will endorse each pathway to ensure curricula align to 21st century needs.

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