More than 85 percent of the Region’s population, age 25 or older, are at least high school graduates. Nearly 25 percent have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. More than 60 percent are employed, and the unemployment rate here is below the national average.
The Region’s colleges and universities attract students from all over the world. After earning their degrees, many graduates choose to stay here, further enriching our workforce. Some of these individuals start their own businesses or contribute to the local economy, providing valuable skills and services to businesses in the Region.
The area’s high schools also are committed to meeting the Region’s workforce needs. Campbell County Schools partnered with Central Virginia Community College to develop a program through which high school seniors take coursework in CVCC’s HVAC, welding, machinist, and nursing programs. Cyber security and firefighting will be added this year. This program not only gives students a head start on their careers, but also helps provide a ready, homegrown workforce for regional business and industry.
Lynchburg is a TechHire Community, a national initiative that “builds on work [that] communities have already started to connect more Americans to well-paying technology jobs through a potent combination of new tools and training models.”
Having this designation serves the Region well. We have an abundance of high-tech employers, among them nuclear energy powerhouses Areva and BWX Technologies, Blue Ridge Optics, and a host of engineering firms.
In Bedford County, the nonprofit Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER) creates partnerships between these and other high-tech industries, along with university researchers and research and development centers. The CAER also serves as an incubator for companies like NanoTouch Materials, which makes antiseptic surfaces used in schools, offices, hospitals and other places.
Employers and workers here also benefit from Virginia’s Career Readiness Certificate (CRC). The certification, based on established ACT WorkKeys® assessment tests, certifies workers have core skills in applied math, reading for information, and locating information. Among other things, the CRC helps employers make better staffing decisions and gives workers an advantage over other applicants.
Career Readiness Through WorkKeys®
ACT WorkKeys® is a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain a high-performance workforce. The series of tests measures foundational and soft skills and offers specialized assessments to target institutional needs.
Successful completion of ACT WorkKeys® assessments in Applied Mathematics, Locating Information, and Reading for Information may lead to earning the Virginia Career Readiness Certificate, a portable, standardized credential.
Why be WorkKeys® certified?
For the career seeker, obtaining a CRC will:
• Certify foundational workplace skills.
• Provide employers with additional insight into your qualifications.
• Give advantage over other job applicants who have not demonstrated needed skills.
• Build confidence that skills meet the needs of local employers.
• Enhance employability and set the stage for possible career advancement.
(Source: Virginia’s Community Colleges, www.vccs.edu)