Campaign promotes careers in advanced-technology fields

Twenty-three percent of current workers in advanced technology and manufacturing careers will be eligible to retire by the end of 2010, according to a statewide 2007 Skilled Trade Gap Analysis Study. To help industry prepare for these career vacancies, the Virginia Manufacturers Association brought the Dream It. Do It. campaign to Virginia.

Dream It. Do It. was developed by the National Association of Manufacturers and its workforce affiliate, The Manufacturing Institute, to help shape and strengthen the next generation of skilled manufacturing talent. Now, the VMA is partnering with the Shenandoah Valley 21st Century Workforce Transitions Project to bring the Dream It. Do It. Virginia campaign to the Valley.

Brett Vassey, president and CEO of the VMA, will present details about the campaign to the board of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, as well as invited guests and press, at its meeting on October 23, 2009.

“The image of manufacturing and other advanced technology industries is improving because of Dream It. Do It. Virginia,” explains Mr. Vassey. “Dream It. Do It. Virginia – Shenandoah Valley will provide everyone interested in career planning with a virtual tool to explore jobs, wages and training regionally in a way they never have before.”

Dream It. Do It. Virginia – Shenandoah Valley is a regionally-focused campaign that is part of the VMA’s statewide campaign, Dream It. Do It. Virginia. The campaign will include image marketing as well as a free online career resource built by industry to educate people about the benefits of and ways to pursue careers in advanced technology fields. The regional website contains information about career opportunities in advanced technology fields and how both students and those in the current workforce can transition into these fields with the necessary skills specific to the Valley area.

The goals of the 21st Century Workforce Transitions Project in bringing Dream It. Do It. Virginia to the Shenandoah Valley are to: promote an accurate image of the 21st Century manufacturing economy; broaden awareness of advanced technology and skilled trades careers in our region; promote local training and employment opportunities for careers in advanced technology and the skilled trades; and connect job-seekers with local employers who are in demand for skilled trades employees. “The City of Harrisonburg recognizes the critical importance of preparing our workforce for the careers of tomorrow. We are pleased to partner in this innovative campaign,” stated Brian Shull, Harrisonburg’s Director of Economic Development and funding source for this 21st Century Workforce Transitions regional initiative.

“Technology and automation provide a changing environment for manufacturing careers. Our goal is to enlighten the workforce of the future and assure that the pipeline is filled with the same productive, high work ethic employees that have always been the hallmark of the Valley. This will assure continued success for our companies and excellent career opportunities for our citizens,” remarked Robin Sullenberger, CEO of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, Inc.

“The implementation of this campaign aligns perfectly with our current initiative to address the negative perception of skilled trades in the Valley. We view Dream It. Do It. Virginia as the foundation on which to build and implement additional workforce initiatives,” comments Sharon Johnson, Director for the 21st Century Workforce Transitions Project and Director for Regional Workforce Development with the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, Inc. and the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Investment Board, Inc.

For more information about Dream It. Do It. Virginia, go to or for more information about Dream It. Do It. Virginia – Shenandoah Valley, go to, visit


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