Workforce training program expands list of assessment centers
Nine Virginia community colleges have been designated as assessment centers for the Manufacturing Skills Institute (MSI), the workforce development affiliate of the Virginia Manufacturers Association.
The schools include: Blue Ridge Community College, Community College Workforce Alliance (John Tyler Community College and J. Sargent Reynolds Community College), Mountain Empire Community College, Southside Virginia Community College, Tidewater Community College, Thomas Nelson Community College, Virginia Highlands Community College and Virginia Western Community College.
The new assessment centers will expand opportunities for workers to gain credentials for their skills.
The initial focus of the partnership will be to expand the MSI Manufacturing Technician 1 (MT1) certificate program as a baseline credential for Virginia's 6,000 manufacturers as well as integrating it into degree pathways and dual enrollment opportunities.
The goal is to create an emerging workforce that has the 12 critical technical skills that are fundamental to occupations in advanced technology industries.
“We knew in 2007 that manufacturers would have a skills gap of approximately 11,000 people a year,” Brett Vassey, VMA’s President and CEO, said in a statement. “We also knew that the largest need was in the manufacturing technician occupation and 96 percent of manufacturers wanted people with these applied and measurable skills. Although the economic challenges of the last few years slowed demand, it is back and we need to move quickly and this partnership between MSI and Virginia's community colleges will help close the skills gaps for manufacturers”
The community college-based assessment centers will join ECPI University, which has six assessment centers, and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in offering MT1 resources.