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Doctor's Note: The Virginia Works Portal

Updated: Jan 27, 2020

How do our kids figure out what job they want when they grow up? What path should they take after high school? Where should they go to college? Should they go to college or is there a better option for them? What jobs need to be filled that will also pay a good salary? Where do they go if they have some college credit, but never finished their degree and now want to add that to their resume so that they are eligible for a better job? How do they apply for grants or loans to pay for their education?

Most importantly - where do they go to get the answers?

I am proposing a solution that would create a single site for ALL those answers and would be the first of its kind in the nation.

The Virginia Works Portal I have proposed with SB363 would include opportunities for loans, grants, and work experience. It would also help kids determine what type of licensure, degree, or certification is required for a job. Help them explore how they can turn what they enjoy into a career path. This portal would ensure that when kids look for an educational opportunity they are also connected to resources that would help them pay for it.

This portal would be able to connect the jobs needed in Virginia now and in the future and what education is necessary to get those jobs. The purpose of an education is to give you the tools to succeed, which requires a good job with good pay.

The number one reason Amazon decided to move to Virginia is because we created an environment that complements the educational preparation already ongoing. This way they were ensured that they had a highly trained workforce with the proper education. We can replicate this. An educated and prepared workforce is one of the greatest assets we can have in building economic opportunity for Virginia’s future.

We want to keep our students and graduates in Virginia. Our graduates are leaving Virginia because they cannot connect their education to the right job. We need to fix this. I am proposing a workforce portal that will be maintained by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. It will connect all of our agencies, community colleges, and colleges with the job market analysis.

I think we can help our students make educated decisions with a single portal that houses all of the resources connecting education to jobs in Virginia. Often students go to college because they think they are expected to and they don’t know what other options are available to them. Then if they do decide to go to college they know exactly what is required of them for the career path they wish to pursue. The idea for this education and workforce portal springs from other things we already have happening across the state. We have a portal that helps veterans translate their military education and training to Carnegie credits so that they can move more quickly towards an associates or bachelors degree. We are currently building a portal that will connect and leverage federal funding to help us better build a workforce. However, there is an incredible lack of ease in helping students, parents, counselors, and businesses develop an ongoing conversation about how to get the right education for the right job. I wish my children had a resource like this in high school, so that they were able to make fully informed decisions about their futures.

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