Initiated as a public-private partnership in 2015 through a grant made available by the Virginia Governor’s office and matching funds from the Virginia Asphalt Association, the Virginia Education Center for Asphalt Technology (VECAT) was launched. VECAT brought together subject matter experts from industry and VDOT along with educational expertise and facilities from Germanna Community College (GCC) to deliver credentialing classes and asphalt-related training.
Recently, VDOT and GCC renewed their agreement to continue VECAT, and so did GCC and VAAES (Virginia Asphalt Association Education Services, LLC). According to Dr. Janet Gullickson—President of GCC, “Germanna Community College, VAAES, and VDOT have worked together to take a concept to execution, continuously improving as we went along. It is rare to experience such collaboration in a three-way partnership such as this. Our students and the Commonwealth have truly benefited as a result.”
When asked, VDOT Chief Deputy Commissioner Rob Cary stated, “VDOT was very happy to partner with the Community College system to deliver high-quality training for the workers that deliver VDOT’s essential projects every day. The program’s success is a win for the taxpayers of the Commonwealth. Students are well-trained and have demonstrated proficiency, which ensures the taxpayers receive quality projects while also ensuring workers are prepared for the professional opportunities of today as well as those in the future.”
With both agreements in place, VECAT will live on for three or more years. New classes and approaches to instruction are being considered or already underway. As summarized by VAA Chairman David Horton, “Virginia Asphalt Association is pleased to be able to continue this great partnership with VDOT and GCC. The success of this program is above and beyond what any of us could have imagined just a few short years ago. The VECAT program is an unbelievable opportunity to continue to not only provide a high-quality education to members of our industry but also a means to continue to bring in new workers that are excited about the professional opportunities our industry provides.”
The VECAT partners look forward to the continued credentialing of individuals in Virginia’s paving industry as well as the opportunity to provide new training classes.