The Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board, Inc. has been awarded a $4 million American Apprenticeship Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand registered apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing industries. SVWDB is one of only two Virginia recipients of the 46 grants totaling $175 million awarded nationally by the DOL.
The SVWDB grant will be used to launch the “Valley to Virginia Apprenticeship Initiative” (V2V). The V2V initiative will target skilled trade occupations such as Mechatronics, Industrial Maintenance Technician, CNC Machine Operator, Welder and Production Technician for registered apprenticeship programs. Shenandoah Valley is the initial focus of the initiative with expansion planned throughout Virginia to create 600 new registered apprenticeships.
“This grant award is a huge shot in the arm for regional apprenticeship programs aimed at enhancing the skilled workforce in advanced manufacturing,” said Sharon Johnson, CEO of the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board.
Johnson said the SVWDB has a track record of obtaining funding to support the economic vitality and quality of life in the Valley securing $15.7 million in grant funding over the last six years. Another SVWDB grant program, Valley OJT, has helped nearly 500 individuals get back to work using employer wage subsidies to offset the cost of on-the-job training new hires. “Valley OJT has provided $2.4 million in wage reimbursement to dozens of businesses in the region including Tenneco, Shamrock, NIBCO, Speech & Language, TalentWise, Sysco, Trex, HDT Global, PGI, Carded Graphics, North Fork Lumber, Axalta Coating, and many other large and small companies,” said Johnson.
The SVWDB will work with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry Division of Registered Apprenticeship to build support for Registered Apprenticeships and the Journeyman credential. Grant funds will be used to offset the cost of related technical instruction in apprenticeship programs generally provided at technical schools (Massanutten Technical Center and Valley Career and Technical Center) and community colleges (Lord Fairfax Community College, Blue Ridge Community College, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College). The V2V Initiative will also develop work-readiness training for pre-apprentice candidates through Goodwill Industries of the Valleys.