Hopkins presented with Expanding Opportunities Innovator’s Award

debby hopkinsDebby Hopkins, Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board (SVWDB) Workforce Officer and Project Director of Valley OJT, a Shenandoah Valley-based workforce initiative, was one of two individual recipients of the Expanding Opportunities Innovator’s Awards at the 2016 Virginia Community Colleges System (VCCS) Hire Education Conference in Hot Springs, VA.

VCCS’s Innovator’s Awards are designed to recognize the outstanding efforts of workforce and economic development practitioners from the Commonwealth’s community colleges and partner organizations. In addition to the Expanding Opportunities category, a Chancellor’s Award and a Retirement Recognition Award are made each year for inventive, creative, collaborative and innovative contributions made regionally or statewide. Hopkins was the sole workforce system recipient.

“Debby has been an invaluable member of the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board. Her efforts to not only secure new workforce program funding options, but to build strong relationships and understanding between workforce partners and the business community have created tremendous  opportunities for career seekers and businesses this past year. We are lucky to have her talent and dedication to help drive the economic growth and vibrancy of  the Shenandoah Valley and the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Sharon Johnson, SVWDB Chief Executive Officer.

Hopkins joined the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board in 2014 to direct a $5 million federal grant that provides funding to businesses who hire program participants.  To date, 550 individuals have obtained employment and nearly $3 million in funding has been provided to Shenandoah Valley businesses who participated in this grant.

In October 2015, Hopkins was instrumental in obtaining a $4 million, 5-year federal grant for the SVWDB to expand registered apprenticeship, first in the Shenandoah Valley, then throughout Virginia.  Under her leadership, over 100 new apprentices have been enrolled, compared to a year one goal of 25,  and 24 companies have either started or expanded apprenticeship programs.

Hopkins has cultivated strong relationships with business, economic development, education, the state apprenticeship agency, and other community organizations, that provide the foundation for competitive grant proposals and the secret ingredient for successful workforce initiatives.

Hopkins’ background includes directing federal workforce grants and writing grant proposals for Blue Ridge Community College, along with extensive experience in Human Resources at the executive level in high technology manufacturing companies in Silicon Valley and Princeton.  She has a Masters in Business Administration from Lehigh University, is a Project Management Professional credentialed from the Project Management Institute, a Senior Certified Professional by the Society for Human Resources Management, and a Certified Workforce Development Professional with a Business Services Endorsement from the National Association of Workforce Development of Workforce Professionals.

Contact Hopkins for more information at dhopkins@valleyworkforce.com, www.valleyworkforce.com,540.442.7134.