Center Works with Industry to Ensure Pipeline of Skilled Workers.
The Manufacturing Skills Institute (MSI) announced the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWRC) as the recipient of the 2016 Virginia Manufacturers Association (VMA) Workforce Partner of the Year Award for its outstanding leadership in changing perceptions about careers in manufacturing and in increasing access to industry certifications for individuals with disabilities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Utilizing MSI workforce solutions, the WWRC has established a new job skills academy to close the career interest and skills gaps for its consumers to connect them with careers in advanced technology industries, such as manufacturing.
“WWRC is providing its consumers with the opportunity to gain skills and credentials to seek employment in competitive, high-demand, high-quality manufacturing occupations,” said Dr. Victor Gray, MSI Executive Director.
WWRC launched its Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities (CPID) project earlier this year, which is overseen by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. The CPID is using the MSI Dream it. Do it. Virginia career planning information system and hands-on advanced technology academy to increase interest in manufacturing careers, and the MSI Manufacturing Technician Level 1 (MT1) certificate program to increase competencies in core manufacturing skills for its academy participants.
“We at WWRC want to foster career interest among young adults who have the ability and an interest in attending ‘hands-on’ technical learning experience in the area of modern manufacturing,” said Rick Sizemore, WWRC Director. “Partnering with the MSI to implement the CPID is a first step as we work with industry to provide a certification program to enable our consumers to plan for careers in manufacturing and master critical, basic competencies required for jobs in the manufacturing sector and gain industry-recognized certification of those skills.”
The WWRC has embraced the MSI’s Dream it. Do it. Virginia marketing campaign to re-image careers in modern manufacturing and help individuals with disabilities plan for employment and career advancement within the manufacturing career cluster. WWRC has promoted awareness of careers in manufacturing through community and statewide events through its own podcasting studio – the VR Workforce Studio. It has produced manufacturing podcasts to change perceptions about modern manufacturing and has received national attention – appearing in the iTunes “new and noteworthy” category in its first month of publication, the VR Workforce Studio’s podcasts have been ranked as #1 in search categories, such as “workforce” and “vocational rehabilitation” on iTunes.
The VMA projects that over the next decade, there will be about 66,000 job openings in manufacturing. Of those, some 40,000 will require skilled workers with more than a high school diploma, with the majority requiring and industry credentials. “We are changing the education paradigm with partners like WWRC – it’s no longer ‘go to college or fail’. Industry credentials lead to success. What we are building with Dream it. Do it. Virginia is a pathway to the jobs of tomorrow’s global economy,” said Brett Vassey, VMA president and CEO.
- By utilizing MSI workforce solutions, the WWRC is helping to develop a workforce pipeline to meet the skill standards identified by industry. As an MSI Academic and Workforce Partner, the WWRC has access to MSI’s world-class workforce solutions, which are endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers. The MSI Partner Network currently spans 10 states and includes more than 100 partner institutions, including middle schools, high schools, community colleges, universities, one stop workforce centers, and technical centers. To learn more about becoming an MSI Academic and Workforce Partner, please contact Vanessa Rastberger at firstname.lastname@example.org.