Workforce Developement

Growing up, I wanted to be an artist, teacher, and singer all before I even knew what education and life experiences would change my mind and determine which career path that I would ultimately choose for my future.

Take a look below at U.S. President Barack Obama on his 2011 American Jobs Act Tour in Emporia, VA as he spoke on the importance of education as it pertains to workforce development.  Throughout his speech, he spoke words such as “hard work is valued and responsibility is rewarded,” saying that as Americans, “we’ve got to step up on education and we must invest on basic science, as well as focus on putting people back to work.”

Well, the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS) is trying to do just that! Workforce Development Programs have become a much desired and needed resource for those who are unsure of their talents, unable to receive the proper education and/or training, etc. What if VLDS could help to aid these programs and perhaps even decrease the need for them in regards to future generations?

Over the past couple of years, I have seen workforce development in central Virginia make much progress in helping residents of the city.  Richmond residents have been given the opportunity to team up with The Richmond Workforce Pipeline Department of Economic and Community Development to participate in a job preparation program to discuss possible training and employment opportunities.

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Photo Credit: Briana Williams

I was able to personally attend a meeting in which Laurie Brooks, Workforce Development Coordinator, and Jamison Manion, Workforce Development Administrator, gave a complete overview and discussion of how the program was designed to help residents find out where they are, where they are trying to go and help them to get there in the workforce.

Various jobs provided in the program are in areas such as construction, healthcare, food services, customer service, and even starting their own businesses.  The meeting not only served as a way for new resident to begin the program, but also as a way for residents who already were involved to follow-up on their progress and find even more opportunities.

The program strategically works with each individual, discussing the times they can work, whether or not they are limited in transportation, need childcare, have legal barriers, etc. Despite situations that arise, representatives find opportunities the residents are interested in and find employers who are able to help.

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Photo Credit: Briana Williams

With residents facing such a tough economy, it was explained that the program could not guarantee a job, but would work diligently with each of them to get an interview.

“It’s kind of like a boxer.  We train you to get into the ring and then you are by yourself.  If you get knocked down, we help you get back up and get you ready for the next time,” said Manion.

Just imagine what database system such as the Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS) provides, can do for the younger generation right now.  Just as President Obama stated in the video, “we must invest in basic science,” which includes this very important research initiative.  Although numerous workforce development programs are currently helping to place people into training opportunities and jobs, this database can only help to make the programs more successful in the future. Do you think that is could serve beneficial in helping to place these people in the correct fields and/or help to guide them in some way or another?  I certainly do. –BLW

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