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Gov. McAuliffe announces TCC and Opp Inc. will partner to increase adult-learner pipeline

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced March 9 that Tidewater Community College and Opportunity Inc. will receive a $25,000 grant from the national Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) for a pilot project designed to link local workforce systems with community colleges to increase success for adult learners.

Virginia’s TCC-Opportunity Inc. partnership is one of only four in the nation selected for the project, which is designed to expand the adult learner pipeline into postsecondary credential attainment. Philadelphia, Miami and Seattle were selected for other partnerships.

“I am delighted that Tidewater Community College and Opportunity Inc. have joined forces to promote expedited pathways and credit for prior learning and experience to the transitioning service members and other job seekers served by our workforce system,” said Gov. McAuliffe.

“For the past few years, my administration has been working with the General Assembly on successful legislation to award community college credits for military education and experience, for industry certifications and licenses, and, this year, for apprenticeship credentials. Working adults should get every college credit they deserve for the learning and skills they bring to their community college experience, and I’m proud to see Hampton Roads leading this national effort.”

Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore said, “By reducing the time and cost for adults to earn a community college degree or certificate, the partners in this project are boosting regional education attainment rates and economic development.”

Funded by the Educational Credit Management Corporation, this grant will use prior learning assessment, or experiential learning, to facilitate attainment of postsecondary credits for prior learning, training and education for military students, as well as other adult populations.

Prior learning assessment activities will focus on programs of study leading to priority industry sectors for regional economic development, including automotive and diesel technology, construction, industrial technology, information technology, manufacturing, and maritime and logistics.

These identified industries and related occupations are expected to grow at rates faster than the regional average, creating high-demand for workers and above-average wages.

“Further education is critical for transitioning service members in our Hampton Roads community,” said TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani. “We look forward to working with Opportunity Inc. on this project, which is another example of how TCC is fulfilling its mission to prepare the region’s 21st century workforce.”

“This partnership with TCC supports our commitment to transitioning veterans into the civilian workforce, and provides an opportunity to develop and leverage the talent unique to Hampton Roads,” said Shawn Avery, CEO of Opportunity Inc., the region’s Workforce Development Board. “Our partnerships with the education and business communities create the synergy critical to ensuring a highly skilled workforce equipped to meet the needs of high-demand careers.”