The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) has awarded Virginia Western Community College a $140,000 grant to support the expansion of registered apprenticeship opportunities to help students gain a quality education in addition to on-the-job training in a rewarding career. 

Virginia Western is one of 66 colleges in the country selected for the Expanding Community College Apprenticeship (ECCA) initiative, led by AACC with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor to increase the number of registered apprentice programs and services throughout the country. The ECCA project will be conducted over three years. Participating colleges were competitively selected, and will serve 12,000 of the 16,000 total registered apprenticeships.

Virginia Western will collaborate with local businesses and industries to train more than 150 apprentices in in-demand areas with focuses on advanced manufacturing and healthcare. Efforts will eventually expand to include construction/building trades, hospitality, IT, finance and business, telecommunications and agriculture.

Regional workforce, economic development, and industry leaders collaborated with key personnel at Virginia Western on Tuesday morning at the college’s Apprenticeship Program Kick-Off meeting. The group of attendees all acknowledged the need to bring more local awareness to the value of registered apprenticeships in high-demand occupations and agreed to take an active role in a multi-agency apprenticeship advisory group.

“Creating a sustainable apprenticeship program will increase the pipeline of skilled workers in the Roanoke region,” said Jill Loope, Director of Economic Development for Roanoke County. “Apprenticeship is a time-tested approach to training and developing a skilled workforce, resulting in increased productivity, retention and performance for an employer’s bottom line. With regional sights set on talent development, grant money will fuel an apprenticeship program that solidifies sustainable solutions for employers, creates more opportunity for workers, and promotes the value of skill development in high-demand industries.”

“Virginia Western is committed to developing a quality apprenticeship program that will create gainful and sustainable pipelines of opportunities capable of transforming lives,” added Dr. Milan Hayward, Vice President of Virginia Western’s School of Career and Corporate Training (CCT). “The apprenticeship program, coordinated through our Hall Associates Career Center, will support strong career pathways that lead to employment. As we continue to expand our connections with business and industry partners and take an active role in registered apprenticeship programs, the regional community and economic impacts will be significant.”

In addition to offering two-year degree and one-year certificate programs, CCT, formerly known as Workforce Development Services, offers short-term training programs that lead to industry recognized credentials and certifications. CCT programs that will have an immediate growth in apprenticeship opportunities include Pharmacy Technician, Medical Assisting, Certified Nursing Assistant, Machining and Advanced Manufacturing.

For additional information regarding apprenticeship training or sponsor partnership opportunities, please contact Sadie Remington, Virginia Western’s apprenticeship coordinator, at mremington@virginiawestern.edu.