“Workforce development is a key component for creating a new Virginia economy,” said Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe in his announcement of a new workforce development initiative, “SkillsOnline,” which should prove a valuable resource for recent high school and postsecondary graduates, as well as transitioning military personnel.
In order to provide the state’s workforce with the skills today’s businesses need, public broadcaster WHRO of southeastern Virginia has entered a partnership with Rappahannock and three other Virginia community colleges to make this professional development and workforce training portal available to the general public. SkillsOnline offers access to nearly 3,500 self-paced and instructor-led courses at convenient times and locations.
This service is an affordable and efficient way by which companies can train workers, provide industry certification, and offer professional advancement. Employers can offer SkillsOnline courses as an employee benefit, with discounted rates for groups. Also, for specific employer needs, WHRO can create custom courses.
Jason Perry, RCC’s vice president of workforce development, says, “For employee training, companies in our service region are increasingly using online workforce courses that are tied to specific career goals and pathways. SkillsOnline exponentially expands the number of such courses offered through RCC; and many lead to certificates recognized by business and industry.”
Bert Schmidt, WHRO’s president and CEO, states, “We are owned by the 19 school divisions of southeastern Virginia, and we use our broadcast and production facilities to create engaging learning modules which capture and hold the attention of today’s online media savvy students.” Currently, WHRO is developing the first five of 21 work readiness modules which have been identified by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service as being required by employers for hiring and promotion. They are: applied mathematics; reading for information; locating information; internet use and safety/digital citizenship; and understanding health, wellness and safety.
“The work readiness modules,” affirmed McAuliffe, “are an example of the public-private partnership that is increasing access for Virginians to workforce training, will help employers put more Virginians to work, and will provide no-cost resources for educators and local government training providers.” WHRO intends eventually to make these career readiness modules freely available to every Workforce Investment Board, social service agency, K-12 school, community college, and employer in the Commonwealth. Course content will also be distributed through eMediaVA (operated by WHRO through a contract with the Virginia Department of Education), which serves more than 145,000 Virginia teachers in public, private and home schools across the state.
Photo: On December 5, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that RCC and several other community colleges will partner with WHRO Public Media to offer the new workforce development initiative “SkillsOnline.” Attending the announcement were (left to right) Dr. Paul Conco, president of Paul D. Camp Community College; RCC’s president, Dr. Elizabeth Crowther; McAuliffe; and Dr. John Dever, president of Thomas Nelson Community College. Jason Perry, RCC’s vice president for workforce development, was also present.