Huntington Ingalls Industries Helping Virginians Get Back to Work
U.S. shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries announced it has signed on to be a business partner of the Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready), a new initiative launched in response to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to help unemployed Virginians across the commonwealth get back to work quickly.
VA Ready, in partnership with businesses and Virginia’s community colleges, equips people who are out of work with the required skills for in-demand jobs in high-growth sectors.
HII, which runs the Newport News Shipyard in Newport News, Va., said it will support the initiative in several ways, including financial support for Credential Achievement Awards and awareness efforts, input on offerings and curricula to VA Ready’s Talent Task Force with VCCS to ensure training program success and participating in the VA Ready Job Exchange and providing job interview opportunities to VA Ready Scholars.
“We are proud to support the VA Ready initiative and help develop the talents of Virginians looking for work in the manufacturing sector,” said Mike Petters, HII president and CEO. “Workforce development is at the core of our business at Huntington Ingalls Industries. For more than 100 years, we have been developing a skilled and diverse workforce to meet the challenges of shipbuilding and manufacturing. I strongly believe that retraining out-of-work Virginians will serve as an important catalyst in reviving our economy and our communities.”
“As the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we are seeing an urgent need to get Virginians back to work,” said Glenn A. Youngkin, co-founder and chairman of VA Ready. “Employer engagement is critical to retraining thousands of Virginians for in-demand jobs. I’m grateful to Huntington Ingalls Industries and the unique coalition that is partnering in this much-needed effort.”
More than 800,000 people in the commonwealth have filed for unemployment benefits since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Low-wage earners and minority communities have been hit the hardest. At the same time, demand is projected to grow for specialized jobs in the fields of technology, healthcare and manufacturing/skilled trades.
VA Ready, a newly formed public charity, rewards out-of-work Virginians who commit themselves to training for in-demand jobs. VA Ready Scholars earn a credential in one of many selected training programs through FastForward, a state-led short-term workforce credential program to train Virginians for top, in-demand jobs across the commonwealth. FastForward is offered through the Virginia Community College System’s (VCCS) 23 community colleges. Upon achieving their credential, “VA Ready Scholars” receive a $1,000 Credential Achievement Award and are offered opportunities to interview with VA Ready’s business partners.
“The goal of VA Ready is not just to give our scholars a credential, but a clear path to a high-quality job at one of Virginia’s best companies,” said Caren Merrick, CEO of VA Ready. “Likewise, companies will have access to talent they know have been through a credential program that reflects their needs, which will enable them to grow their businesses, remain competitive and stimulate our state’s economy. It is a win-win for everyone.”