The SOVA Task Force offered a Workforce Solutions weekly webinar series in May as an extension of the Bridge to Recovery Grant provided by GO Virginia Region 3. The series provided employers with resources and best practices regarding today’s workforce.
“Amid all the pressures facing our businesses in the wake of COVID, solutions for workforce-related issues are repeatedly sought,” said Linda Green, Executive Director of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance (SVRA). “Therefore, we convened experts and resources to assist with these Human Resources needs.”
The Workforce Solutions webinar series addressed Childcare, Afterschool Care and Elder Care; Recruiting and Onboarding Employees; Trainings, Apprenticeships, Internships and Re-entry Programs; Higher Education, Skill Sets, Certifications and Recertifications; and Retention, Promotion and Advancement.
During one webinar, Steve Youll of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Talent Attraction Program shared how talent attraction has evolved with increased expectations by candidates. He said “72% of job seekers report sharing negative candidate experiences online” and “55% of candidates will avoid certain companies after reading negative online reviews.”
Moderators included workforce experts Dr. Julie Brown of IALR and Robbie Knight of Virginia Career Works-West Piedmont. The series was originated, organized and marketed by the SOVA COVID-19 Task Force, which is managed by the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance.
Recordings are available at svra.org under COVID-19 Economic Resources. In the future, similar programs will be provided in the eastern part of the GO Virginia Region 3 service area.
Funding will support 15 AmeriCorps members to meet public health needs of local community and help rebuild the nation’s public health sector
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) announced today that it has received a Public Health AmeriCorps grant of $203,558 from AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism. The grant will expand IALR’s presence in the Dan River Region, where IALR has been providing services for Southern Virginia since 2002. IALR has also served as the lead agency for the Dan River Year AmeriCorps program since 2015, with members serving over 15,000 hours focusing on building the region’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and literacy capacity.
“As one of five Virginia Public Health AmeriCorps recipients and the only one serving a primarily rural population, we are excited to be able to again partner with AmeriCorps to provide much-needed services for our community,” said Dana Silicki, IALR Program Manager.
Public Health AmeriCorps, a partnership between AmeriCorps and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, supports the recruitment, training and development of a new generation of public health leaders. Supported by a five-year, $400 million investment from the American Rescue Plan Act, Public Health AmeriCorps will help meet public health needs of local communities by providing surge capacity and support while also creating pathways to public health-related careers.
“Integrating REACH AmeriCorps into the REACH Partnership will greatly expand the number of community members we can serve,” said Dr. Cassandra Shelton, REACH Program Manager.
“The REACH Partnership aims to improve overall health and address barriers to health care by: providing a coordinated care team, connecting individuals to community resources, providing health education, coordinating communication among health care providers, and helping individuals develop skills to better manage their own health.”
With this new funding, IALR will leverage the skills and experience of REACH AmeriCorps members in the Dan River Region to expand capacity for public health service by providing direct outreach and education service in the City of Danville (Va.), Pittsylvania County (Va.) and Caswell County (N.C.). These AmeriCorps members will be responsible for serving 960 individuals, increasing their health knowledge and healthy behaviors through education, outreach, referrals and COVID response.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, AmeriCorps has established aid networks, supported vaccination efforts and provided food and resources to those in need,” said Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO. “Public Health AmeriCorps is a first of its kind response to the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and social determinants of health. These new AmeriCorps members will add capacity to strained public health systems and build a career pathway for future public health leaders from underserved communities.”
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a REACH AmeriCorps service member, please contact Dana Silicki at firstname.lastname@example.org or 434-766-6729.
Manufacturer of high-performance cutting tools leverages Danville-Pittsylvania advanced manufacturing pipeline for high-quality workforce needs
DANVILLE, Virginia – (April 7, 2022) – KYOCERA SGS Tech Hub has hired three student interns who recently graduated from the Integrated Machining Technology (IMT) third-year capstone program, instructed by Danville Community College (DCC) and housed and financed by the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR).
Students Jonathan Gauldin, Bobby Moran and Joel Oakes celebrated the occasion with KYOCERA by participating in a signing ceremony at the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining where they received their training. Gauldin, Moran and Oakes will start on April 11 as Setup A technicians, one of KYOCERA’s highest-level grinding positions. They will join Josh Owen, another IMT graduate, who started at KYOCERA as a Setup C technician on April 4.
“To thrive in a highly competitive global market, there needs to be a system in place that creates a workforce for our future,” said Jason Wells, president of KYOCERA SGS Tech Hub. “The unparalleled training and education that Danville Community College and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research have established, allow companies such as KYOCERA to focus on our core business and growth with less focus on skill development. Our elected officials, community leaders, educators and local citizens have put in the hard work to address skilled workforce development needs.”
The IMT program serves as an optional third year of advanced training for completers of two-year precision machining programs or for those with equivalent work experience. The hands-on instruction by DCC takes seven months and is set in a flow cell environment to build true-to-life advanced manufacturing experience and leadership skills. A 90-hour internship fulfills requirements for an associate degree.
“DCC, in partnership with the IALR, is proud to be a leader in the creation of talent for Pittsylvania County and the surrounding region,” said Dr. Muriel Mickles, interim president at DCC. “The IMT capstone program is an excellent example of many ways DCC is supporting the growth of the manufacturing industry here in Danville while ensuring exciting, high-paying jobs for our students.”
The success of the IMT program has grown since its inception in 2015. Noted by Virginia and Arkansas governors and other localities as a benchmark model, the program also helped seal the win of the location bid for the 2018 Haas Technical Education Center Americas CNC Educators Conference. A team of students won last year’s Project MFG National Skilled Trade Championship, and others have won medals at the SkillsUSA Championships.
“The Integrated Machining Technology program is a key aspect of the progressive talent pipeline the Danville-Pittsylvania County region has championed to attract and retain high-performance jobs and industry like KYOCERA,” said Troy Simpson, director of advanced manufacturing for IALR. “We continue to work with KYOCERA and other companies to ensure the curriculum of DCC and the facilities housed and financed by IALR are state of the art and industry-driven.”
Gauldin, Moran and Oakes will bring the following industry-recognized credentials to their new positions at KYOCERA: MCOSMOS C1 and C2, a cutting technology certificate and the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt. Other employers who have benefited from these credentialed IMT graduates in the past include FasTech, Piedmont Precision Machine, the Naval Surface Warfare Center, BWX Technologies and others.
“I am extremely proud of all our Integrated Machining Technology graduates and congratulate Jonathan, Bobby, Joel and Josh on their new journey with such an impactful industry as KYOCERA,” said Dr. Betty Jo Foster, interim president at IALR. “I hope their path to successful employment is an example and inspiration to other youth in our area who seek high-quality jobs and meaningful careers. The partnership between DCC, IALR and industry like KYOCERA offers hands-on instruction that leads to job opportunities for our community and workforce solutions for advanced manufacturers.”
KYOCERA has actively supported the region’s talent development efforts. Wells serves in multiple board positions, including the advisory boards for both Danville Community College’s workforce services programs and the Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC™) program, a GO Virginia-supported program administered by IALR that educates and trains middle schoolers to post-secondary students on relevant career pathways.
In September 2016, KYOCERA SGS Tech Hub announced it would invest $9.5 million and bring 35 new jobs paying an average annual salary of $65,000 to the Cyber Park, a technology park jointly owned by the City of Danville and Pittsylvania County through the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority (RIFA).
The company broke ground in the spring of 2017 on the 30,000-square-foot manufacturing and research hub, which was designed and constructed by Blair Construction and sits on 10 acres directly across from the campus of IALR. The grand opening was celebrated in September 2019.
For additional photos of the KYOCERA signing ceremony for the three interns/new recruits, visit: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzJLCB.
Project offers improved access to health care, job creation and workforce development
The Regional Engagement to Advance Community Health (REACH) Partnership, begun as the former Community Health Worker (CHW) Project, will expand resources and services to more wholly address health disparities in the Dan River Region, thanks to a $6.3 million grant award from the Danville Regional Foundation.
“The name change from the Community Health Worker Project to REACH is intentional,” said Dr. Julie Brown, a leader of REACH and Director of Advanced Learning at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). “REACH is a strategic effort to bring disparate and siloed providers together, creating a system of care that drives positive population health outcomes at a reduced cost, improving the quality of life for everyone.”
The REACH Partnership represents the next iteration of the CHW Project, which was originally designed (in cooperation with The Health Collaborative) to improve health outcomes for residents at the highest risk for chronic disease, increase the number of individuals who seek appropriate healthcare services, and create a career pathway for healthcare workers. REACH will continue this work and will expand it to address the systematic barriers preventing positive health outcomes and create a system of care that provides equitable access to all residents in the region. REACH also provides holistic support through the clinical Community Paramedic role and the non-clinical CHWs, who work to address the social determinants of health.
REACH’s expanded, systems-based approach will include nine partners, an increase from the original four of the CHW Project. IALR will serve as administrator and fiscal agent, joined by Piedmont Access to Community Health Services, Gateway Health, Sovah Health-Danville, Compassion Healthcare, the Danville Life Saving Crew (DLSC), Pittsylvania County EMS, Caswell County EMS, Danville Pittsylvania Community Services and Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Some of the steps to be taken among partners will include data integration, alignment of resources and coordinated communication.
The project will also add nine new positions, including five new Community Health Workers, three new Community Paramedics (CP) and a Program Assistant. These new positions will work with the current CHWs, Care Coordinators, CPs (initiated by DLSC), Project Manager, and IALR and REACH organizational leadership.
The REACH Partnership has also aligned with workforce development efforts, including the state certification of the Community Health Worker position by the CHW Project team, ample training options and career pathway progression opportunities.
The success of the CHW Project is expected to continue with REACH. Since the CHW Project began working with citizens in 2017, it has served over 1,040 clients with 674 graduates, connecting 38 percent with a primary care physician and 76 percent with a specialty doctor. Sovah Health-Danville emergency department (ED) visits by superusers (those using the ED more than five times in 12 months) dropped by 59 percent after enrollment in the CHW program. The CHW Project also was instrumental in the City of Danville’s All-America City Award win in 2020. Plus, the CHW effort won awards from Health Quality Innovators for creating rural health solutions, as well as the THRIVE Award from The Health Collaborative.
REACH Partners – Pictured Left to Right:
Front row: Jennifer Canada, Certified CHW – Gateway Health; Lakendra Lipscomb, Certified CHW-PATHS; Cynthia Poteat, Certified CHW/ Care Coordinator – Gateway Health/Sovah Health; Tameka Coles, Certified CHW – PATHS; Marlo Burton, Certified CHW/Team Lead – PATHS; Joyce Samuel, CHW – Gateway Health.
Back row: Dawaun Carter, Certified CHW – PATHS; Johnny Mills, Certified CHW/Community Paramedic – Danville Life Saving Crew; Stephens Coles, Certified CHW – PATHS; Keith Carroll, CHW/Community Paramedic – Danville Life Saving Crew; Martina Tatum, Certified CHW/Team Lead – Gateway Health; Vernel Salley, Certified CHW – Gateway Health.
Not Pictured: Chaquita Chappell, Certified CHW – PATHS, Latoya Jones, Certified CHW – Compassion Health Care
Other partners not pictured: Caswell County EMS, Danville-Pittsylvania Community Services, Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority.