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Future of Hampton Roads endorses the efforts of education from early childhood up through college, and beyond.

We often talk about the need to emphasize education so that our youth, up through the generations are equipped to compete in our global economy. When our youth are competitive our nation is competitive.

However, one dimension of concern that we don't hear as much on is that our young adults are unable to serve in the military as a result of a variety of shortfalls.

FHR offers this report: "Ready, Willing and Unable to Serve" from Mission Readiness. Not to suggest that everyone should enlist, but rather to illustrate the challenges faced in developing a workforce (for either military, public or private sector).

From that report: "Americans have always answered the call to military service. Hundreds of thousands of young men and women throughout America have put their lives on the line in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and served with honor on humanitarian and other missions around the world. Unfortunately, many young Americans who want to join cannot. Startling statistics released by the Pentagon show that 75 percent of young people ages 17 to 24 are currently unable to enlist in the United States military. Three of the most common barriers for potential recruits are failure to graduate high school, a criminal record, and physical fitness issues, including obesity."

As we consider this opening quote in the report, let us think about these individuals in our society that cannot serve, but that also may not be able to obtain a viable job in our competitive society.

The question is always "What to do about it?". Nationally as well as in our region.

The US Department of Labor runs a Public Workforce System program which serves as the overall support mechanism passing through the state and regional levels.

The Public Workforce System

Next comes the State Workforce Development efforts.

VA Workforce Development

Eventually, these programs help to support our local regional efforts.  Please see the summary of our region's Workforce Investment Areas (WIAs).

Though challenging economic conditions, there are still resources at our disposal.  The challenge (as in everywhere) is to ensure that they are running effectively to maximize their efforts, and allowing our job seekers to get the help they need.

Our college system has some excellent workforce development efforts.  Here is a good partial list, but please let us know of any additions for us to include.

Old Dominion University

William & Mary

Norfolk State

Hampton University

Christopher Newport University

Regent University

Virginia Wesleyen University

Tidewater Community College

Thomas Nelson Community College

Paul D. Camp Community College

ECPI.  An example of effective workforce development is the Manufacturing Skills Institute (Military2Manufacturing)

Delta Career Education Corp

Centura College

Other outstanding regional efforts are:

The Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach.

New Horizons on the Peninsula of Hampton Roads.

Hampton Roads Academy

Walsingham Academy


FHR would like to call your attention to a BLOG on this site "Economic Engines Have Many Cylinders".  An excerpt from that article found here:
Workforce Readiness (aka Education)
There's LOTS of activity on this in our region. The question is not how much activity is taking place but how effective is it?
Talk to the technology companies who recently went zero for twelve in getting a qualified intern.
Talk to the companies who have candidates that don't follow instructions, don't dress the role, act the role, talk the role.
What is missing? The practical applications and attributes that employers are seeking.
This does not suggest that it's always like, this. There are undoubtedly success stories.
However, I'm suggesting that at least in the high tech sector, there are many opportunities to better prepare our workers. And those improvement opportunities can be applied to any business sector.
The answer is twofold:

1. An effective process of gathering employer feedback and building it into the education, training and counseling system.

2. Measurements of those outcomes: Employer report cards by educational institution that provides feedback on the applicants from their school.

What can be done to create the workforce supply?

1. Ensure that our educational institutions create relevant, flexible, current programs (both hard and soft skills) to adapt to the changing business landscape (especially in high tech).

2. Create effective internship programs that give good candidates invaluable work experience and measure their progress.

3. Keep in tune with changing business demands – especially emerging business sectors – and make sure the workforce is prepared. Wayne Gretzky once said "A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be."


Now for a potentially controversial conversation.  A college degree is not meant for everyone and certainly everyone is not suited for degree programs.

Certifications (in certain industries) satisfy the requirements of that trade.  See the article Difference Between Certificate and Degree.

Excellent careers and incomes can be achieved with jobs that require certifications.  This is not an endorsement of one path over the other per se as they both have value.

Taks a look at these certification programs as examples:

TCC Automotive Center

Newport News Apprenticeship School


TCC Apprenticeship Programs

VA Ship Repair Association is a great resource to many of the apprenticeship training programs and job boards in that industry.

Take a look at a great film documentary on the trades at: The Tradesman Making An Art of Work


When to start preparing for your career?  EARLY.  Look at these resources:

Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach

New Horizons on the Peninsula

Opportunity Inc. Youth Career Center

Youth Career Cafe on the Peninsula 

And don't forget about the public library systems.  A great asset to the community!

Early Childhood Education is hugely important.  As an example of the educational impact opportunities to early childhood education, look at Ready Nation.

Another worthy read is the Foundation for the Future report.

There are a number of worth efforts in our community to assist our school age kids along.  The Chesapeake Technology Business Consortium offers free technology camps every summer to middle and high school students.  As part of their offerings, CTBC has provided video-based mentoring.  Visit their site and hover over Student Mentoring, select Mentor Videos, then choose from a library of 6 videos on a variety of topics intended to give students insights to the workforce from employers in the technology sector.

CTBC Mentoring

The Elevate Early Education (E3) effort is a statewide advocacy movement created by business, civic, and philanthropic leaders working to address the urgent need for increased public investment in early education for Virginia's children, birth to age five.  Read some important remarks on this topic: Click Here.  And to watch a meaningful video on the topic: Click Here.

EVERY job seeker today must ensure they are competive to be successful in their pursuits.  Various organizations throughout the region have workforce development efforts in place.  Please use them.

Future of Hampton Roads