Virginia Ready Initiative retrains workers for in-demand jobs
ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - For many Virginians, the difference between low pay and a living wage could be a six- to twelve-week training program.
The Virginia Ready Initiative has helped more than 2,000 people make that transition, retraining workers for in-demand jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.
“You know they helped me from the beginning to the end,” Dan Wood told WDBJ7. “And to be quite honest, I was blessed to have that opportunity.”
Wood is a VA Ready graduate. He completed a four-week training program at Tidewater Community College, secured his Commercial Driver’s License and is now launching his own business, Let’s Go Transport LLC.
He said the Virginia Ready Initiative was instrumental in helping him achieve his dream.
“It’s hard out here when you don’t know these things, and you’re trying to do everything from the ground up,” Wood said. “And you know sometimes you need that boost.”
The Virginia Ready Initiative is billed as a business-led partnership that works with the state’s community colleges and other organizations. It helps individuals become certified for new jobs in technology, healthcare, manufacturing and skilled trades.
“All of the courses that we support, we make sure that we have business partners that are willing to pay a family-sustaining living wage,” said Virginia Ready Initiative Executive Director Natalie Foster. “So it really is changing the trajectory of their lives. and that’s what we hear over and over again.”
“I’m happy,” Wood told us. “New beginning, brand new opportunity.”
The Fast Forward program can provide tuition assistance, and VA Ready scholars who earn their credentials receive a $1,000 award.
Training is available for a wide variety of in-demand jobs, including medical assistants and other health care positions at local hospitals.
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