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McAuliffe announces workforce initiative

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Gov. Terry McAuliffe launched a workforce initiative Wednesday aimed at increasing industry credential attainment and improving employment opportunities for veterans.

McAuliffe signed an executive order establishing “The New Virginia Economic Workforce Initiative” to be led by Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.

The plan includes a  “Pathway to 50” goal for the attainment of 50,000 credentials, licensures, apprenticeships and associate degrees by Virginians. It also features “The Patriot Pledge,” which will ask 10,000 Virginia businesses to pledge to hire more veterans.

McAuliffe said the initiative’s goals include aligning Virginia’s workforce with skills needed by today’s businesses. In addition to attracting new businesses, the initiative seeks to ensure Virginia’s workforce is prepared to replace an estimated 930,000 retiring workers. Many of these jobs are scientific, technical or healthcare careers that require postsecondary training, according to McAuliffe.

The executive order outlines a series of steps to increase worker credentialing and align workforce skills with businesses needs. The plan includes:

  •  A directive for state agencies to design goals and strategies to increase credential attainment rates. It also directs Jones to approve by the end of year a plan to measure credential attainment, employment, professional mobility, local wages and return on investment from these policies.
  •  A plan by Nov. 30 on the best ways to recruit and retain veterans in Virginia, including “The Patriot Pledge.” The executive order stats its goal is to double the number of veterans hired through the Virginia Values Veterans program (V3).
  • By Dec. 1, Jones will present a plan to create “A Diversified Dominion,” with a goal of diversifying Virginia’s economy with support for small businesses, startups, entrepreneurships and patent production.
  • Creation of the Commonwealth Consortium for Advanced Research and Statistics for workforce and education policy, which will provide real-time data about the available workforce, regional skills gaps, local and state wage data, university research and talent and local and state workforce programs. The data will be used to better align workforce supply with current employer demands.

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