Virginia’s Response to the Skilled Worker Shortage

Even though there were snow flurries in the air, the atmosphere was hot with anticipation in Southwest Virginia today. That’s because the civic and business leaders there are today launching a Dream It. Do It. campaign that will help alleviate the chronic manufacturing jobs shortage in that part of the state. Dream It. Do It. is a multi-regional careers and economic development campaign aimed at attracting young people to manufacturing careers and expanding their educational and training opportunities. If you click on the bolding above, it will take you directly to the program’s innovative website.

Dream It. Do It. is a homegrown product of The Manufacturing Institute and NAM. The catalyst for the program, Institute VP Phyllis Eisen, is in Southwest Virginia today along with Peggy Walton, director of workforce initiatives. They are helping to roll out the third Dream It. Do It, following closely on the heels of the Kansas City and Nebraska programs. The pilot, in Kansas City, was so successful that applications to the local technical college jumped by 35 percent as a result of the Dream It. Do It. initiative that was kicked off there in February 2005.

Hundreds of manufacturing jobs are currently available in the SW Virginia counties of Smyth and Washington, and they need to be filled with a workforce that is regionally trained,” said Bruce Kravitz, executive director of Dream It. Do It. SW Virginia and regional workforce program director for the Smyth-Washington Regional Workforce Consortium. “Filling those jobs with skilled individuals will have a big impact on the health of our economy and on economic development in the region,” Kravitz said, at today’s launch in Abingdon, VA.

These programs are just the start as other communities across the country, including in Ohio and the state of Washington, will announce similar Dream It. Do It. initiatives in the months ahead. For more information on the Southwest VA roll out, click here.