Virginia Infrastructure Academy Launched

It took less than one year for several Virginia highway trade associations and the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) to launch a new program in Virginia to train and certify individuals for the new infrastructure workforce. The short turnaround is a testament to the importance of this new endeavor.

The Virginia Infrastructure Academy (VIA) will focus on strengthening existing workforce development programs provided through VCCS and identifying future programs. These programs will be developed or enhanced to include credentialing programs required by employers to fill current and projected openings and to envision what positions may require credentials in the future.

During the ceremony at Camp Community College in Franklin, Virginia, on August 11, Virginia Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater shared some alarming statistics. Today, Virginia has 100,000 fewer people in the workforce compared to pre-pandemic levels. In the next nine years, nearly 41% of the current infrastructure workforce can or will have retired. More than $400million in funds have been invested in workforce-related issues. The goal for Virginia will be to “train, place and retain” workers.

Along with Secretary Slater, VCCS Interim Chancellor Sharon Morrissey announced the launch and goals for VIA. Over the next five years, VIA intends to train and certify more than 30,000 Virginians in various infrastructure-related trades, such as heavy equipment operators, diesel mechanics, commercial drivers (CDL) and electricians. This will be the start of a long-term and much needed initiative. Graduates of VIA will be able to enter the workforce and immediately secure well-paying jobs.

Virginia Asphalt Association is proud to be a part of this effort. It is critical to serve members’ needs and to help ensure safe, reliable transportation for the Commonwealth in the future. More information will be available in the fall issue of Virginia Asphalt magazine.