Governor Terry McAuliffe signed executive order 23 establishing “The New Virginia Economy” Workforce Initiative, which will be led by Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. This initiative seeks to overhaul our economy in four ways: increasing postsecondary education and workforce credentials, securing employment for veterans, aligning education with the needs of businesses, and diversifying the economy.
“By better aligning workforce supply to employer demands, we can implement common-sense solutions that will help ensure Virginia’s workers can get the skills they need for the jobs they want,” said Governor McAuliffe. “In order to remain globally competitive, it is critical that Virginia’s workers have the tools they need to succeed in a 21st century economy.”
“Talent development is the most important ingredient for economic growth of the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “On behalf of the Governor, I am working with public and private sector entities involved in workforce development to ensure that Virginia is the leading state for attainment of credentials that matter to business, industry and economic prosperity.”
“The directive regarding Virginia’s veterans is another strong example of how the Governor is positioning the Commonwealth to be the most veteran and military friendly state in the Union,” said Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs John Harvey. “Not only does it reinforce current cross-collaborative efforts within state government for hiring veterans, it bolsters what will be an ever increasing pipeline of highly-trained, well-disciplined and leadership-ready employees for our burgeoning Virginia businesses--from the healthcare industry, to cyber security and IT, modeling & simulation and beyond. The Governor’s coordinated directives of greater outreach to Commonwealth businesses and easier veteran transition to a career in this new Virginia economy will be a positive and powerful economic boost to our state’s economic future.”
“The Governor’s new Workforce Initiative is a tremendous step forward in combining post-secondary public education with the needs of businesses and a diverse economy,” said Secretary Holton. “We can’t expect Virginia to have a world-class workforce if we’re not willing to provide the education and training citizens need for the careers of the 21st Century. The Governor’s plan is bold, ambitious, and just what the Commonwealth needs to remain competitive.”
The executive order includes several ambitious goals, such as the “Pathway to 50K” initiative which sets a target of 50,000 credentials, licensures, apprenticeships, and sub-baccalaureate degrees earned that meet the immediate needs of Virginia’s workforce.
The Governor also unveiled “The Patriot Pledge,” which will ask 10,000 businesses to sign a pledge of commitment to hiring more veterans. This pledge will help recruit veterans to the Commonwealth, where they can take advantage of the ample opportunities our state provides.
President Barack Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law on July 22, 2014. WIOA is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. Congress passed the Act by a wide bipartisan majority; it is the first legislative reform in 15 years of the public workforce system.
Every year the key programs that form the pillars of WIOA help tens of millions of job seekers and workers to connect to good jobs and acquire the skills and credentials needed to obtain them. The enactment of WIOA provides opportunity for reforms to ensure the American Job Center system is job-driven—responding to the needs of employers and preparing workers for jobs that are available now and in the future.
WIOA supersedes the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and amends the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Peyser Act, and the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998. In general, the Act takes effect on July 1, 2015, the first full program year after enactment, unless otherwise noted. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will issue further guidance on the timeframes for implementation of these changes and proposed regulations reflecting the changes in WIOA soon after enactment. Click Here To Learn More
The numbers are eye-opening. In 2007, on any given day, 2.2 percent of all males in the United States were incarcerated, including 7.9 percent of all black males. Some 2.6 percent of white males ,
7.7 percent of Hispanic males, and 16.6 percent of black males have spent time in state or federal prison at some point in their lives. And for a male child born in 2001, the likelihood of going to
prison is 5.9 percent for whites, 17.2 percent for Hispanics, and a whopping 32.2 percent for blacks.
Of those who spend time in prison, the overwhelming majority will be released back into society, thereby becoming potential participants in the U.S. labor market. But the barriers they confront as they try to gain employment are substantial: they face the lack of public assistance, poor employment prospects, the reluctance of employers to hire ex-convicts because of liability issues, and the stigma associated with being an ex-convict. This has policymakers focused on ways to facilitate reentry into the labor market for this growing population.
Universal design is the “design” of products and environments to be usable by anyone, not just individuals with disabilities, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. For the workplace, universal design is an approach that accommodates jobseekers and employees with disabilities through workplace design, while also reducing risks for employees who may develop disabilities during their career.
Universal Design is an innovative business strategy that enhances workplace efficiencies and provides the best accommodation for all employees. Universal Design stations are accessible for people who have mobility, visual, auditory, speech, learning or language needs. For more information, please go to http://www.vadrs.org.