VERONA VA- Today, the Offices of Economic Development for the Cities of Staunton and Waynesboro as well as Augusta County release the outcome of a collaborative project, a 10-Year Strategic Plan for Career and Technical Education.
The goal of finding skilled workers for critical positions, especially those with technical certifications, is becoming more difficult for local companies to accomplish. While there are a number of programs in the region to help meet this shortage, the economic developers from the Cities of Staunton and Waynesboro and Augusta County determined there was a need to evaluate the current offerings and to develop a 10-year plan of recommended improvements and/or additions to the overall career and technical educational (CTE) delivery system. The plan identifies and maps existing career and technical education assets as well as analyzes gaps and/or deficiencies in the educational pathways, communication networks and curriculums, technologies and facilities that provide career and technical education.
Augusta County, on behalf of area localities, applied for and received a $40,000 Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Building Collaborative Communities (BCC) grant to study workforce development issues in the region. Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro matched the grant with $10,000 of local funding – $3,333 from each locality.
The project commenced in late 2017. To facilitate completion of the project, The Virginia Group, a Lexington, Virginia-based consultant, was procured through a competitive RFP process. Over the last six months, Dr. Camille Wright Miller interviewed parties in the education system, local employers, and workforce development providers to evaluate the current offerings and determine a future course. The “Ten-Year Strategic Plan for Career and Technical Education” has been reviewed by stakeholders and the final report has been prepared.
“Included in the findings is the fact that Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro can boast a dedicated, energized, and passionate cadre of CTE teachers, enthusiastic and responsive CTE students, and the elements necessary for an outstanding career and technical education program. The region can also boast of having had the foresight to create a joint career and technical center at the high school level long before regional cooperation was thought to be desirable. The dynamic presence of Blue Ridge Community College and its leadership, which spreads beyond its campus, is to be celebrated. There is much to be proud of here. The strong foundation, already in place, makes implementation of this plan more readily possible” said Dr. Miller.
Dr. Miller presented a short overview of the plan at the Waynesboro City Council meeting on June 11. Additional presentations will be conducted at the Staunton City Council work session on June 14 at 5:30pm at and the Augusta County School Board meeting on June 21 at 7pm. The plan can be downloaded from several websites including http://www.augustavabusiness.com/facts-figures/resources/.
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About the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro MSA:
Located in the center of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and at the intersection of I-64 and I-81, the area offers easy access to transportation networks and global markets. In 2017, Colliers International named the Shenandoah Valley one of the top ten emerging U.S. Industrial market to Watch. Home to McKee Foods, Hershey Chocolate of Virginia, Target Distribution, and several other well-known brands, the Metro Area enjoys a rich and diversified business base. More information is available at www.StauntonBusiness.com, www.AugustaVABusiness.com, and www.WaynesboroBusiness.com.