City Name and Name of Workforce Area:
Hampton Roads, VA - Hampton Roads Workforce Development Board
Shawn M. Avery, President & CEO
Opportunity Inc. of Hampton Roads
500 E. Plume Street, Suite 700
Norfolk, Virginia 23510
Alan Krasnoff (Chesapeake); Raystine Johnson-Ashburn (Franklin); Rex Alphin (Isle of Wight); Paul D. Fraim (Norfolk); Kenneth Wright (Portsmouth); Dallas O. Jones (Southampton County); Linda Johnson (Suffolk); William D. Sessoms (Virginia Beach)
Opportunity Inc. serves as the regional leader of workforce development, ensuring the strategic alignment of efforts that facilitate meaningful employment and economic growth in Hampton Roads, while excelling at the delivery of business, workforce and youth funded services.
Opportunity Inc. employs a workforce development strategy focused on four major high-demand sectors in the region: Healthcare, Professional & Business Services/IT, Manufacturing, and Maritime Trade. These sectors currently contribute to one-third of total regional employment and are projected to account for 42% of employment growth over the next three years.
Opportunity Inc. maintains work groups comprised of area employers for each sector. These groups help inform the organization’s programs and guide its activities. Examples of initiatives include:
- An annual healthcare job fair that has grown steadily and attracted over 660 job seekers at the last event held in July 2015.
- Development of a mechatronics certificate program at one of the region’s community colleges and a dual enrollment program in mechatronics with an area school district.
- Sector-focused research reports to forecast occupational demand and refine targeted sectors.
To the extent possible, Opportunity Inc. has also focused its $2 million-plus in federal workforce training activities toward these targeted sectors. In the year ended June 30 2015, some 84% of non-entrepreneurship training occurred in occupations related to Healthcare, Professional & Business Services/IT, Manufacturing, and Maritime Trade.
Opportunity Inc. founded and operates the Youth Career Center of Hampton Roads, which provides career exploration, job preparation, and financial literacy education to some 9,500 youth ages 14-24 annually. While the Center has two locations – in the Cities of Virginia Beach and Franklin, Virginia – it also brings programming directly to youth at their school.
Several years ago Opportunity Inc. re-focused its in-school and out-of-school federal youth programs toward preparation for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) occupations. Over 300 young people are served annually through 13 programs across Opportunity Inc.’s service region.
More on the Youth Career Center and WIOA Youth Programs can be found at: http://myyouthcareercenter.org.
Opportunity Inc. provides workforce services to more than 900 veterans each year. One program designed to meet the unique needs of veterans is the After TAP Program, a monthly workshop for veterans who recently transitioned from the military to civilian life. This program was designed to supplement the Navy’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP). Participants learn about workforce services available to veterans and spouses. Workshops also feature a panel of employers, Veterans Assistance representatives and other resources for service members. The panel offers insight into what the employers are looking for in regard to employment skills, work habits, résumés, interview performance, etc.
Other – Entrepreneurship
Opportunity Inc.is one of three Virginia workforce areas partnering in an $8 million entrepreneurship initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovative Fund. “LAUNCH Hampton Roads” includes an intensive one-week core training course at Old Dominion’s Business Gateway or The College of William and Mary’s Mason School of Business. Training focus is on: accounting, business planning, finance and credit, and marketing and sales. After completing the core training, clients participate in networking events, small business counseling and mentoring, and seminars — all free of charge. Since inception, 53 new businesses have been created with 21 of 23 (91%) of businesses started in the last year still in operation.