McAuliffe announces $453,686 Workforce Development Capacity Grant to Lord Fairfax Community College

Governor McAuliffe announced Friday the simultaneous opening of new Heavy Construction Workforce Development programs at Northern Virginia Community College and at Lord Fairfax Community College.

moneyThese new programs will support the efforts of Northern Virginia’s heavy construction industry to identify and train superior talent as they work to improve Virginia’s infrastructure along I-95, I-395, and I-66.

Additionally, Governor McAuliffe announced a $453,686 Workforce Development Capacity and Technical Assistance grant to Lord Fairfax Community College to assist with the development of the new program.  This grant, administered by the Virginia Community College System, will help LFCC purchase sophisticated heavy construction equipment simulators that enable prospective workers to train on the equipment they will be using on the job, while enabling them to learn in a safe environment.

“Working with the Heavy Construction Contractors Association, we’re doing what we can to help the industry fill its 2,500 open jobs in Northern Virginia – jobs that are critical to our infrastructure development plan for the new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe, speaking at the announcement. “This grant is a step in the right direction, as we work hand-in-hand with local industry associations and community colleges to help more Virginians gain access to high-paying, career-oriented occupations.”

“There are many 21st century jobs available right now in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “The challenge for us to is make sure Virginians have the right skills to get those jobs and succeed in their careers. These new programs at Lord Fairfax and Northern Virginia Community Colleges will go a long way toward helping us close the skills gap in heavy construction.”

The Heavy Construction Talent Development program was developed through a partnership with the Heavy Construction Contractors Association (HCCA), Alban CAT of Northern Virginia, Northern Virginia Community College, Lord Fairfax Community College, and the Commonwealth of Virginia including: the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Office of the Governor.

“The new heavy equipment operator program from NOVA Workforce ensures our construction sector has a pipeline of skilled workers with the competencies to keep fueling our region’s infrastructure growth,” said Dr. Scott Ralls, President of Northern Virginia Community College. “Training provided during this accelerated course will allow students to receive hands-on training in real-life scenarios while earning three industry-recognized certifications so that they are ready for the job on day one.”

“With the growing employment demands in heavy construction, we are thrilled to meet local employer needs with our new Heavy Equipment Operator Training Program located at Lord Fairfax Community College’s Vint Hill Site,” said Jeanian Clark, Vice President of Workforce Solutions and Continuing Education at Lord Fairfax Community College.  “In less than 3 months, students will have an opportunity to earn a nationally recognized credential and get hands-on simulator learning with on the job experiences in a variety of on-the-job circumstances and equipment. Employers may now see a reduction in costs on training time, staff recruitment and equipment maintenance with this new program in Virginia. It’s a win-win for all!”

“The HCCA has been a vocal supporter of workforce education for the construction trades and the heavy equipment operators in particular,” said Ken Garrison, Executive Director of the Heavy Construction Contractors Association.  “We applaud the McAuliffe administration for providing the guidance and the funding support for education of the skilled workers who will be the workforce for the industry in both short and longer term. The graduates of the Heavy Equipment Operator courses at Northern Virginia and Lord Fairfax Community Colleges will have multiple opportunities for immediate employment upon completing the certification training. Today’s announcement is a classic win-win scenario. It is good for industry in Virginia, it provides students an opportunity for a high paying career, and it will continue to accelerate the growth of the economy.”

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