Presidents endorse workforce proposal

Published 7:20 am Monday, December 28, 2015

Citizens in the South-Central part of Virginia stand to benefit greatly from Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s proposed budget, which promises a $25 million infusion into Virginia’s workforce development training programs at community colleges, according to Southern Virginia Works, a consortium created by the heads of three of Virginia’s community colleges to address the need of more credentialed workers.

Presidents Dr. Angeline Godwin (Patrick Henry), Dr. Bruce Scism (Danville) and Dr. Al Roberts (Southside Virginia) have announced endorsement for the governor’s biennium budget as it relates to workforce development, claiming it could result in an increase of thousands of certified workers in middle skill jobs in the state. 

Without this infusion of money and support, Virginia stands to lose jobs and contracts to sister states that have committed many more resources, the presidents said.

Last year, Virginia invested $6 million in short-term workforce development programs. By contrast, North Carolina spent $91 million.

According to information released by the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), for every $1 million invested, the commonwealth would reap at least 420 credentials leading to high- and in-demand occupations.

State coffers will also benefit by investing in more credentialed workers, the presidents said.

People with industry-recognized certifications earn substantially more money than those without proof of competency. A higher wage or salary results in more taxes paid to the state. With 61-percent of Virginia’s revenue coming from income taxes, higher-salaried workers means the commonwealth remains competitive.

The kinds of jobs termed “middle skill” include commercial truck driver, cyber security, welder, industrial mechanic, pharmacy technician and network support specialist.

Credentialed employees can command salaries ranging from $36,000 to $95,000, according to research conducted by the VCCS.