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U.S. Department of Labor Recognizes RVCC’s Workforce Delivery Project

The College’s Workforce Delivery Project—an initiative aimed at securing a good job for every student and a great employee for every employer—is producing overwhelmingly positive results.

By refocusing efforts around economic outcomes and improved completion, 100 percent of the 43 graduates of the program who sought employment upon completion either became employed or are currently in the process of being hired. On average, these programs have a completion rate of over 90 percent. The level of industry involvement and exceptionally high retention rate earned the project a Best Practice citation from the United States Department of Labor this year.

Supported by a $4.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the project this year introduced newly revamped programs in Cosmetology, Phlebotomy, and Manufacturing Technology, and also doubled the capacity of the Automotive Technology program. Massage Therapy and Fitness Instruction are planned to launch late fall 2014, followed by enhancements to existing Medical Assisting and Environmental Controls programs to begin in spring 2015. A Veterinary Technology program is currently in development.

The Automotive Technology program graduated its second class this summer. The redesigned Cosmetology program graduated its first class in the spring and the new CNC program is graduating students in its first class later this summer.

“We’ve proven our model delivers as we expected. Knowing that the students we’ve graduated are on their way to financial independence via successful careers motivates the Workforce Delivery Team to continue and expand our efforts,” said Mike Metzgar, executive director and project architect for the Workforce Delivery Project. The model is designed to ensure all students complete training as quickly as possible and find employment upon graduate. It is based on the following tenants:

Successful Employment Tennant 1:
Let Economic Need and Job Opportunity Dictate Program Selection
Before pursing development, each potential program is vetted to ensure sufficient local jobs exist to result in employment for each graduate; that those jobs pay a livable wage; and that employers will hire recent graduates for those jobs.

Successful Employment Tennant 2:
Let Industry Needs Drive Program Design
Key to long-term employment of a worker is employer satisfaction with that worker, and the work that he or she does. This means each program’s curriculum is custom-tailored to employer and industry specifications. Employers and expert workers play a vital role by articulating competencies and performance standards that mirror actual workplaces. As of June 2014, over 170 Business & Industry partners have contributed to the programs. Because it is the employers’ opinions that matters most, each program culminates with students working at employer sites for a period of time sufficient enough for the employer to verify that the student is ready for the workplace. This past year students spent just over 550 hours with employers who were assessing their work-readiness.

Successful Employment Tennant 3:
Actively Ensure Graduates Get & Keep Good Jobs
When possible, students are placed in employment even before the program ends. Workplace Coordinator Diane Seavers tracks graduates' workplace outcomes for 3-5 years after graduation and will provide job placement assistance when necessary. In 2014 she was tracking employment outcomes for 80+ participants.

Successful Completion Tennant 1:
Ensure a good match
Each student is presented with the realities of the job during in-depth interviews before starting the program. Job shadowing opportunities during their first course ensure that the work they are pursuing is the work they want to perform. This year staff fielded over 200 inquiries about programs, and 100 percent of all participants have attended job shadowing.

Successful Completion Tennant 2:
Reduce Barriers to Success
Many times it is life that gets in the way of success at school. Success Coordinator Eliyahu Lotzar helps students overcome these obstacles. This year program participants received transportation assistance and other emergency aid from the College, as well as one-on-one tutoring. Lotzar also leveraged partnerships to connect students to housing, financial assistance, and health care.

The success of this project has led to the award of $8 million in state funding for a new Workforce Training Center. The groundbreaking for this new facility, which will adequately accommodate the needs of RVCC’s rapidly expanding training programs, is slated for spring 2015.

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