Virginia Community Colleges host Hire Education Conference

The Hire Education conference for the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) began yesterday at the scenic Homestead resort in Hot Springs, Virginia. Workforce development staff from a majority of Virginia’s 23 community colleges have gathered to network and share best practices. This year’s conference “A Global Workforce” couldn’t come at a better time, says Peter Blake, Vice Chancellor for Workforce Development for Virginia’s Community Colleges. Americans are finding it harder to get ahead on the skills of yesterday, but Virginia’s community college’s are up for the challenge – VCCS will continue to provide the foundation on which the current and future workforce can improve their skills to compete and thrive in a global economy. The conference kicked off with a keynote by Dr. Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s community colleges. Dr. DuBois highlighted the achievements over the last year and emphasized the theme of the conference – that the VA system needs to reengineer moving forward. Breakout sessions were hosted throughout the day, featuring sessions on fundraising and grant writing, creating an integrated response to the needs of dislocated workers, connecting the campus better with community organizations, and improving career pathways for Virginia’s secondary students. The day closed with dinner and keynote speaker Dr. Edward Gordon, president of Imperial Consulting (based in Chicago), “the 2010 jobs crossroads – meltdown or resurgence?”

The Greenforce Initiative, a partnership of Jobs for the Future and National Wildlife Federation, are a sponsor of the Hire Education conference. Greenforce staff Jen Fournelle (NWF), Kristy Jones (NWF), and Steve Lynch (JFF) are attending conference sessions and networking with their Virginia community college partners: Blue Rige, Dabney Lancaster, Eastern Shore, Germanna, Lord Fairfax, Northern Virginia, Piedmont Virginia, Rappahannock, and the Shenandoah Valley Energy Partnership.

Today’s (Thursday) afternoon sessions include topic such as exam prep for VA’s Dept of Environmental Quality, green industry trends and the VA weatherization training centers, and renewable energy programs – so stay tuned.