Virginia’s Community Colleges, Businesses Work Together to Add 35,000 to Virginia’s Infrastructure Workforce

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Provided by Virginia’s Community Colleges

Virginia’s Community Colleges, businesses, and trade associations across the state are teaming up to address Virginia’s acute shortage of skilled, credentialed infrastructure workers. The Virginia Infrastructure Academy (VIA) is an unprecedented collaboration that will ensure community college training programs produce high-demand graduates at business speed to address the needs of the transportation, wind and solar energy, and high-speed broadband industries.

VIA leaders believe that strategically scaling up and replicating successful infrastructure-related community college training programs, which now produce 4,000 graduates annually, could produce a total of 35,000 over the next five years.

This chart shows how VIA expects to grow from 4,000 graduates annually now to an estimated 8,500 by the 2025-2026 academic year, resulting in a toal of 35,000 infrastructure program graduates

“Industry needs in the face of evolving technology played a leading role in the creation of our institutions,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “We’ve arrived at yet another urgent moment. And our ability to connect individuals with high-demand infrastructure jobs, which offer family-sustaining wages and career advancement opportunities, will determine not just their future success but that of the entire commonwealth.”The VIA collaboration will engage community colleges and business leaders to ensure that existing training programs are addressing urgent community needs and forecasting when and where the programs should expand. Those programs include heavy construction and maintenance, focusing on road, bridge, and tunnel construction; broadband expansion; and on- and off-shore wind and solar energy infrastructure and distribution, which all lead to high-paying jobs and career advancement opportunities.The Lumina Foundation is funding the VIA’s start-up cost with a two-year, $400,000 grant. That funding will support an initial review of existing infrastructure programs across Virginia’s 23 community colleges, a plan for initial program growth through in-person and virtual offerings, and outreach to potential students.Individuals who elect to pursue training in a high-demand infrastructure field may find them to be among the most affordable options in higher education today. FastForwardG3, and other available financial aid programs may allow students to pursue and complete these programs for little or no out-of-pocket costs. Please contact your nearest community college to explore your options.

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