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National Career Pathways Conference: Re-Energizing Workforce Development through Southwest Virginia's Career Pathways Partnerships

October 2011 – Orlando, Florida


The National Career Pathways Network (NCPN) held its 20th anniversary conference October 12-14, 2011. As part of the conference, individuals representing Southwest Virginia Community College (SWCC)—in collaboration with the Center for Occupation Research and Development (CORD); the Clements Group (CG); and state and regional partners—presented their project entitled, Re-Energizing Career Pathways through Regional and National Partnerships . The project, funded by the Ford Foundation in partnership with the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), focused on developing a systemic process to develop strategies to define needs, build partnerships and create career pathways.

The presenters included: Sharon Peery – SWCC, Richlands, VA; Darrell Blankenship – Southwest Virginia Workforce Investment, Lebanon, VA; Sandra Cole – SWCC, Richlands, VA; Bob LePage – CG, Salt Lake City, UT; and Elizabeth Creamer – VCCS, Richmond, VA.

The team focused on steps to increase regional collaboration between educators, community-based organizations and government agencies to transform the region's economy and enhance the lives of its citizens. Strategies are focused on building action steps to increase the number of graduates with 21st-century skills and in improving performance of the incumbent workforce. These strategies are specifically designed to enhance the return on employer investment by providing: increased access to qualified workers; increased industry productivity; reduced recruiting costs and turnover; shortened orientation times; reduced new-hire expenses; and the ability to promote from a pool of established loyal employees. Community benefits include: an alignment of economic development vision and workforce advancement; increasingly qualified workforce to retain and attract employers; increased income levels within the community; and reduced poverty levels, crime rates and community support costs. Government agencies realize an increased impact from funded programs and improved outcomes based on society growth.

Bob LePage, CG Senior Vice President provided grant support and assistance in implementing the "Re-Energizing Career Pathways through Regional and National Partnerships" project design and in facilitating energy industry forums, student surveys and defining career pathways partnering areas.


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