Throughout the Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board region, SVWDB staff are engaged with sub-regional groups that are joining forces to support workforce development.

S.A.W. Employer & Education Coalition
The Staunton City, August County, Waynesboro City Employer & Education Coalition (S.A.W.) recently formed to help grow a pool of work-ready labor in the region.  Led by VIRTEX, this type of business, education, workforce coalition is an example of a “sector partnership” under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).  

On March 11, 2020, the S.A.W. held its first annual Employer & Education Coalition Conference to facilitate a dialogue between local businesses and educational leaders to identify workforce challenges, share new initiatives, and discuss expansion of work-based learning and apprenticeship strategies. Nearly 75 attendees listened attentively to a business panel of Hershey, Augusta Health, Graphic Packaging, Goldwrench Automotive Tire, Daikin Applied, and the Virginia Manufacturers Association. Both federal and state leaders participated in the event including Scott Stump, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Career and Technical Education (pictured above), Dr. James Lane, Virginia Superintendent of Public Schools, and Atif Qarni, Virginia Secretary of Education.

Northern Region Workforce Initiative
In the Northern Region, the Workforce Initiative, a formal partnership of business, education, government, and community stakeholders collaborate to ensure a well-prepared workforce.  Programs of the Workforce Initiative include hosting Manufacturing Week, an Employer Expo, and a Business and Education Summit.  The Workforce Initiative works with area businesses, educators, and local government to hold an annual Worlds of Work event for 7th graders.

Southern Region Workforce + Education Committee
In the Southern Region, the Workforce + Education Committee, a group representing community, business, local government and education leaders in Rockbridge, Lexington and Buena Vista, recently planned and held the Rockbridge Career Fest.  Area middle and high school students met with area businesses to see firsthand the types of career opportunities available with local employers.  The event was organized around the career clusters of manufacturing, healthcare, business and professional services, outdoor recreation, autonomous systems, and transportation. An evening job fair was held for adults.

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