Community College Collaboration to Boost Workforce Credentials in Southern Virgina

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that more than 50,000 residents in southern Virginia will be positively impacted by a new workforce collaboration among three area community colleges. Called “Southern Virginia Works,” the colleges - Danville Community College (DCC), Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) and Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) - plan to boost the number of workforce credentials earned by Southern Virginians through community college programs by 1,500 in the next year. Within the next five years, the three colleges plan to triple the number of postsecondary education and workforce credentials. Earning credentials aligned with regional employer needs such as certifications and licenses improves individuals’ employability and better meets the region’s educational and economic development needs.

“My vision for a New Virginia Economy demands that community colleges and other partners in Virginia’s workforce system change and adapt to meet the emerging needs of business and industry, and the new Southern Virginia Works partnership of community colleges in the region is a big step in that direction,” said Governor McAuliffe.  “Three colleges, joining together to meet a common, regional goal sets an example that the entire state should celebrate.”

Through the recently announced Executive Order 23, called “The New Virginia Economy” Workforce Initiative, Governor McAuliffe is seeking to overhaul the state’s economy in several areas: (1) increasing STEM-H postsecondary education and workforce credentials; (2) securing employment for veterans; (3) aligning education with the needs of businesses; and (4) diversifying the economy. Virginia’s Community Colleges play a key role in carrying out the governor’s vision.

“I congratulate SVCC, DCC, and PHCC for their collaboration to ensure that underemployed and unemployed workers in the region have expanded opportunities to earn industry driven certifications that strengthen the workforce to help recruit, retain and grow businesses in Southern Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “It’s encouraging to see our community colleges collaborating and setting a bold goal for increasing their success in delivering training and credentials that work for working adults.” 

At the same time, Dr. Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), announced plans to triple the number of credentialed Virginians earn by 2021.  The VCCS will adopt “Complete 2021” as its six-year strategic plan early next year, pending approval from the State Board for Community Colleges. Southside Virginia colleges are already working together on expanding their workforce initiatives to meet both the Chancellor’s and Governor’s goals. 

"Community colleges excel when they can bring together people to address community needs," said Chancellor DuBois. "This collaboration is a great example of that and promising for both the people and the businesses these colleges serve."

“We were inspired by the Governor’s call  for 50,000 STEM-H credentials in his administration and also want to be responsive to the Virginia Community College chancellor's goal of tripling credentials by 2021,” said Dr. Angeline Godwin, PHCC President.

For more information about “Southern Virginia Works”, contact DCC (434-797-8430), PHCC (276-656-0256), or SVCC (434-949-1068).