Harrisonburg, VA (January 29, 2020). The Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board (SVWDB) has been selected to be a pilot site for a national network of organizations and workforce development boards committed to expanding access to Registered Apprenticeship (RA) for Opportunity Youth and other young adults. Technical support and funding for the development of this network comes from a partnership between JFF, a national nonprofit that drives workforce and educational change to achieve economic advancement, Social Policy Research Associates, the National Association of Workforce Boards, and District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund. They will deliver services through a three-year Apprenticeship Expansion and Modernization Fund contract from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration’s Office of Apprenticeship.

The project pilot sites will have access to apprenticeship experts, peer-learning and networking opportunities, and Incentive and Rapid Innovation Pilot Funding to build programs that engage Opportunity Youth in pathways to Registered Apprenticeship. Opportunity Youth are defined as young adults ages 16 to 24 who do not have connections to school or employment.

SVWDB will build on the pre-apprenticeship and RA programs in manufacturing developed through a $4 million American Apprenticeship Initiative grant received from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in 2015, and partner with Goodwill Industries of the Valleys to establish RA opportunities for Opportunity Youth in the healthcare sector.

“We are excited to continue and grow the work in pre-apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeship that has benefitted so many individuals and companies the past few years by creating skilled workers for well-paying, high-demand jobs. This pilot program will allow us to recruit more employer sponsors, enroll additional apprentices, and establish even more innovative partnerships with educational institutions and businesses that have produced such things as pre-apprenticeship boot camps, summer academies, and apprenticeship signing events,” said SVWDB CEO Dr. Sharon Johnson.

For more information on the new project, contact Joan Hollen, 540.442.7134,  jhollen@vcwvalley.com.