February 14, 2014
Dan River Region Collaborative asks Congressional leaders to support policies and investments

The Dan River Region Collaborative (DRRC) recently participated in the 2014 Skills Summit in Washington, D.C., where participants asked members of Congress to support policies and investments in skill development, enabling more employers to find the skilled workers they need to compete globally, and so all workers can share in and contribute to the country’s economic prosperity. 

As representatives of DRRC, Dr. Julie J. Brown, DRRC project director and director of advanced learning for the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research, and Laurie S. Moran, president of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, were invited to participate in the summit on behalf of Southern Virginia. 

Randall Stamper of the Virginia Community College System and Jeffrey Connor-Naylor of The Commonwealth Institute also represented Virginia. 

“Our region’s competitive position in the global economy depends upon the skills of its workforce,” Brown said.  “To stay ahead, we need broader and more effective investments that enable our workforce to continually increase its skills and adapt to global economic shifts.” 

“Even with high unemployment, employers in key sectors continue to report difficulties finding workers with the skills they need for current job openings,” she said.  “We shared this message with members of Congress to help them recognize that federally-funded workforce development programs that engage employers, lead to industry-recognized credentials, and directly link training with jobs are part of the solution to the skills gap and full economic recovery.” 

While in D.C., the Virginia delegation met with Congressman Robert Hurt and the staff members of U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. 

“We appreciate the interest and willingness of our Congressional representatives and staff to learn more about the challenges that face our employers and our job seekers.  We hope that our ability to share information from our region will allow members of Congress to better understand the need for workforce legislation and a balanced approach to the deficit reduction,” Moran said.

The Skills Summit was sponsored by the National Skills Coalition, which organizes broad-based coalitions seeking to raise the skills of America’s workers across a range of industries.

DRRC is a consortium of regional private foundations, chambers of commerce, economic developers and workforce investment boards with a common goal to cultivate long-term, sustainable workforce partnerships as a catalyst for economic growth in the Southern Virginia region of Danville and Martinsville and the counties of Halifax, Henry, Patrick and Pittsylvania.

DRRC receives financial support from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, U. S. Department of Labor’s Social Innovation Fund, The Boeing Foundation, The Hitachi Foundation, Community Foundation of the Dan River Region, Danville Regional Foundation, The Harvest Foundation, J. T. Minnie Maude Charitable Trust, Mary J. Babcock Foundation and the Tobacco Commission.

 

For the picture identification, from left to right – Randall Stamper (Virginia Community College System), Laurie Moran (Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce), Congressman Robert Hurt, Dr. Julie Brown (Dan River Region Collaborative and Institute for Advanced Learning & Research), and Jeffrey Connor-Naylor (The Commonwealth Institute).