Expanding Northern Virginia’s workforce and the continual pursuit of a stronger, inclusive regional work environment, are key components of the Chamber’s strategic plan and initiatives. We actively seek out opportunities to support our region’s employers and engage them with new and exciting workforce development options. We know that a stronger workforce ecosystem not only benefits employees but also employers and our region. Recently, the Chamber had the opportunity to present and speak at two events on the topic of workforce innovation.
The Chamber participated in the Fairfax County Economic Advisory Commission's (EAC) workgroup session focused on, “Work-Based Learning: Employer Challenges and Solutions,” held on March 23rd. The Commission is assembling a report with recommendations to the County Board of Supervisors. The Chamber’s Vice President of Workforce and Member Engagement, Jennifer Williamson, was invited to present information about the Chamber’s workforce initiatives, including the Greater Washington Apprentice Network, NOVA Workforce Network and the NOVA Workforce Index. The Greater Washington Apprentice Network (GWAN) was of particular interest to the Commission as it is designed to help employers create and expand work-based learning and apprentice programs. GWAN is demand-driven and employer-centric, providing access to peer-sharing of best practices, connections with education partners, candidate sourcing options, and even grant funding opportunities for employers to access as they create apprentice programs or pilot-programs within their companies.
On March 28th, Jennifer spoke as a panelist at an event for Fairfax County’s Inclusive Prosperity and Employment Subcommittee. This was a meeting of a cohort of county and workforce nonprofits. The agenda focused on employer perspectives on changes in the employment environment and work-based learning. Tom Strong of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions was the keynote; Jennifer participated in a panel of regional workforce experts including Mark Chernisky of the SkillSource Group and Michel Bozeth, Employer Services Coordinator for Loudoun County. The subcommittee includes nonprofit and county employment services program managers who are focused on adapting workforce programs and services to support inclusive prosperity.