Governor Tim Kaine today endorsed the recommendations of The Governor’s Taskforce for Career Pathways System Development. During the last six months, the Taskforce has developed a blueprint to ensure that Virginia maintains its competitive edge in the global economy by making investments in educating and training the current and future workforce. Virginia is now set to adopt the nation’s first statewide initiative streamlining current workforce development policies and programs. The initiative will create a 21st century framework that positions Virginia’s workforce to meet the pressures of international competition and rapid technological change.
“These difficult economic times remind us that it is critical to stay focused on growing our economy,” Governor Kaine said. “There’s no better way to do so than by investing in our state’s most important resource – the people of Virginia.
Bridging Business and Education for the 21st Century Workforce: A Strategic Plan for Virginia’s Career Pathways System outlines steps the Commonwealth will take to adopt a “career pathways” workforce development framework.
While California, Kentucky, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin have implemented career pathways strategies, Virginia is the first state in which the Governor, multiple state agencies, and policy leaders have elected to implement a career pathways initiative statewide.
With assistance from Workforce Strategy Center, a nationally recognized authority on career pathways, the Taskforce evaluated dozens of state programs addressing workforce development and education. The Taskforce then made recommendations to better align programs, reduce duplication of efforts, and determine future labor needs.
The effort will be led by the Virginia Workforce Council, which will direct implementation of the career pathways framework statewide over the next eighteen months. During that time, the Council will be tasked with implementing the key recommendations of the report including:
- Establish a framework to avoid duplication of efforts across state agencies and maximize operational efficiencies.
- Identify industries and occupations that will contribute to Virginia’s economic growth.
- Allow educational credentials to be portable from one region of the state to the next.
- Establish support services at all levels of education, with a particular emphasis on community colleges and adult education, in order to increase retention rates. In need of particular focus: academic guidance, career coaching, and assistance with transportation and child care.
“Governor Kaine is to be commended for his leadership in bringing all parties together to ensure that Virginia’s business climate remains one of the healthiest in the nation,” said Dr. Robert Leber, chairman of the Virginia Workforce Council and director of Education and Workforce Development for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News. “We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the Task Force deliberations, and look forward to implementing career pathways programs as they roll out across Virginia.”
The report was funded with the Governor’s discretionary dollars as provided by the federal Workforce Investment Act.
To read the full report, please visit www.workforce.virginia.gov.