RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced a ground-breaking new initiative created to train Virginia workers for jobs in the state’s film industry. The Film Industry Training (FIT) is a pilot program created by the Virginia Film Office and the Community College Workforce Alliance designed to prepare workers for film, television and commercial projects in Virginia. Numerous projects have been filmed in Virginia recently: the AMC spy series TURN; Ithaca, produced by Tom Hanks and directed by Meg Ryan; Big Stone Gap from Virginia author Adriana Trigiani featuring Patrick Wilson; and David Baldacci’s Wish You Well; Point of Honor, an ABC television pilot created for Amazon Prime's streaming video platform; Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln; Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks; and Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy, both for the National Geographic Channel.
“My recent Executive Order 23 is an initiative dedicated to equipping Virginia workers with the skills, training and education our workforce will need to sustain the New Virginia Economy,” Governor McAuliffe said. “The success of the Virginia Film Office in efficiently utilizing our comparatively modest film incentive program has created a significant demand for workers. This program will help to fill that demand. I commend this ground-breaking initiative as an exceptional example of the kinds of programs Virginia will need to continue to be the best."
“I am proud to be a part of the Governor’s New Virginia Economy Workforce Initiative, which is designed to increase postsecondary education and workforce credentials, secure employment for veterans, align education with the needs of business and diversify the economy,” added Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade and Chief Workforce Development Advisor Maurice Jones. “The FIT Program is a pioneering new initiative led by the Community College Workforce Alliance and the Virginia Film Office to help the Commonwealth create a world-class workforce and keep Virginia competitive.”
Virginia Film Office Director Andy Edmunds stated, “This industry creates high-wage jobs, and a positive economic impact in almost all sectors of our economy. The demand for content worldwide is on the rise and these jobs are essentially “content manufacturing jobs”. Virginia already possesses natural advantages in terms of providing a perfect palette of locations for filmmakers. If we seize the opportunity now with a competitive incentive program combined with a camera-ready workforce, Virginia can become a major destination of choice for this highly sought after industry.”
Louis (Mac) McGinty, Vice President of the Community College Workforce Alliance, stated “Twenty years of providing workforce services for Virginia’s Community Colleges has shown me that the ongoing training of our workforce is a critical element to bringing business and a positive return on investment. We welcome the opportunity to work with this important Virginia industry.
The Film Industry Training course will be taught by Gary Romolo Fiorelli, an accomplished Assistant Director for film and television projects which include the television series Sons of Anarchy and ABC’s current drama Mistresses. His film credits include Pirates of the Caribbean, Blades of Glory and the Virginia-based Lifetime movie Unanswered Prayers. He is currently in Virginia working on the pilot for Point of Honor, a television series produced by ABC for Amazon. In addition to working in film and television, Fiorelli has created the Production Assistant Training seminar, a course to provide training for people seeking entry level positions within the film industry.
The two-day seminar will be held October 4 and 5 at the Workforce Development and Conference Center, 1651 Parham Road, Richmond (on the Parham campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.) The cost is $125, with discounts for students, veterans and members of the Virginia Production Alliance. For more information, visit the Community College Workforce Alliance website, www.ccwatraining.org/film.
In 2012, the economic impact of the film and television industry in Virginia totaled $328.4 million and provided 3,061 jobs with $50.5 million in tax revenue.