New brand to unify Virginia's workforce development system

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A new brand aims to unify the workforce development system in Virginia, making it easier to connect employers with the potential employees with the necessary training and credentials.

The Virginia Career Works system includes a network of state and local partners and 62 One Stop Career Centers.

"We have tremendous resources to help connect employers and job-seekers in the Commonwealth, but our research shows that many Virginians are not aware of these important programs," said Governor Terry McAuliffe in announcing the program on Monday. "We've made great strides to enhance our workforce development assets by building a demand-driven workforce system, engaging and building a skilled workforce, and activating our network. Now, it is time to put Virginia to work."

According to a release, the workforce development system in Virginia is now more responsive to the needs of businesses, creating new capacity to train in high-demand areas, and aligning the system's programs and resources toward a set of shared goals.

Part of that was the Workforce Credential Grant program, which covers dozens of different programs in Virginia geared toward providing credentials at one-third of their former cost. Since it was created, this grant program has supported the attainment of 4,000 industry-recognized credentials, licenses and certifications needed for a variety of careers.

It works with community colleges and higher education centers across Virginia to help students get into fields such as manufacturing and health care.

The Virginia Career Works brand was recognized by both employers and potential workers, so leaders from across the states for been working on its characteristics for months with the aid of market research, polling, and residents.

"Right now, employers are looking to fill more than 150,000 high-quality jobs across the Commonwealth, and we'll need to fill an approximate 1.5 million over the next ten years," said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. "To leverage fully that growth, our workforce system must engage and develop talent with the skills to fill those jobs."

Over the next several months, workforce boards and facilities will be updating all their resources to include the new brand.

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