RCC Among Virginia Community Colleges Offering Skilled Training

Virginia’s community colleges, including Rappahannock Community College (RCC), are gearing up to train more workers to help rebuild Virginia’s crumbling infrastructure. The Virginia Infrastructure Academy (VIA) announced it “will coordinate, scale up, and replicate infrastructure-related community college programs.” The community colleges in Virginia currently produce a combined total of 4,000 graduates annually, with a goal of a total of 35,000 qualified workers over the next five years.

The VIA initiative, with startup funding from the Lumina Foundation, will be used to promote and deliver training at RCC in solar, welding, and broadband, a few of the initiatives outlined in Congress’ Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. RCC provides short-term training and credentialing options for today’s workforce, and is exploring future training programs.

RCC’s partnership with SHINE (Solar Hands-on Instructional Network of Excellence) brings Solar 101 to campus as a two-day, immersive, hands-on training to work as a solar installation technician. A similar partnership with Open Broadband offers training to become an internet installation technician. RCC continues to offer welding courses at several RCC sites. “RCC has been instrumental to the inception of the SHINE program, providing us the opportunity to set up our first live demonstration classes and prepare students and workforce of the Northern Neck area with the skills and knowledge they need to begin their careers in clean energy,” said Russell Hubbard, SHINE 101 instructor. “SHINE is proud to have been able o make sure that tiwth the additional solar facilities under construction in the area, the local workforce is now poised to capitalize on the opportunities they will provide to the community.”

Individuals choosing to pursue training in a high-demand infrastructure field may find them to be among the most affordable options. FastForward, G3, VIA, and other financial aid sources may allow students to participate in these programs for little or no out-of-pocket expenses that could cover tuition as well as required safety materials.

“One of RCC’s priorities has been to offer short-term training and credentialing focused on the needs of the community following economic trends,” said Shannon Kennedy, RCC President. “Partnerships and funding streams help us develop curricula in line with those needs and gaps.”

For more information about RCC programs and courses call (804) 333-6730, visit www.rappahannock.edu,or email advisor@rappahannock.edu.