“Workforce Development.” Buzzwords in anything economic development, it’s at the center of almost every conversation. How to attract, recruit, train and retain a skilled workforce. There are boards, meetings, roundtable discussions, committees, and pathways…but what does it actually look like? Practically speaking, how does one get out of the idea phase into implementation…implementation that actually works? Below, we highlight some of the programs in LYH that are addressing this very thing…in ways large and small, businesses and institutions that are carving out a path for the future of workforce development.
Women in Machining
Machining is a historically male-dominated field, with over 95% of our local machinists being men. Vector Space, a local makerspace, sought to impact this number with a Women in Machining program. This program specifically aims to provide workforce training and opportunities for individuals who fall within 200% of the federal poverty level or below, by matching women to these high-paying, skilled jobs.
Women in Machining is a 12-week workforce training program run by Vector Space that aims to assist women in finding employment in the machinist field, filling a critical role in our advanced manufacturing jobs in the City. Partnering agencies include funding from the Hire Lynchburg grant through the City of Lynchburg, recruitment from Jubilee Family Development Center, and SkillsUSA Curriculum led by Virginia Career Works. Partnering employers include Belvac, Wegmann USA, Automated Conveyor Systems, BWX Technologies, and Banker Steel. Throughout the 12-week program, these women learn to operate metal lathes and milling machines, creating precision metal parts, and understanding the operation of industrial equipment paramount to the manufacturing industry.
JobFit at CloudFit
JobFit is a 501c3 charity that is about “providing hope and opportunity to adults using jobs as the enabler”. JobFit is focused on Information Technology, Cloud, and Computer Science jobs in the Central Virginia Region. JobFit serves Central Virginia by focusing programs on middle school students, high school students, college students, and career changers. JobFit’s programs enable participants to learn age-and-skill-appropriate aspects of technology to prepare them for roles in the workforce. JobFit (in partnership with CloudFit Software, LLC) offers paid internships to high school students, college students, and career changers each summer which allows individuals to learn, and to be mentored. To date, 16 JobFit interns have been hired by CloudFit, including 4 out of the most recent 2023 summer program.
Beacon of Hope
The Stay Close, Go Far High School Summer Internship Program launched as a pilot program in Summer 2022. In the first year, 34 students and 13 local businesses participated in the pilot, where students learned interview skills, job readiness, and on-the-job training. A huge success, the program was expanded in the summer of 2023 to include 23 businesses and more than 150 applicants!
The Summer Internship opportunity is so important for both our students and businesses. On the business side, the Internship seeks to directly connect the needs of our local workforce and economic development community with a pipeline of talent within Lynchburg City Schools. The Summer Internship helps home grow our workforce by introducing students to opportunities right here at home to local businesses that are ready and willing to hire them on day one after graduation, whether it’s from high school or college.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) is a high school program that prepares students for a wide range of careers. An integral part of preparing students for life post-high school, these courses help students meet both academic standards and learn practical skills. The CTE program is looking to expand its reach and has been partnering with local businesses to provide more awareness and opportunities to its students. This spring, our office partnered with Lynchburg City Schools CTE and more than 15 employers, hosting a 2-day job fair for both local high schools, providing opportunities for students looking for summer employment and job skills training.
CVCC + Framatome
In a press release on May 25, 2023, Framatome announced the relaunch of the Framatome Nuclear Technology Academy, a collaborative workforce training program in partnership with Central Virginia Community College (CVCC). Available to current and future CVCC-enrolled students, the program provides both classroom and hands-on training for those interested in joining the energy sector.
The program provides flexibility for students to pursue Associate of Applied Science degrees in nuclear technician specialties, alternating between the classroom and work in a real-world environment at a Framatome project site. Upon successful completion of the Framatome program, participants begin their full-time careers as nuclear technicians.
The program was initially launched in 2004; as the demand for skilled technicians continues to increase to meet national and international energy needs, Framatome has modernized the program, working with CVCC, and is investing $400,000 over the next four years in the program as part of its commitment to maintaining the industry’s future workforce.
“The labor challenges facing the nuclear industry are clear indicators that we must proactively develop new training opportunities for current and future employees,” said Dr. John Capps, president of CVCC. “The relaunch of the Nuclear Technology Academy is an essential part of our dedication to partner with private industry in this effort.” The Framatome Nuclear Technology Academy has over 30 participants for the fall 2023 cohort.
If your company has a great workforce development program that you would like to share, or if you have questions on how your company can participate in workforce development programs, please reach out to our office to learn more email@example.com