Dan River Region Collaborative News http://www.danriverrc.org Dan River Region Collaborative News Wed, 02 Mar 2016 09:33:19 EST HD CMS en daily 1 http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/26 Survey of Southern Virginia Manufacturing Workforce Needs, 2016 http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/26 Tue, 23 Feb 2016 12:00:00 EST Tuesday, 23 February 2016 12:00:00 EST On February 17, 2016, the Southern Virginia Manufacturing Partnership released the Survey of Southern Virginia Manufacturing Workforce Needs, 2016.&nbsp; Coordinated through the regional Chambers of Commerce, the survey includes responses from 45 manufacturers who shared their current and future talent development needs.&nbsp; The Collaborative will use this information to address workforce issues facing existing companies. http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/25 Dan River Region Collaborative asks Congressional leaders to support policies and investments http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/25 Fri, 14 Feb 2014 12:00:00 EST Friday, 14 February 2014 12:00:00 EST 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&rsquo;s economic prosperity.&nbsp; As representatives of DRRC, Dr. Julie J. Brown, DRRC project director and director of advanced learning for the Institute for Advanced Learning &amp; 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.&nbsp; Randall Stamper of the Virginia Community College System and Jeffrey Connor-Naylor of The Commonwealth Institute also represented Virginia.&nbsp; &ldquo;Our region&rsquo;s competitive position in the global economy depends upon the skills of its workforce,&rdquo; Brown said.&nbsp; &ldquo;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.&rdquo;&nbsp; &ldquo;Even with high unemployment, employers in key sectors continue to report difficulties finding workers with the skills they need for current job openings,&rdquo; she said.&nbsp; &ldquo;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.&rdquo;&nbsp; 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.&nbsp; &ldquo;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.&nbsp; 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,&rdquo; Moran said. The Skills Summit was sponsored by the National Skills Coalition, which organizes broad-based coalitions seeking to raise the skills of America&rsquo;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&rsquo;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. &nbsp; For the picture identification, from left to right &ndash; 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 &amp; Research), and Jeffrey Connor-Naylor (The Commonwealth Institute). &nbsp; http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/23 Dan River Region Launches Workforce Readiness Pilot Program for Virginia http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/23 Fri, 27 Dec 2013 12:00:00 EST Friday, 27 December 2013 12:00:00 EST Companies, employees and economic development professionals in the Dan River Region have been participating in a workforce readiness pilot program in Virginia since June. This program would allow the region to be recognized by ACT as a Certified Work Ready Community by helping individuals obtain a National Career Readiness Certificate. ACT is a not-for-profit public trust dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. ACT&rsquo;s National Career Readiness Certificate includes four levels &mdash; platinum, gold, silver and bronze &mdash; that measure cognitive and behavioral abilities critical for on-the-job success. Specific skills that are measured include math, reading comprehension, problem-solving, discipline, teamwork, customer service and managerial potential. The individual certificate can help job-seekers distinguish themselves, as well as help companies identify training needs for their employees. The community certification assists regions in quantifying the quality of their workforce and promoting this asset to attract additional companies and investment. The Dan River region is located in Southern Virginia and includes the cities of Danville and Martinsville and the counties of Henry, Pittsylvania, Patrick and Halifax. The region has a strong legacy in furniture and textile manufacturing, and through workforce training programs at its numerous community colleges, offers a deep advanced manufacturing labor pool that has attracted investment from plastics, automotive, and food processing companies. &ldquo;This initiative represents an opportunity to change our workforce story from focusing on census data around educational attainment to a story that focuses on the skills of our workforce and how those align with industry needs,&rdquo; said Dr. Julie Brown, project director at DRRC. According to the Dan River Region Collaborative, if 2,300 residents earn certificates during the next two years, the region will be recognized as a Certified Work Ready Community. The region is well on its way with more than 1,200 certificates earned to date. The region is also actively recruiting corporate partners to join the program &mdash; almost 50 companies have signed up to date. To learn how to participate in the ACT program as an individual or corporation, visit http://www.danriverrc.org/work-ready-community. &nbsp; by Info@YesVirginia.org http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/22 Institute for Advanced Learning and Research announces new leadership team http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/22 Thu, 12 Dec 2013 12:00:00 EST Thursday, 12 December 2013 12:00:00 EST In the midst of reorganization and new alignment, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville announced its new leadership team. &ldquo;After several months of searching and interviews, I believe we have put together a strong, motivated and highly capable team to execute our mission,&rdquo; Executive Director Jerry L. Gwaltney said. The team consists of five unique individuals who are tasked with ensuring the implementation of IALR&rsquo;s mission, which is to serve as a catalyst for economic and community transformation in Southern Virginia by leveraging applied research and experiential learning. Core focus areas include research that provides a clear path to commercialization, advanced learning opportunities where education meets experience, and economic development through a partnership with the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance. Michael Duncan, director of research and commercialization As director of research and commercialization, Michael Duncan along with IALR&rsquo;s world class scientists and their research teams will build on the existing strong plant science and chemistry assets within the organization, while adding new programs in aerospace and analytical technologies. The department&rsquo;s express intent is to support research opportunities with existing industries, conduct advanced research in sectors that will aid in the economic development of the region, and collaborate closely with those working with local citizens and other partners to help optimize today and tomorrow&rsquo;s workforce. Duncan also plans to progress research in conjunction with Virginia Tech and private companies with the intent to expand, and to continue leveraging relationships with Virginia Tech, Averett University and Danville Community College. A native of Virginia, Duncan first moved to the area in 1998 and successfully turned around Clairemont Electronics in Yanceyville, NC. Duncan and his family then moved to Danville and with the help of some former employees, started TWM Cabling Solutions, Inc. TWM later joined forces with EIT in 2005. He grew EIT to two manufacturing facilities in Danville, strong sales and solid profitability. Duncan has served on Danville Community College's (DCC) Workforce Services Advisory Board, DCC's Educational Foundation, the Utilities Commission, the Southern Piedmont Technology Council, the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board and the Virginia Defense Force. He earned his Master&rsquo;s in Business Administration from Averett University in 2009. Julie Brown, director of advanced learning Dr. Julie Brown is the newest team member joining IALR in December. Dr. Brown&rsquo;s plans for the advanced learning department are to support existing efforts and develop new initiatives to build the region&rsquo;s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) capacity in partnership with K-12, postsecondary, and nonprofit institutions. &ldquo;These initiatives include formal, informal, and work-based learning opportunities that support current industry demands, IALR&rsquo;s areas of research expertise, and regional economic development targets,&rdquo; Brown said. Brown has 18 years of experience in the education sector, working for a public research university, two community colleges, and regional K-12 districts. She has extensive experience in federal grant reporting, program development, and fiscal accountability, and currently provides management services to the Dan River Region Collaborative, a regional partnership dedicated to working with employers to address workforce needs while moving individual employees to high-skill, high-wage situations. Dr. Brown holds degrees from the University of Virginia, Longwood University and Old Dominion University. She resides in Pittsylvania County and serves on numerous non-profit boards, including The Arc of Southside, Danville Pittsylvania Community Services Board, The United Way, and the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board. Steve Bridges, director of economic development for Southern Virginia Regional Alliance Steve Bridges is a life native of Southern Virginia, spending most of his career here as well. He joined IALR in November 2013, and comes with a background in marketing and public relations and nine years as a regional representative and business development manager with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. Bridges is a graduate of Averett University with a Bachelors in History and English and a Masters in Business Administration. In October, the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance (SVRA) and IALR announced an innovative partnership to market Southern Virginia. Over the past two years, SVRA has worked as a regional economic development organization to market the counties of Patrick, Henry, Pittsylvania and Halifax, as well as the cities of Martinsville and Danville. The new partnership with IALR secures the long term sustainability of the regional alliance while simultaneously enabling IALR to build upon its regional mission in the areas of research, advanced learning and economic development. While the SVRA&rsquo;s office is located at IALR, the mission of the alliance remains committed to promoting the four counties and two cities to prospective industries, site selection consultants, and other regional and state economic development allies. SVRA works closely with its member local economic development offices to identify target industry clusters and to develop marketing and outreach strategies to reach key decision makers and influencers. Leigh Cockram, director of business development and strategic initiatives A native of Southern Virginia, Cockram understands the many benefits companies have who locate within the region. Cockram is dedicated to rebuilding the region that has supported her family and the families of many others in the Commonwealth of Virginia over years past. In her new position, Cockram will work with existing industries to ensure awareness of the research capabilities and advanced learning opportunities available at IALR. Cockram will work closely with Virginia Tech&rsquo;s economic development office, among others, to promote those services to IALR&rsquo;s footprint. She will work to ensure IALR maintains a regional identity and focus. Prior to joining IALR, Cockram served as vice president of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation and most recently as the executive director of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance. Cockram is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and the University of Oklahoma's Economic Development Institute. Patricia Chatt, director of finance and administration Pat Chatt joined IALR in January 2011 as the financial controller and was later named director of finance and administration. Chatt oversees the financial department as well as additional administrative services such as information technology and conferencing activities. &ldquo;IALR&rsquo;s administration departments are going global,&rdquo; Chatt said. &ldquo;Our dedicated team is ready to assist in the advancement of IALR&rsquo;s endeavors and will collectively seek solutions in support of our mission, programs and activities.&rdquo; Chatt&rsquo;s 30 years in senior leadership positions include technology development, financial reporting and compliance auditing of higher education institutions, VP for business processing, auditing for accounting and regulatory compliance for Wachovia, finance and administration management for various professional services corporations, and owner of PAC Financial Consulting for new businesses designing accounting and business processes, in North Carolina, Alabama, and California. She is a professional accountant and holds a Masters in Business Administration. Work It, SoVa http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/21 Regionalism key to economic growth, IDA told http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/21 Thu, 21 Nov 2013 12:00:00 EST Thursday, 21 November 2013 12:00:00 EST Leigh Cockram, the new director of business development and strategic initiatives at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, brought a message of partnership and regional cooperation to members of the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority Friday morning during their meeting at Riverstone. The former executive director of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, Cockram said she would never have taken a job with the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research one year ago because she was so focused on regionalism. However, with recent changes that have refocused the Institute on its original mission of regional cooperation, Cockram said she feels right at home at her new job. She assured authority board members the last thing anyone at the Institute wants to do is to compete with the authority&rsquo;s efforts at Riverstone and Halifax County. She said regional cooperation will be the key to attracting growth to the area. &ldquo;My role is to insure a regional approach to economic development as we continue to impact one another by implementing programs of what our footprint can sustain,&rdquo; she added. She said in her new position, she is working with existing industries to help them understand what research capabilities are available within one hour of their businesses including the national coatings center, C-CARE, at Riverstone. Authority board member W. W. &ldquo;Ted&rdquo; Bennett congratulated Cockram on her efforts agreeing Riverstone and the Institute should be complimentary and supplementary and not competing for tobacco commission funding. &ldquo;I really like that approach, and together we can present a great, great front,&rdquo; he added. Authority Board Chairman John Cannon described Cockram&rsquo;s regional approach philosophy as &ldquo;a breath of fresh air for me.&rdquo; Once a member of the Institute board, Cannon said he resigned because of &ldquo;the us versus them thing. &ldquo;If we all work to promote the region, it will be great,&rdquo; he added. Bennett noted Southside Virginia is known for its regional heritage of industry and manufacturing, with Cockram saying 19 percent of Southside&rsquo;s workforce is still in manufacturing. Although she has only been at work at her new job for a month, Cockram said, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really been a wild month.&rdquo; Authority Executive Director Matt Leonard referred to Cockram and her professional coworkers at the Institute, Jerry Gwaltney and Steve Bridgers, saying, &ldquo;We feel we can trust them.&rdquo; His staff is working on developing a memorandum of understanding to have in place between the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority and the Institute. As she continues to promote the regional concept to business and industry across Southside Virginia, Cockram said she will work to overcome challenges and work to get economic growth to the rural footprint. In other business Friday morning, authority board members took the following actions: &bull; Heard an update from C-CARE Director Dr. Doug Corrigan on the authority&rsquo;s request for proposals to identify an organization or collective partnership of organizations most suited to operating C-CARE at Riverstone; At C-CARE, industry can test and prototype new coating technologies, chemistries and processes; develop process engineering and standard operating procedures; receive workforce training on advanced technologies; perform research and development on new products and processes; increase manufacturing efficiency and quality at a lower cost; and support conversion to environmentally sound coating practices. Since the requests went out on Oct. 28, Corrigan said he has received 20 responses from interested industries and several commitments to visit the facility on Dec. 6 to learn more about the coatings center and the entire community. &bull;&nbsp;Were updated on prospects, big and small, who have expressed interest in locating in the county; &bull;&nbsp;Asked Leonard and staff to share with the board an overview of the authority&rsquo;s PowerPoint marketing presentation so members can get a feel of how the office is marketing the community to prospects; and &bull;&nbsp;Agreed to change the monthly meeting time from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. BY Paula I. Bryant, The Gazette-Virginian http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/20 Collaborative Spotlight: Dan River Region Collaborative http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/20 Wed, 13 Nov 2013 12:00:00 EST Wednesday, 13 November 2013 12:00:00 EST &nbsp;Dr. Julie Brown, director of the Dan River Region Collaborative (DRRC) recently spoke at the National Fund for Workforce Solutions Southern States Regional Meeting. She shared insights about strategies to increase workforce development capacity and attract more employers to the largely rural four-county-two-city Dan River region in Southern Virginia.Dr. Brown noted the ongoing efforts to close that region&rsquo;s skills gaps, promoting regionalization to more closely align workforce development and economic development. For example, several economic development entities have joined together to market the broader Southern Virginia region. &ldquo;Regionalism is about partnerships and collaboration to leverage our assets.&nbsp; The way we promote our region is important in being able to attract employers and connect our workforce to these jobs and career opportunities,&rdquo; said Dr. Brown. &ldquo;This includes selling to employers the ability to tap into the region&rsquo;s 100,000 workers as opposed to the workers from just one or two of our communities.&rdquo;A second round of on-the-job (OJT) funding is following the completion of the National Fund Boeing OJT project. DRRC is working with eight companies offering OJT to 18 incumbent employees and 23 new hires with pay of up to $24 an hour. Additionally, an advanced manufacturing partnership has led to the first round of graduates of the MSSC Certified Production Technician Training Program, and guaranteed interviews for those completing this short-term technician training.DRRC&rsquo;s new IT partnership includes the development of employer-driven online IT training modules. Lauded for its access to broadband, the Dan River region has benefited from the relocation of WebParts' computer programming and data center to Danville from Guatemala. Through the DRRC IT partnership, and the region&rsquo;s availability of newly trained workers, WebParts hopes to meet its target of hiring 200 skilled employees.The Dan River region is participating in ACT&rsquo;s Certified Work Ready Communities (CWRC) initiative as a pilot region for Virginia.&nbsp; &ldquo;Using the National Career Readiness Certificate, we can address skill shortages and put our citizens on career pathways that lead to family sustaining wages,&rdquo; said Dr. Brown. Click here for more information. http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/19 Danville River Region Collaborative hosts an event on the value of regionalism http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/19 Sat, 21 Sep 2013 12:00:00 EST Saturday, 21 September 2013 12:00:00 EST Danville, Va. (Saturday, September 21, 2013) &ndash; In an effort to promote the value of regionalism, the Danville River Region Collaborative (DRRC) hosted an event on Friday featuring two nationally recognized regional initiatives, Mobilize Maine and Central Virginia&rsquo;s Region 2000. &nbsp; Speaking at the Institute for Advanced Learning &amp; Research to around 60 community leaders and elected officials in Southern Virginia, DRRC Project Director, Dr. Julie Brown, said, &ldquo;Regionalism is about partnerships and collaborations to leverage assets. While we may be getting some things right with our Collaborative and other regional efforts, hopefully, there will be takeaways on how we can do things differently, with a common goal to cultivate long-term, sustainable partnerships.&rdquo; &nbsp; Representatives from Mobilize Maine and Region 2000 said their regional economic development strategies focus on &ldquo;quality of place,&rdquo; where their regions&rsquo; assets are used as a foundation for future growth. &nbsp; Amy Landry of Mobilize Maine gave an example of what quality of place means. Most regions have a river, she said. &ldquo;Why is your river special? Everyone has a river.&rdquo; &nbsp; According to Landry, asset-based regional economic development attempts to leverage resources that spotlight what is positive about the region and uses these resources to preserve and enhance this positive. &nbsp; Echoing this view, Brian David of Region 2000, said that traditional economic development is about real estate, but it won&rsquo;t differentiate a region. In his region, David said it is all about &ldquo;talent, talent, talent.&rdquo; &nbsp; &ldquo;Education attainment is what is what we have our eye own,&rdquo; he said. &nbsp; Brown agreed with this underlining message as DRRC&rsquo;s most recent initiative, Southern Virginia&rsquo;s Certified Work Ready Community, which is a framework to validate work-related skills for employers, is intended to promote the positive assets of the region&rsquo;s workforce. &nbsp; &ldquo;While education attainment is important, the ability to quantify foundational skills, required by employers, is invaluable in today&rsquo;s competitive business environment,&rdquo; she said. &nbsp; Mobilizing Maine and Region 2000 use their respective planning district commissions as the infrastructure to build regional collaboration to advance primarily economic and workforce development strategies. &nbsp; Political subdivisions of states, planning district commissions are nationwide with 21 in Virginia. Southern Virginia is covered by two planning district commissions, the West Piedmont and Southside, which collectively represent seven counties, three towns and two cities. &nbsp; Members of the commission include elected officials and appointed representatives from the participating locales. &nbsp; &ldquo;Mobilizing Maine has built a powerful strategy to compete in the world,&rdquo; said Landry. &nbsp; Mobilize Maine is part of a statewide initiative of the seven economic districts in Maine, &ldquo;each of which are participating in development strategies based on their region&rsquo;s indigenous assets and opportunities,&rdquo; she said. &nbsp; Unlike Maine, Region 2000 is regionally driven and not part of a statewide initiative, said David. Region 2000 is a network of organizations under the region&rsquo;s planning district commission&rsquo;s umbrella that is committed to a centralized vision within a 2,000 square miles radius of Lynchburg. &nbsp; Brown said this event is the first of many planned DRRC-hosted discussions on the value of regionalism. &nbsp; DRRC is a consortium of regional public and private foundations, chambers of commerce, economic developers and workforce investment boards with a common goal to cultivate longer-term, sustainable workforce partnerships in the Southern Virginia region of Danville and Martinsville and the counties of Halifax, Henry, Patrick and Pittsylvania. http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/18 Live, Work, and Play in Virginia’s West Piedmont Region http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/18 Thu, 12 Sep 2013 12:00:00 EST Thursday, 12 September 2013 12:00:00 EST Take a look at this video showcasing what Virginia's West Piedmont Region has to offer. It is a great place to live, work, and play. The Region is centrally located along the United States' East Coast and is easily accessible by a number of modes of transportation. http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/17 Healthcare Career Coach http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/17 Wed, 07 Aug 2013 12:00:00 EST Wednesday, 07 August 2013 12:00:00 EST The Dan River Region Collaborative (DRRC) intends to enter into a contractual agreement with an individual and/or an organization to provide career coaching services to the employees of the following hospitals:&nbsp; Danville Regional Medical Center, Halifax Regional Health System, and Memorial Hospital of Martinsville. &nbsp; Overview of the Collaborative: The Dan River Region Collaborative was founded in 2008 to address workforce development in the Dan River Region of Virginia. The mission is to improve employment, training, and labor market outcomes for low-income individuals, ultimately supporting the improvement of both the quality of jobs and capacity of workers across the region. &nbsp; Required Services:&nbsp; Work with the respective hospital Human Resource Directors to provide career development and coaching services to healthcare employees (clinical and nonclinical). Services include: &nbsp; creating individualized career development plans for employees with clear action items that lead to progressive employment opportunities, matching the employees&rsquo; goals; maintain effective relationships with regional employers and training providers;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; use own vehicle during the course of fulfilling contractual duties and tasks; maintain individual records for each employee noting career development activities and outcomes (ex. wage increases, promotions, certifications); coordinate regional training opportunities for incumbent workers; attend quarterly regional Healthcare Partnership meetings to share training and career development outcomes; and provide employee-level data to the Collaborative evaluation team. &nbsp; &nbsp; Required Qualifications:&nbsp; Preference will be given to an individual or organization who demonstrates a thorough understanding of the healthcare sector to include licensure/certification requirements. Experience within a hospital setting is preferred. &nbsp;Demonstrates a commitment to the hospital mission and Code of Ethics. &nbsp;Must be able to work well within a variety of settings. &nbsp;Must be able to build effective, collaborative partnerships between multiple employers. &nbsp; Interested individuals/companies should submit a response of no more than five pages, noting the following: relevant experience (based on required qualifications), deliverables with quarterly goals (employees served, training placements, new placements with wage increase, etc.), and cost for services. Please include contact information and Federal Tax ID, if applicable, on the coversheet. Proposals should be sent to Julie Brown at the address below or by email attachment (pdf file) to juliejbrown@gmail.com. &nbsp; Julie J. Brown &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Dan River Region Collaborative &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; PO Box 11716 &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Danville, Va 24543 &nbsp; Proposal Deadline:&nbsp; August 19, 2013 Anticipated Effective Dates of Contract:&nbsp; September 1, 2013 &ndash; August 31, 2014 Anticipated Contractual Compensation: $40,000 - $44,000 Inquiries/Questions: contact Julie Brown at 434-836-5674 or juliejbrown@gmail.com http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/16 Danville River Region Collaborative secures $224,700 to help unemployed http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/16 Sat, 06 Jul 2013 12:00:00 EST Saturday, 06 July 2013 12:00:00 EST Danville, Va. (Thursday, July 4, 2013) &ndash; The Dan River Region Collaborative (DRRC) was awarded recently two grants totaling $224,700 to help primarily the unemployed secure employment sooner than later. The first grant award is for $142,200 from the Virginia Tobacco Commission to subsidize 2,400 testing fees associated with the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), which measures a person&rsquo;s skills in applied math, reading comprehension and the location of information. &ldquo;For the last nine months, we have been meeting with employers in our growing industry sectors of advanced manufacturing, healthcare, energy and informational technology, who have said they need a way to validate foundational skills in reading and applied mathematics,&rdquo; said DRRC&rsquo;s Project Manager Julie Brown. &ldquo;In response to these needs, in partnership with our regional community colleges, we have brought to the region the NCRC, which we view will not only get transitional and emerging workers employed faster, but also will position Southern Virginia as the first region in the country to earn the designation as a Certified Work Ready Community, which will help our economic developers quantify to prospects our talented workforce,&rdquo; she said. Formally launched on June 21st, the Certified Work Ready Community initiative will create a new regional workforce story where competencies are defined by skill, not just educational attainment. To date, 37 employers have signed on in support of the credential and are having employees take the NCRC assessment, providing feedback as to how it will be valued in their hiring and promotion practices. The second grant is for $82,500 from the National Fund of Workforce Solutions and the U. S. Department of Labor&rsquo;s Social Innovation Fund (SIF) to subsidize half of employers&rsquo; on-the-job-training costs for new hires. Brown said these subsidy opportunities have proven to be a good investment. Prior to the SIF grant, DRRC was awarded $53,100 from the Boeing Foundation to support 18 new OJT placements at three manufacturers in the region &ndash; four at RTI in Martinsville, seven at Amthor in Gretna and seven at Intertape Polymer Group in Danville. &ldquo;To date, 17 of 18 new OJT placements were still employed at wages averaging $15.50 per hour,&rdquo; she said. Anyone interested in taking the NCRC should contact Brown directly at 434/836-5674 and she will put you in contact with the appropriate person at one of the following participating community colleges: Danville, Patrick Henry and Southside Virginia. Employers interested in learning more about DRRC&rsquo;s subsided OJTs also should contact Brown. 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.&nbsp; For additional information about the Collaborative, go to www.danriverrc.org. http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/15 Southern Virginia commits to becoming 'Work Ready' http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/15 Mon, 24 Jun 2013 12:00:00 EST Monday, 24 June 2013 12:00:00 EST The stopwatch has started and the countdown has begun. &nbsp; Southern Virginia is the first region in the country to commit to earning the designation, &ldquo;Certified Work Ready Community.&rdquo; The effort launched Friday in Martinsville. &nbsp; &ldquo;We have two years to meet our goals as far as business engagement and the number of people who get the National Career Readiness Certificate,&rdquo; said Julie Brown, project director of the Dan River Regional Collaborative. &nbsp; Speaking at the formal announcement, Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce president and chair of the DRRC, Laurie Moran, said when she went to work for the Chamber in 2002, the Chamber identified workforce development as its number one priority. In 2013, she said, the Chamber&rsquo;s number one priority is still workforce development. &nbsp; One of the challenges has been for the region to overcome the fact that its workforce does not have the level of education attainment as other parts of the Commonwealth and across the country, putting the region&rsquo;s industrial recruitment efforts at a disadvantage, said Leigh Cockram, executive director of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, which represents Danville and Martinsville and the counties of Halifax, Henry, Patrick and Pittsylvania, which is the same footprint as DRRC. &nbsp; &ldquo;It is unfair, because we do have a great qualified workforce,&rdquo; but prospects cannot tell if they look only at levels of educational attainment, she said. &nbsp; &ldquo;Our region is taking a proactive approach to tell our own workforce story,&rdquo; by measuring skills attainment instead, Cockram said. &nbsp; Brown said skill attainment is measured with the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) &ldquo;with the intent to link, align and match our workforce to the needs of industry in a sustainable infrastructure.&rdquo; &nbsp; Within two years, to earn the designation as a Certified Work Ready Community, the entire region has agreed to have more than 2,311 individuals in the workforce with a NCRC credential and 287 employers who will support the region&rsquo;s effort to achieve this status, according to Brown. &nbsp; Brown said anyone can monitor the region&rsquo;s progression by going to http://www.workreadycommunities.org/. &nbsp; Work It, SoVa http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/14 Local leaders kick off work-ready initiative http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/14 Sun, 23 Jun 2013 12:00:00 EST Sunday, 23 June 2013 12:00:00 EST Southside leaders are encouraging workers to pursue a National Career Readiness Certificate to show employers they have skills needed to do available jobs. &nbsp; Proving that Southside has highly skilled workers should help the region &mdash; including Henry County/Martinsville, Pittsylvania County/Danville and Patrick and Halifax counties &mdash; attract companies that will create jobs, according to speakers at a &ldquo;Southern Virginia Work Ready Community&rdquo; initiative kickoff event held Friday morning at Memorial Hospital in Martinsville. &nbsp; Promoting the certificate is part of efforts to get the region designated a Certified Work Ready Community. &nbsp; Southside has numerous providers &mdash; including three community colleges &mdash; of services designed to improve skills of the region&rsquo;s workforce, leaders said. &nbsp; In terms of having highly skilled workers, &ldquo;we have some really great people&rdquo; in the region, said Skip Philips, Memorial&rsquo;s chief executive officer. &ldquo;We need a way to show (that to) employers looking to locate here.&rdquo; &nbsp; That is the certificate, speakers indicated. &nbsp; When prospective companies examine the region&rsquo;s demographics, &ldquo;we don&rsquo;t always shine,&rdquo; said Laurie Moran, president of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce. That is due to problems such as the region having a lower percentage of high school graduates than many places, she said. &nbsp; Leigh Cockram, executive director of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, said prospective companies&rsquo; site-selection consultants constantly ask &ldquo;when are you going to get the data&rdquo; showing the region&rsquo;s workforce is well-skilled. &nbsp; &ldquo;Nobody is paying attention&rdquo; to the large number of skilled workers that the region has, said Del. Don Merricks, R-Pittsylvania. Becoming a Certified Work Ready Community, &ldquo;I hope, will make people pay attention,&rdquo; he said. &nbsp; If a large number of people earn the certificate and Southside receives the Certified Work Ready Community designation, it will show that the region&rsquo;s workers have skills needed to do modern jobs &ldquo;in a measurable way,&rdquo; which should help in recruiting companies, said Martinsville Mayor Kim Adkins. &nbsp; If 2,300 Southside residents earn certificates during the next two years, the region will be recognized as a Certified Work Ready Community, according to Julie Brown, project manager for the Dan River Regional Collaborative (DRRC), an initiative by employers, educators and others to improve the workforce. &nbsp; The career readiness certificate evaluates a person&rsquo;s skills at math, reading to get information, and finding information, such as by interpreting pie charts and graphs. It also is intended to show a person&rsquo;s productivity, dependability, ability to work in teams and with customers, and management potential. &nbsp; There are four certification levels: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The higher the level, the more types of jobs that a person supposedly can do. &nbsp; A platinum certificate basically means a person is qualified to do 99 percent of jobs whereas, in contrast, a bronze certificate means a person can do only 16 percent of jobs, Brown has said. &nbsp; Jobs &mdash; including executive ones &mdash; are available for people who score at all levels, according to Moran. &nbsp; &ldquo;I did take the test, thank you,&rdquo; she told about 50 people who attended the kickoff. She admitted that she did well on the applied math and reading for information parts, but not so well on the finding information part. &nbsp; Her experience proves &ldquo;you don&rsquo;t have to be platinum to be a chamber president,&rdquo; she said. &nbsp; Yet some Southside companies are &ldquo;having problems finding qualified people&rdquo; to do their jobs, said Del. Danny Marshall, R-Danville. &nbsp; According to Brown, about 250 out of more than 400 employees at Presto Products in Halifax County have tested for the certificate, with the majority earning silver or bronze status. &nbsp; But the company realized that many employees were having a hard time interpreting information from charts and graphs &mdash; a major way that the company communicates information, Brown said. As a result, the company might have to start communicating to employees in other ways, she said. &nbsp; As of recently, 12 employers in Henry County and Martinsville, including the hospital and RTI International Metals, were participating in a program to help employees earn the certificate, officials have said. &nbsp; Brown indicated that companies also can participate in programs to help employees advance up the certification ladder &mdash; for instance, move from bronze to silver. &nbsp; Community colleges, including Patrick Henry, are administering tests to earn the certificate and helping students prepare for them. &nbsp; Brown has estimated it will cost about $60 to take the assessment tests, and community colleges can connect people to an online site that will help them prepare for the exams. &nbsp; More information about the career readiness certificate can be found online at www.act.org. &nbsp; At least two dozen people at the kickoff signed forms committing to helping the region achieve Certified Work Ready Community status. &nbsp; By Mickey Powell - Bulletin staff writer, Martinsville Bulletin http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/10 Collaborative awards grant for certified production technician training http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/10 Mon, 03 Jun 2013 12:00:00 EST Monday, 03 June 2013 12:00:00 EST The Dan River Region Collaborative has awarded a $27,600 grant to Patrick Henry Community College to support 12 students in the new certified production technician training program. &nbsp; &ldquo;Training a world-class workforce is a central priority of Patrick Henry Community College. The CPT will deliver just that. This funding is greatly appreciated, but more importantly, the partnerships that it represents,&rdquo; said Angeline Godwin, PHCC president. A nationally-recognized, portable credential, the CPT prepares individuals for technical production employment in the following critical skill areas: safety awareness, quality practices and measurement, manufacturing processes and production and maintenance awareness. The training consists of four modules, which include 140 hours of combined interactive, online training with instructor-led material to help individuals learn the basic skills and knowledge required for technical production jobs. &nbsp; According to DRRC project director, Julie Brown, students who are motivated to learn through the online platform can advance through the course material at a faster pace. &nbsp; Cited as a successful training program by Cummins, Harley Davidson Motor Company, Sandia National Laboratories and the governors (current and former) from Texas, Wisconsin and Indiana, the CPT also is being supported by numerous manufacturers in the southern Virginia region, including: RTI International Metals, Inc., Drake Extrusion, Eastman, Nilit America and Commonwealth Laminating. &nbsp; &ldquo;We are unable hire employees with nylon extruding experience, so we are very anxious to hire employees with potential. A CPT certification indicates to us that someone took the initiative to complete the training that differentiates them from most. We hope that differentiation translates into an employee with potential," said John Overbeck, human resources manager of Nilit America in Martinsville. &nbsp; While the training is designed to help individuals with essential skills, the ultimate goal is to help companies be successful. &nbsp; "We have long recognized the need for a closer relationship with training providers to help provide the right skills to meet our advanced manufacturing needs. This program is designed to provide a strong skill background to help our business continue to grow and expand within the region," said John Parkinson, President and CEO of Drake Extrusion, Inc., in Martinsville. &nbsp; "Drake Extrusion Inc. is committed to providing opportunities for graduates of this program as we believe we can provide an excellent career opportunity within an industry leading organization," added Parkinson. &nbsp; According to Brown, individuals who earn the CPT certification can anticipate an average starting wage of $12 per hour with a pathway to prepare them for advanced, high-performance production employment with an earning potential of over $17 per hour. &nbsp; &ldquo;The Dan River Region Collaborative supports PHCC&rsquo;s training effort, in partnership with regional manufacturers, as an example of short-term, employer-valued training that can quickly train workers for in-demand jobs. This effort validates our region&rsquo;s ability to work together and leverage public and private dollars to support workforce initiatives critical to our region&rsquo;s economic success,&rdquo; said Brown. &nbsp; To be eligible for the program, participants must earn the silver level on the National Career Readiness Certificate, which will be administered by PHCC or can be completed through Danville Community College and Southside Virginia Community College. &nbsp; Students also should have computer literacy skills. Classes will begin on Monday, June 17, at PHCC with an orientation to the online platform. &nbsp; To learn more about the program, contact Brenell Thomas, PHCC, at 276-656-0267. &nbsp; By Dan River Region Collaborative newsadvance.com http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/12 Dan River Region Collaborative selected for ACT Certified Work Ready Communities Academy http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/12 Sat, 01 Jun 2013 12:00:00 EST Saturday, 01 June 2013 12:00:00 EST The Dan River Region Collaborative has been selected to represent the Commonwealth of Virginia as a regional pilot in the national ACT Certified Work Ready Communities Academy, announced Dr. Julie J. Brown, Project Director of the Dan River Region Collaborative. &nbsp; The Dan River Region is the first region among seven states to be accepted into the academy with ACT. Membership in the academy will help the region be a national leader in developing the local workforce skills necessary to meet current employer demands and attract businesses to the region. &nbsp; The Certified Work Ready Communities initiative, powered by the ACT&reg; National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC&trade;), helps individuals pursue certification of their measurable skills to accurately predict work readiness and job performance. The NCRC&trade; assesses skills in three foundational areas: locating information, reading for information and applied mathematics. The Plus version will also assess soft skills such as willingness to work in teams, problem solving ability and evidence of work ethic. &nbsp; The NCRC&trade; Plus benefits employers by helping them make better hiring decisions, resulting in reduced training time and cost, lower turnover and higher productivity, and it helps communities measure and close skill gaps, allowing them to market the quality of their workforce. &nbsp; "The Southern Virginia counties included in this effort have had the highest unemployment rates in the Commonwealth for more than five years," commented Brown. "This effort to certify foundational skills and offer training to fill identified gaps will assist in job placement efforts, resulting in a higher tax base for the region. The effort is also measurable based on the ability to quantify certifications in the region which we hope will help us create new and expanded recruitment opportunities as we will be better prepared to demonstrate that we have a work-ready community to employers who are seeking to locate, relocate, or expand in our region." &nbsp; In addition to Brown, members of the Dan River Region's Certified Work Ready Community team are Leigh Cockram, Executive Director of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance; Kim Adkins, Executive Director of the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board; Laurie S. Moran, President of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce; Mindy Fast, Coordinator of Customized Training and Continuing Education of the Virginia Community College System; and Katherine DeRosear, Director of Workforce Development of the Virginia Manufacturers Association. &nbsp; In applying for the academy, Virginia's Secretary of Education, Laura Fornash, stated, "We appreciate the opportunity for these state and regional leaders to participate in the Academy and hope that the experience leads to measurable increases in Virginia's rate of CRC attainment as well as other workforce credentials." &nbsp; The Dan River Region team began participation in the 12-month Academy this past August. The Academy gives regional and state leaders the opportunity to collaborate with other state leaders on workforce development strategies. "Being invited to participate as the first regional team in this program means that the Dan River Region will help shape the national conversation and movement to close the skills gap in the workforce, and be on the forefront of transforming our local economy and giving our region a competitive edge," said Brown. &nbsp; "This certification will assure employers already located in the Dan River Region, as well as those looking to call our region home, that Southern Virginia is committed to providing businesses with the skilled workers needed to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow. Having a tool that allows us to validate the skill levels of the workers in our region will be a great economic development tool," said Leigh Cockram, Executive Director of the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance. &nbsp; The team, in partnership with the region's three community colleges (Danville, Patrick Henry, and Southside Virginia), has secured a Tomorrow's Workforce Now grant which will provide 400 NCRC assessments to jump-start the effort. Twenty-two regional employers have signed on to participate in pilot-testing the NCRC Plus assessment to determine value and their level of commitment in using the assessment for skill validation. &nbsp; If you are interested in learning more about the Work Ready Community effort or, as an employer, you would be interested in learning more about the NCRC, please contact Dr. Julie Brown at 434-836-5674 or juliejbrown@gmail.com http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/9 Chamber board learns about career certificates http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/9 Fri, 15 Mar 2013 12:00:00 EST Friday, 15 March 2013 12:00:00 EST A regional organization is promoting a National Career Readiness Certificate as a way of ensuring businesses that workers are highly skilled. &nbsp; Most jobs today require &ldquo;more than a high school diploma,&rdquo; said Julie Brown, project manager for the Dan River Regional Collaborative (DRRC), an initiative by employers, educators and others to improve Southside&rsquo;s workforce. &nbsp; In the region, &ldquo;lots of jobs are going unfilled&rdquo; because workers lack skills needed to do them, Brown told the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce&rsquo;s board on Thursday. &nbsp; The career readiness certificate evaluates a person&rsquo;s skills at math, reading to get information, and finding information, such as by interpreting pie charts and graphs. It also is intended to show a person&rsquo;s productivity, dependability, ability to work in teams and with customers, and management potential. &nbsp; These &ldquo;really are essential skills&rdquo; for workers to have today, Brown said. &nbsp; Career readiness certificates have been around for years. Virginia was the first state to have one, and then the concept was expanded nationwide. &nbsp; According to Brown, Virginia is transitioning to a national certificate developed by ACT, the nonprofit organization that administers college admissions and placement tests to high school students. &nbsp; College degrees and other academic credentials remain important, she said. But what a person learns in a training program at one educational institution may be somewhat different than what someone else who attended another program at another institution learned, she noted. &nbsp; For employers, the certificate helps &ldquo;make sure you&rsquo;re comparing apples to apples&rdquo; when evaluating applicants trained in different places, Brown said. &nbsp; She compared it to testing for advanced placement courses in high school, which is done based on national standards. &nbsp; The certificate is appropriate for most all types of jobs, from health care to retail, she said. &nbsp; &ldquo;Have you taken it?&rdquo; chamber board Chairman Guy Stanley asked Brown. &nbsp; &ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to,&rdquo; she replied. &nbsp; There are four certification levels: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The higher the level, the more types of jobs that a person supposedly can do. &nbsp; A platinum certificate basically means a person can do 99 percent of jobs, Brown said. A bronze certificate means a person can do only 16 percent of jobs, she said. &nbsp; Virginia&rsquo;s original certificate lacked a platinum level, she added. &nbsp; Community colleges in the region, including Patrick Henry, are administering certification tests and helping students prepare for them. &nbsp; Brown estimated it will cost about $60 to take the assessment tests. She said community colleges can connect people to an online site that will help them prepare for the tests. &nbsp; But &ldquo;it&rsquo;s hard to say&rdquo; just how much time and effort someone needs to prepare, Brown said, because the tests are designed to &ldquo;assess things you&rsquo;ve learned over time.&rdquo; &nbsp; Some people take the tests without preparing for them, she said. &nbsp; If 2,300 Southside residents earn certificates during the next two years, the region will be recognized as a Certified Work Ready Community, Brown said. &nbsp; That should help the region &mdash; which includes Henry County and Martinsville as well as Pittsylvania, Patrick and Halifax counties and Danville &mdash; attract companies that will create new jobs, she said. &nbsp; &ldquo;We want to make a statement that our region&rsquo;s workers are career ready,&rdquo; Brown said. She said that a regional emphasis, as opposed to local emphasis, is necessary because in today&rsquo;s working world, people move around a lot. &nbsp; She did not know how many Henry County and Martinsville residents already have earned career readiness certificates. However, she said about 48,000 people statewide have earned a Virginia-specific certificate. &nbsp; Thirty-four Southside employers are participating in a program to help at least some of their employees try to earn national certificates. &nbsp; Of those, 12 are in Henry County and Martinsville. They include Memorial Hospital and RTI International Metals, Brown said. &nbsp; Those 34 firms are to gauge whether they think employees having career readiness certificates is worthwhile. Their feedback will help determine how much the certificate program is pushed in the future, according to Brown. &nbsp; She emphasized that the program is being pushed now as a way of helping employers meet their recruitment needs. &nbsp; Also, in order for Southside to become a Certified Work Ready Community, 250 businesses, including 55 in Henry County and Martinsville, must show support for the certificate program, whether or not they have encouraged their employees to earn certificates, Brown said. &nbsp; Southside is the first region in the nation to pursue Certified Work Ready Community status. Elsewhere, it has been done on a statewide level. By Mickey Powell - Bulletin Staff Writer, Martinsville Bulletin http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/8 Dan River Region Collaborative Asks Congressional Leaders to Support ‘Middle Skills’ http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/8 Wed, 13 Feb 2013 12:00:00 EST Wednesday, 13 February 2013 12:00:00 EST The Dan River Region Collaborative recently participated in the 2013 Skills Summit in Washington, D.C. where participants asked members of Congress to support policies and investments in skill development, enabling more businesses to find the skilled workers they need to compete globally, and so all workers can share in and contribute to our country&rsquo;s economic prosperity. &nbsp; Dr. Julie J. Brown, Project Director for the Collaborative, Laurie S. Moran, CCE, President of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, and Dr. Nettie L. Simon-Owens, Director of Workforce Services for the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, were invited to participate in the Summit on behalf of Southern Virginia.&nbsp; Valerie Palamountain, Dean of Workforce Services for Piedmont Virginia Community College, also represented Virginia at the Summit. &nbsp; &ldquo;Our region&rsquo;s competitive position in the global economy depends upon the skills of its workforce,&rdquo; commented Brown.&nbsp; &ldquo;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.&rdquo; &nbsp; &ldquo;Even with high unemployment, our employers face difficulties finding qualified workers in the middle &ndash; jobs that require more than a high school diploma but not a four-year degree,&rdquo; Brown explained.&nbsp; &ldquo;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.&rdquo; &nbsp; While in DC, the Virginia delegation met with Congressman Robert Hurt and the staffs of Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and Representatives Morgan Griffith, Eric Cantor, Bobby Scott, and Jim Moran. &nbsp; &ldquo;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,&rdquo; Moran said.&nbsp; &ldquo;We hope that our ability to share information from our region will allow members of Congress to better understand the need for reauthorization of workforce legislation and a balanced approach to the deficit reduction.&rdquo; &nbsp; The Skills Summit was sponsored by the National Skills Coalition which organizes broad-based coalitions seeking to raise the skills of America&rsquo;s workers across a range of industries. &nbsp; The Dan River Region Collaborative (DRRC) is a regional funding collaborative driven by employer partnerships in four strategic areas:&nbsp; advanced manufacturing, energy, healthcare and information technology.&nbsp; Through these employer-driven partnerships, the Collaborative works to identify training, policy, and capacity issues that impact the development of the region&rsquo;s workforce.&nbsp; The ultimate goal is to create opportunities that move low-skill, low-wage individuals into high-skill, high-wage positions. &nbsp; The Collaborative&rsquo;s key funding partners, to date, include The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region, The Danville Regional Foundation, The Harvest Foundation, J.T.-Minnie Maude Charitable Trust, the Virginia Tobacco Commission, the Boeing Foundation, and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.&nbsp; http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/7 Grant invests in regional entrepreneurship development http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/7 Wed, 06 Feb 2013 12:00:00 EST Wednesday, 06 February 2013 12:00:00 EST <!-- AP Content --> A state grant will enable a regional board to offer entrepreneurship classes to high school students, educators and business-minded individuals in the Dan River Region. &nbsp; The West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board, which serves Danville and Pittsylvania County and other neighboring localities, has received a $50,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to establish a project that would offer entrepreneurship courses this summer. The board is one of five projects across the state that applied for money and will receive part of $225,000 in funding through Virginia&rsquo;s Building Collaborative Communities Program started in 2012. The board also serves Henry and Patrick counties and Martinsville. &nbsp; &ldquo;In its first year, Building Collaborative Communities jumpstarted several regional collaborative efforts across the commonwealth,&rdquo; Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a prepared statement announcing the grants. &ldquo;The selected projects focus on and facilitate involvement from the private sector, community organizations and various other regional organizations that can make the collaboration a success.&rdquo; &nbsp; Kim Adkins, mayor of Martinsville and executive director of the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board, said the entrepreneurship classes will be offered at sites in all five of the board&rsquo;s localities. Danville Community College, the Institute for Advanced Learning and &nbsp; Research, the Regional Center for Applied Technology and Training and county schools are possible locations in Danville and Pittsylvania County, Adkins said. &nbsp; &ldquo;Investment in entrepreneurship development is an important part of workforce development,&rdquo; said. &ldquo;There are homegrown talents we should support.&rdquo; &nbsp; The program will include continuing education classes for teachers so they can continue teaching entrepreneurial skills, Adkins said. It will also include business plan writing competitions for high school students, she said. &nbsp; &ldquo;This is a great opportunity for us to expose our youth to business opportunities and the possibilities of owning their own businesses,&rdquo; said Laurie Moran, president of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce. Moran is chair of the National Association of Workforce Boards. &nbsp; Participation is free but will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis and will be limited to 40 educators, 100 students and 95 other entrepreneurial individuals who plan to start their own business, Adkins said. &nbsp; The board will provide a $25,000 match for the $50,000, totaling $75,000. The project will cost about $111,000, Adkins said. The Dan River Regional Collaborative will provide $10,890 toward the project, with the rest coming from in-kind contributions and services. &nbsp; The board partners with local elected officials in the five-locality region and &ldquo;provides leadership and direction to determine how best to deliver workforce services for the region,&rdquo; according to the board&rsquo;s website. The board also designates Virginia Workforce Centers. &nbsp; Those interested in enrolling can call Adkins at (276) 656-6190 or Moran at (434) 836-6990. &nbsp; By John R. Crane Work It, SoVa http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/6 Educated employees create stronger workforce http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/6 Fri, 14 Dec 2012 12:00:00 EST Friday, 14 December 2012 12:00:00 EST Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, South Central Workforce Investment Board and Halifax Regional Health System, as well as many other representatives from companies all over Southside Virginia, met Friday morning to discuss Tomorrow&rsquo;s Workforce Now and its role in regional jobs. &nbsp; Representatives met at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research to discuss the role of educating employees to help build stronger workforces. Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade Mary Rae Carter said focusing on schools and making students aware of training, vocational programs and career paths are a good way to enhance the workforce. &nbsp; &nbsp;Debra Lyons, a representative from ACT, discussed the work readiness system and workplace skills that are necessary for a job. Lyons said that the workplace readiness system &mdash; a National Career Readiness Certificate that identifies an individual&rsquo;s WorkKeys skills &mdash; would allow individuals to prove they have the skills they need to do their job. &nbsp; In order to teach those skills and teach people what it means to be a skilled worker, Lyons stressed the importance of finding a way to teach those skill sets and grow that talent pool that can go anywhere they are needed. &nbsp; &ldquo;It&rsquo;s so important for an individual to understand what it means to be a skilled worker,&rdquo; Lyons said. &ldquo;If the person who has to get the skill levels to do those jobs doesn&rsquo;t understand what it means to be a skilled worker, closing that gap will be harder.&rdquo; &nbsp; Patti Deitos, a representative from Military2Manufacturing and Military2Medicine, put Carter and Lyons&rsquo; presentations into perspective as an employer. In 2005, prior to starting the WorkKeys skill set, her turnover rate was more than 50 percent. Most of the employees were not completing their 90-day orientation because they did not have the skill set to do so. &nbsp; Deitos said the WorkKeys initiative was started in June 2009, and by 2010 the turnover rate had dropped to less than 15 percent. Deitos said training workers saved the organization about $1.2 million and also produced workers who were better trained and qualified to do their job, which helped overall morale and productivity. &nbsp; By Allison Roberts Work It, SoVa http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/13 Dan River Region Collaborative receives national recognition http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/13 Mon, 09 Jul 2012 12:00:00 EST Monday, 09 July 2012 12:00:00 EST The Dan River Region Collaborative was recently named as the recipient of the 2012 Investor Committee Award for Promotion of Systems Change from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, presented by the Ford Foundation. &nbsp; The Collaborative was recognized for its work with the three regional hospitals and advanced manufacturers in the Counties of Halifax, Henry, Patrick, and Pittsylvania, and in the Cities of Danville and Martinsville. &nbsp; "Our ability to work across city and county lines, to form strong partnerships, and to strengthen the way we work together will create the greatest opportunity for system change and transformative results,&rdquo; commented Julie J. Brown, Project Director for the Dan River Region Collaborative. &nbsp; Through the initiatives of the Collaborative, the hospitals and advanced manufacturers are meeting for the first time ever in intentional dialogues to improve and advance this region&rsquo;s workforce. &nbsp; The award was presented at the National Fund for Workforce Solutions&rsquo; annual meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio by Chauncy Lennon, Program Officer for the Ford Foundation. Accepting the award on behalf of the Dan River Region Collaborative were Clark Casteel of the Danville Regional Foundation, Debra Dodson of the Community Foundation of the Dan River Region, and Brown. Kim Adkins, Executive Director of the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board, and John Parkinson, CEO of Drake Extrusion of Martinsville, were also in attendance at the meeting representing the Collaborative&rsquo;s partnership with the region&rsquo;s Workforce Investment Boards and employers. &nbsp; The Dan River Region Collaborative (DRRC) is a regional funding collaborative driven by employer partnerships in four strategic areas: advanced manufacturing, energy, healthcare and information technology. Through these employer-driven partnerships, the Collaborative works to identify training, policy, and capacity issues that impact the development of the region&rsquo;s workforce. The ultimate goal is to create opportunities that move low-skill, low-wage individuals into high-skill, high-wage positions. &nbsp; The Collaborative&rsquo;s key funding partners, to date, include The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region, The Danville Regional Foundation, The Harvest Foundation, J.T.-Minnie Maude Charitable Trust, the Virginia Tobacco Commission, the Boeing Company, and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. &nbsp; The National Fund is spearheaded by a group of leading foundations across the United States, along with a major corporation and a leading federal government agency, including Chase, Ford Foundation, Knight Foundation, Microsoft, One Boeing Fund, Open Society Foundations, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Corporation for National and Community Service, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, The Hitachi Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The Prudential Foundation, The Social Innovation Fund, and The Walmart Foundation. Additionally, national partnerships have been established with Jobs for the Future and the Council on Foundations. &nbsp; NFWS has historically worked with collaboratives in large, metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Realizing that workforce challenges impact rural communities differently than urban settings, they sought to develop rural collaborative models to support. The Dan River Region Collaborative (DRRC) was initiated in the summer of 2008 and received its initial acceptance into the National Fund in the fall of 2008. http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/11 Dan River Region Collaborative receives grant to support manufacturing jobs http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/11 Thu, 21 Jun 2012 12:00:00 EST Thursday, 21 June 2012 12:00:00 EST The Dan River Region Collaborative has been selected to receive a $32,352 grant to support manufacturing jobs in the Dan River Region, according to Project Director Julie J. Brown. &nbsp; The project, which is being supported by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions and The Boeing Company, will support on-the-job training opportunities for new hires within the manufacturing sector. &nbsp; &ldquo;The labor-intense style of manufacturing has been replaced with new production methods, requiring workers to use computers, higher level mathematical skills, and a team-centered approach,&rdquo; commented Brown in discussing the importance of the grant. &ldquo;While many of these skills can be attained through the region&rsquo;s community colleges, workers must often learn to use a specific piece of machinery once hired and embrace a work culture that may be very different from their previous experiences.&rdquo; &nbsp; The Collaborative&rsquo;s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership was formed in September 2011 to address the region&rsquo;s changing workforce needs. Currently, 19 companies participate in the partnership, which continues to expand. The Collaborative has initially partnered with two companies for the grant opportunity: Amthor International and Intertape Polymer Group (IPG), Inc. Both companies anticipate new hires within the next three months. &nbsp; &ldquo;Amthor will significantly benefit from this project as we hope to recruit and train 30-40 employees for production, manufacturing, and assembly. The OJT funds will be used to provide welding, mechanical, and electrical training for our new employees,&rdquo; according to Brian Amthor, Marketing and H.R. Director for Amthor International. &nbsp; Amthor is the nation&rsquo;s largest and most diverse manufacturer of truck-mounted tanks, which includes uses for the vacuum and septic, portable restroom, propane, water, refined fuel, well drilling, and construction industries. Located in Gretna, Amthor currently employs 74 individuals. &nbsp; &ldquo;IPG, Inc. anticipates hiring several new plant assistants whose responsibilities include working safely with machine operators to insure the quality and quantity of the final product meets expectations,&rdquo; commented Carl Shoemaker, HR Director for the IPG, Inc. Danville plant. &ldquo;Because of the skills required in this position, the OJT funds will be invaluable as they help us to better prepare workers in the areas of safety, ERP, forklift, product quality standards, ISO 9001 and 14001, and specific machine training,&rdquo; he added. &nbsp; Intertape Polymer Group Inc. is a recognized leader in the development and manufacture of specialized polyolefin plastic and paper based packaging products and complementary packaging systems for industrial and retail use. Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec and Sarasota / Bradenton, Florida, the company employs approximately 2,000 employees with operations in 12 locations, including 10 manufacturing facilities in North America and one in Europe. They employ 283 individuals at the Danville facility. &nbsp; If Amthor and Intertape are unable to hire the anticipated number of entry level workers within the established time frame, the Collaborative will identify additional employers who may be willing to participate and meet the grant requirements. &nbsp; The Dan River Region Collaborative, which was formed in the summer of 2008, serves approximately 150,000 people in Pittsylvania, Halifax, Henry, and Patrick counties and the cities of Danville and Martinsville. The Collaborative is supported by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions which utilizes a dual-customer effort through investments in organizing employers, creating workforce partnerships, and advocating for public policies and private practices that make businesses more competitive and workers more likely to earn family-sustaining wages. The Collaborative invests in worker skills and key regional industries. The Collaborative is a catalyst for generating additional investments in creating sectoral workforce partnerships, training workers, and improving workforce practices. &nbsp; As a regional funding entity, the Collaborative&rsquo;s key funding partners, to date, include The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region, The Danville Regional Foundation, The Harvest Foundation, J.T.-Minnie Maude Charitable Trust, and the Virginia Tobacco Commission. &nbsp; The National Fund is spearheaded by a group of leading foundations across the United States, along with a major corporation and a leading federal government agency, including Chase, Ford Foundation, Knight Foundation, Microsoft, One Boeing Fund, Open Society Foundations, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Corporation for National and Community Service, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, The Hitachi Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The Prudential Foundation, The Social Innovation Fund, and The Walmart Foundation. Additionally, national partnerships have been established with Jobs for the Future and the Council on Foundations. &nbsp; NFWS has historically worked with collaboratives in large, metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Realizing that workforce challenges impact rural communities differently than urban settings, they sought to develop rural collaborative models to support. The Dan River Region Collaborative (DRRC) was initiated in the summer of 2008 and received its initial acceptance into the National Fund in the fall of 2008. http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/4 Group aims to interest Dan River Region youth in manufacturing http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/4 Mon, 28 May 2012 12:00:00 EST Monday, 28 May 2012 12:00:00 EST Advanced manufacturing is a viable and well-paying job option for young people in the region, according to one workforce partnership.&nbsp;The Dan River Region Collaborative is working to implement a regional initiative to show young people that products are still being made in Southern Virginia and to educate them about the skills needed to enter today's manufacturing workforce, said collaborative project director Julie Brown. Nineteen percent of the region's workers are still in manufacturing.&nbsp;&quot;I think it's going to take a collective effort to make sure we're doing our best to expose young people to career and job opportunities that are here in Southern Virginia,&quot; Brown said.&nbsp;The local effort will collaborate with the Virginia Manufacturers Association's &quot;Dream It. Do It. Virginia&quot; campaign, which is also part of a national initiative. The state association will help the local workforce partnership create videos and marketing material about regional industry and end-products to show in schools. Starting next year, the Dan River Region Collaborative would also like to partner with regional manufacturers for on-site summer camps.&nbsp;The campaign would also inform teenagers how to get the proper training, certifications, internships or higher education to enter various manufacturing careers. Most jobs don't need a traditional four-year degree.&nbsp;Manufacturers across the country are concerned where their entry-level workers will come from as advanced processes and new technology mean workers need more math and computer skills and hands-on training.&nbsp;&quot;The goal is to strengthen the manufacturing pipeline,&quot; Brown said.&nbsp;Getting the next generation engaged in manufacturing is essential for companies looking to grow in Southside, like Drake Extrusion in Martinsville and Amthor International in Gretna.&nbsp;Many reports say there could be a resurgence in U.S. manufacturing in the Southeast as shipping and labor costs increase for companies operating in China or Asia. Drake Extrusion, which makes synthetic fibers and yarns, is already starting to see a resurgence, said CEO John Parkinson. Drake's Martinsville facility added nearly 60 jobs in the past 18 months.&nbsp;Yet, Parkinson said there really isn't a workforce or training plan that helps companies like his get the workers they need.&nbsp;&quot;We've got to encourage bright kids out of high school to say, &lsquo;Hey, there are skills here that can give you a good living and help you stay in this region if that's what you want to do,&quot; Parkinson said.&nbsp;Amthor International, a tank truck manufacturer, conducts between eight and 12 weeks of on-the-job training for its &quot;unique&quot; skill needs, said marketing director Brian Amthor. Not all jobs revolve around a desk or computer, he added.&nbsp;&quot;As a manufacturer, it's important to reach out to the next generation,&quot; Amthor said. &quot;As a growing company in the area, we're going to need more workers.&quot;&nbsp;For more information about the statewide &quot;Dream It. Do It.&quot; campaign, visit&nbsp;www.dreamit-doit.com/Virginia.&nbsp;If you're a manufacturer interested in getting involved in the campaign, call Julie Brown at (434) 836-5674 or email&nbsp;jbrown@danriverrc.org.&nbsp;By Tara Bozick: GoDanRiver&nbsp; http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/5 Grant helps train Presto employees http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/5 Mon, 28 May 2012 12:00:00 EST Monday, 28 May 2012 12:00:00 EST The Dan River Region Collaborative (DRRC) granted a request from Presto for $63,000 to finance training efforts implemented through the Workforce Readiness Initiative. This grant will allow for nearly 5,000 employee training hours as the company is experiencing training needs due to recent growth and expansion at their South Boston facility.&nbsp;&quot;We are delighted to be the recipients of such a timely and generous grant and to have the opportunity to partner with the SVHEC to develop and resource training specifically tailored to our needs. We are proud to be located in a state and region where political, education, business and community leaders recognize, support and fund critical programs like the innovate Workforce Readiness Initiative to help employers and employees like us keep pace with rapidly changing demands of doing business in today's highly competitive global economy. Our thanks goes out to all who have come together to make this initiative happen,&quot; said Rick Dockstader, Presto plant manager.Dan River Region Collaborative supports Presto as a pilot for this training program with the goal of replicating this model for other manufacturers if successful. The Workforce Readiness Initiative is managed by the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center and partially funded by the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. The initiative is designed to encourage retention and growth of businesses in southern Virginia. Working with Presto and regional training providers, the SVHEC Workforce Services developed a unique employer-driven and comprehensive training program to improve the skills of more than 200 incumbent workers at Presto. The training program addresses two major concerns common among manufacturers: retention of incumbent workers and a sufficient applicant pool from which to choose new &quot;work ready&quot; employees. &quot;We are excited to partner with industry and educational providers as well as individual participants to provide such an impactful program for our community and our region,&quot; said Sandra Conner, project coordinator for SVHEC Workforce Services.Presto's training needs are a direct result of a recent expansion including five new production lines. The SVHEC was tasked by the governor's office to coordinate the multi-year, multi-skill noncredit training initiative. The Virginia Manufacturers Association, GENEDGE Alliance and Danville Community College will provide the first phase of training, which includes workshops on problem solving and error proofing as well as hands-on simulations with a focus on lean processes. Training will be aimed at entry-level employees, team leaders, and maintenance mechanics. Upon completing the first phase of training, employees will receive the Virginia's Career Readiness Certificate, a credential recognized by employers throughout the Commonwealth and many other states. The large-scale, customized project is coordinated by SVHEC Workforce Services, and will result in the delivery of 19,500 hours of training. &quot;The Dan River Region Collaborative supports Presto's training initiatives with the anticipation that the program will serve as a model for expanding similar efforts on a local and regional level. The ability to leverage public and private dollars to support regional workforce initiatives is critical to our region's economic success as we work together to develop talent,&quot; states Dr. Julie Brown, the DRRC project director.The Dan River Region Collaborative is a group of funders in the Southern Piedmont Region of Virginia who joined forces to impact the region's workforce development system. The Dan River Region Collaborative seeks to improve both the quality of jobs and the capacity of workers by promoting change at three levels: within individuals in terms of job creation and career advancements; in employers or businesses in terms of recruitment and retention of skilled employees, and to impact systematic changes that will result in policy changes and ultimately a better workforce development system.The Gazette-Virginian, YourGV.com&nbsp; http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/1 Dan River Region collaborative receives money for workforce efforts http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/1 Tue, 01 Nov 2011 12:00:00 EST Tuesday, 01 November 2011 12:00:00 EST By: TARA BOZICK Published: November 01, 2011Republished courtesy of GoDanRiver.comA Dan River Region workforce development initiative will get a $300,000 boost.The Dan River Region Collaborative is one of 32 workforce initiatives across the country to receive money from the federal Social Innovation Fund through the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, according to a news release. The federal grant required matching funds from National Fund.&quot;One of the largest barriers to economic growth in many communities is the shortage of a skilled workforce, and I am pleased that Southside will benefit from this investment,&quot; said Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, in a statement.The two-year grant will allow the collaborative to expand its systems change, training and capacity-building efforts to Patrick County and Caswell, Rockingham and Person counties in North Carolina. As a result, the collaborative will also explore the creation of an information technology partnership to serve the businesses taking advantage of local broadband infrastructure.The collaborative, founded in 2008, already had formed employer-driven partnerships in health care, advanced manufacturing and energy, said project director Julie Brown. Such partnerships help the region identify workforce needs and implement job training, which helps employers get the talent they need while local workers can add skills to make more money.&quot;In a bigger sense, it's how we can recreate the middle class,&quot; Brown said.In times of limited resources, such partnerships make sure the region is flexible and responsive to workforce needs, said collaborative chair Laurie Moran, president of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce.&quot;As we focus on job creation, it's imperative that we find innovative solutions that advance the skills of our workforce to be competitive in a global economy,&quot; Moran said in the release.Regional employers in the manufacturing, health care, energy or information technology sectors can learn more by contacting Brown at jbrown@danriverrc.com or (434) 836-5674. http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/2 Grant targets workers, training http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/2 Sun, 30 Oct 2011 12:00:00 EST Sunday, 30 October 2011 12:00:00 EST Republished courtesy of the Martinsville Bulletin.Martinsville, VA (October 30, 2011) - The Dan River Region Collaborative will receive a $300,000 grant to prepare workers and job seekers for employment in the region, a news release says.The two-year grant will help identify and foster career advancement opportunities for low-wage, low-skilled employees, and help employers recruit and retain skilled workers, according to the release, information on the collaborative's website and Julie J. Brown, DRRC project director.It will do that by expanding the collaborative's work with regional, employer-led work force partnerships in the areas of the advanced manufacturing, energy, health care and information technology sectors, the release states.For instance, the collaborative has worked in the area of energy, identifying the need for energy audit specialists in the region. As a result of training provided, three small businesses have started, according to Brown and information on the collaborative's website.&quot;We'd love to serve 500 (people); we'd love to serve more than that,&quot; Brown said.Brown said the Dan River Region Collaborative's region includes Henry, Patrick, Pittsylvania and Halifax counties and the cities of Martinsville and Danville. The grant will allow it to expand to Rockingham, Caswell and Person counties in North Carolina.The collaborative was founded in 2008 to address work-force development in the region. It has raised more than $1.4 million to support its efforts, the release states.Brown said the collaborative, on a regional basis, looks at specific sectors and how to involve employers in conversations around such things as work-force needs, related policy issues and how to improve training.For instance, CEOs and other officials of three hospitals recently met, Brown said. One of the needs identified was that in 2013, new medical code regulations will be coming out. That's an opportunity to provide training to low-wage, low skilled hospital employees on how to use medical codes and enable them to make more money, she said.It may not sound like much, she said, but through training, helping an employee advance, say, from an $8-an-hour job to a $9- or $9.50-an-hour job is &quot;huge for a family.&quot;Officials also try to identify ways employees can get on a career path to advance to higher jobs, Brown said.&quot;Learning doesn't stop, You still have to pick up additional skills to move along a career ladder,&quot; she said.People still need to get academic degrees, but &quot;we need people getting new skills and getting industry-recognized credentials,&quot; she said.A similar meeting was held recently for employers about advanced manufacturing jobs, Brown said.The region still has a good manufacturing base, about 19 percent of total jobs in that area compared with 9 percent nationally, she said.One issue is how to get high school students interested in advanced manufacturing jobs, she said.In a few weeks, a meeting of education providers will be held. Community colleges, New College Institute, National College in Martinsville and Danville, other higher educational schools and school systems have been invited, Brown said. If training needs have been identified by employers, there could be a discussion of who provides such training or how to collaborate to provide it, Brown said.The grant represents a combination of federal funds from the Corporation for National and Community Service's Social Innovation Fund and an equal amount of matching funds raised by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions from private donors, the release states.In this region, The Harvest Foundation in Martinsville, the Danville Regional Foundation, The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region, the J.T. Minnie Maude Charitable Trust, the West Piedmont and South Central Workforce Investment Boards, and the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Revitalization Commission, along with the regional chambers of commerce and the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, have joined with the National Fund on the initiative, according to the news release.Regional employers in the manufacturing, health care, energy or IT sectors who are interested in learning more about the collaborative should contact Julie Brown, DRRC project director, at jbrown@danriverrc.com or (434) 836-5674.&nbsp; http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/3 Dan River Region Collaborative Awarded Grant to Strengthen Innovation to Help Local Workers, Jobseekers Build Careers http://www.danriverrc.org/news/details/ID/3 Sat, 29 Oct 2011 12:00:00 EST Saturday, 29 October 2011 12:00:00 EST Awards Represent Distribution from Federal Government's Social Innovation FundDan River Region, VA (October 29, 2011) - The National Fund for Workforce Solutions has announced that the Dan River Region Collaborative will receive a grant of $300,000 to expand its work supporting regional, employer-led workforce partnerships designed to prepare workers and jobseekers for sustainable employment in the local market. The Dan River Region Collaborative is one of 32 National Fund sites across the country and one of five such sites being awarded grants totaling $2.1 million. The award represents the third-round of funding supported by the federal Social Innovation Fund grant awarded to the National Fund and its implementation partner, Jobs for the Future. The Social Innovation Fund is an innovative federal program that addresses major challenges confronting communities by growing high-impact nonprofit organizations delivering proven solutions.&quot;One of the largest barriers to economic growth in many communities is the shortage of a skilled workforce, and I am pleased that Southside will benefit from this investment,&quot; said Senator Jim Webb. &quot;The Dan River Region Collaborative is a strong example of a public-private partnership that will work to ensure that employer demands are being met through a globally competitive, skilled workforce.&quot;The award represents a combination of federal funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service's Social Innovation Fund and an equal amount of matching funds raised by the National Fund from private donors. Locally, the Danville Regional Foundation, The Harvest Foundation, The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region, the J.T. Minnie Maude Charitable Trust, the West Piedmont and South Central Workforce Investment Boards, and the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Revitalization Commission, along with the regional Chambers of Commerce and the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, have joined forces with the National Fund to develop long-term employer partnerships in support of workforce improvements across the region, improving employment, training, and labor market outcomes for low-skill, low-wage individuals.The two-year grant will allow the local Collaborative to support training, capacity building efforts, and systems change work in the advanced manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and information technology sectors. &quot;The National Fund model is locally driven, and unique to every region and every industry sector,&quot; said Damian Thorman, National Program Director at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Chair of the National Fund. &quot;But all of our sites are built upon a similar strategy: implement job training and career support programs in close partnership with employers, ensuring that businesses benefit from a skilled workforce and employees get the skills and certifications that lead to sustainable careers.&quot;The Dan River Region Collaborative (DRRC) was founded in 2008 to address workforce development in the Dan River Region of Virginia. To date, the Collaborative has raised more than $1.4 million to support its efforts. Employer partnerships in healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and energy are currently underway with plans to explore an information technology partnership. The new funds will allow the Collaborative to expand its geographic footprint into Patrick County and three North Carolina border counties.Laurie Moran, President of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, serves as the current Chairperson for the Dan River Region Collaborative. &quot;We are thrilled that our region has been recognized and awarded a Social Innovation Fund grant. As we focus on job creation, it's imperative that we find innovative solutions that advance the skills of our workforce to be competitive in a global economy,&quot; said Moran. &quot;In times of limited resources, the public-private funding partnerships that our region has leveraged will allow us to be flexible and responsive to the workforce needs of our employers.&quot;Leigh Cockram, Executive Director for the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, also serves on the DRRC Steering Committee. &quot;The Dan River Region Collaborative is an important partner in assisting with building the workforce needed to support regional economic development in Southern Virginia,&quot; said Cockram. &quot;The best way to show new prospects our region is a viable place to do business, is to show them a strong, stable existing industry base. This Social Innovation Fund grant will help the DRRC ensure we have the workforce needed to continue to support our existing industries' needs.&quot;Regional employers in the manufacturing, healthcare, energy or IT sectors who are interested in learning more about the Collaborative should contact Julie Brown, DRRC Project Director, at jbrown@danriverrc.com or 434-836-5674.About National Fund for Workforce Solutions:The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is an award-winning national initiative focused on helping low-wage workers obtain good careers while at the same time ensuring that employers have the high-quality skills that will enable them to succeed in this highly competitive economy. Since 2008, the National Fund has raised nearly $24 million to support 30 communities that have contributed an additional $104 million in locally-raised resources from 216 different funding sources, including community foundations, United Ways, corporate foundations, workforce investment boards, chambers of commerce and state agencies. Each of these communities has created local funding collaboratives that are collectively investing in more than 80 sectoral workforce partnerships. The addition of these six new sites brings the total number of communities where the National Fund is working to 30.Ten national funders lead the effort: Annie E. Casey Foundation; the California Endowment; Ford Foundation; John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; JPMorgan Chase &amp; Co.; Microsoft; The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation; The Hitachi Foundation; the Prudential Foundation; and the Walmart Foundation.About Jobs for the Future:Jobs for the Future develops, implements, and promotes new education and workforce strategies that help communities, states, and the nation compete in a global economy. In 200 communities in 41 states, JFF improves the pathways leading from high school to college to family-sustaining careers.About the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Social Innovation Fund:The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. The Social Innovation Fund is an initiative of the Corporation that improves the lives of people in low-income U.S. communities. Through an innovative public-private partnership, the Social Innovation Fund and selected local and national grantmakers co-invest in programs that increase the scale of community-based solutions that have evidence of real impact in the areas of youth development, economic opportunity or healthy futures. Every federal dollar invested is matched with private funds, and all programs are rigorously evaluated. As a result, the most effective approaches can be expanded to reach more people in need and key lessons can be captured and broadly shared. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.&nbsp;