The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) was recently awarded over $581,000 to lead ExperienceWorks, a work-based learning (WBL) system that leverages GO Virginia Region 3 and Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC) investments. The system connects students and young adults to high-skill, high-wage employment opportunities through a variety of career development and WBL opportunities.
“We are grateful for these investments supporting robust public and private partnerships that are required to launch the ExperienceWorks framework,” said Dr. Julie Brown, Director of Advanced Learning at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). “ExperienceWorks aligns existing career development programs and adds capacity, providing multiple opportunities for employers to engage with students and offer hands-on, career-relevant learning and mentoring.” Brown adds, “The participating school divisions are excited about this opportunity to continue collaborating on programs which benefit their students, faculty, and the region’s business community. We’re thankful that the GO Virginia Region 3 Council, the GO Virginia State Board, the Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission recognized and endorsed their efforts.”
Randy Lail, Chair, GO Virginia Region 3, stated, “ExperienceWorks provides targeted industries with skilled employees for high-wage, high-skill jobs to position their companies for growth and will significantly advance the Region 3 Council’s priorities.” GO Virginia Region 3 per capita funds will support 50 percent of the cost for an Internship Coordinator as well as paid internships, work-readiness bootcamps, and teacher externships.
The TRRC grant funds will support 50 percent of an Apprenticeship Coordinator position adding capacity for employer outreach and developing apprenticeship positions in partnership with regional employers. Tobacco Commission member, Dr. Alexis Ehrhardt said, “Apprenticeship and job readiness programs have long been an area of focus for the Tobacco Commission and I am glad the Commission chose to support this program at IALR. The ExperienceWorks program will be a real asset to our region by providing opportunities for students to engage directly with leading businesses in their chosen field. I am confident this will result in increased employment opportunities for our students and allow our local businesses to hire for many hard to fill positions.”
The mission is to scale WBL efforts, allowing 100 percent of high school graduates to access a high-quality WBL experience and create a sustained pathway that connects employers to their emerging workforce. This initiative is targeted to high school juniors and seniors and is designed to create a culture of understanding that internships and apprenticeships are for everyone, with a clear benefit for employers and job seekers.
ExperienceWorks goals include: increased student awareness of career opportunities in strategic industry sectors; improved student and young adult work readiness skills aligned with business expectations; meaningful work experiences for students and young adults in strategic sectors; increased teacher and counselor awareness of careers and business needs; and a work-based learning system that is sustained and supported by employers, local government and economic development. According to Brown, “Establishing connections with students while they are still in high school will allow businesses to access an emerging workforce and provide mentorship, increasing the number of high school graduates who are connected to employment opportunities in targeted growth sectors.”
Participating K12 divisions include: Amelia, Brunswick, Charlotte, Cumberland, Danville, Halifax, Henry, Lunenburg, Martinsville, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Patrick, Pittsylvania, and Prince Edward. For more information about ExperienceWorks, contact Jessie Vernon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 434-766-6772.
This project was funded in part by GO Virginia, a state-funded initiative administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) that strengthens and diversifies Virginia’s economy and fosters the creation of higher wage jobs in strategic industries. GO Virginia is a statewide business-led economic development initiative with funding to invest in collaborative projects that lead to high-paying jobs in each region. The mission of GO Virginia is to encourage collaboration among business, education, and government in each region. GO Virginia Region 3 is one of nine regions in Virginia and includes the Counties of Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Halifax, Henry, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Patrick, Pittsylvania and Prince Edward and the Cities of Danville and Martinsville. For more information, please visit govirginia3.org and sign up for the Region 3 monthly newsletter or connect with GO Virginia Region 3 on Facebook or LinkedIn
The Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission is a 28-member body created by the 1999 General Assembly. Its mission is the promotion of economic growth and development in formerly tobacco-dependent communities, using proceeds of the national tobacco settlement.