Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today the public launch of the new work readiness modules offered through SkillsOnline at a meeting hosted by the Peninsula Council for Workforce Development. Working with subject matter experts, WHRO is using instructional and online course development expertise to create the first five of 21 work readiness courses identified by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service as those needed by employees for career entry and advancement. They include: (1) Applied Mathematics, (2) Reading for Information, (3) Locating Information, (4) Internet Use and Safety-Digital Citizenship, and (5) Understanding Health, Wellness and Safety. These courses will be available through SkillsOnline and other venues free of charge by spring of 2015. These modules are partially funded by grants from the Hampton Roads’ Community Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through the American Graduate program. Additional funding is being sought from foundations and other private sources to produce the remaining courses and collateral materials.
Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Workforce development is a key component for creating a new Virginia economy. The work readiness modules are an example of the public-private partnership that is increasing access for Virginians to workforce training, will help employers put more Virginians to work, and will provide no-cost resources for educators and local government training providers.”
WHRO intends to make these career readiness modules freely available to every Workforce Investment Board, social services agency, K-12 school, community college, and employer in the Commonwealth to use in an instructor-led blended learning environment. Additionally, course content will be distributed through eMediaVa(SM), which WHRO operates through a contract with the Virginia Department of Education and serves more than 145,000 Virginia teachers in public, private and home schools across the state.
“Talent development is critical for catalyzing economic growth in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “WHRO’s career readiness modules are an important tool for students of all ages to get access to the skills they need to succeed in careers of the 21st century.”
In partnership with four southeastern Virginia community colleges, including Thomas Nelson Community College, Paul D. Camp Community College, Eastern Shore Community College and Rappahannock Community College, the work readiness modules will be offered primarily through the new SkillsOnline portal created by WHRO. SkillsOnline is WHRO’s new professional development and workforce training portal that offers nearly 3,500 courses that are affordably priced in 19 different industry categories.
“WHRO Public Media is experienced in creating engaging online learning courses currently used by pre-K to grade 12 teachers and students across Virginia for free, funded by the Virginia Department of Education,” said Bert Schmidt, President and CEO of WHRO. “We are a non-profit organization owned by the 19 school divisions of southeastern Virginia and use our broadcast and production facilities to create engaging modules which capture and hold the attention of today’s online media savvy students.”