One of the first attributes a business leader looks for in a community is a well-trained and ready workforce. We must continue to support high standards and accountability in our schools while also looking for ways to expand access to higher education opportunities at our four-year and community colleges.
Not all good jobs require college. Strengthening our certificate training opportunities for high school students and transitioning veterans is key to getting these ready, able and willing citizens into the workforce and to diversify and grow our economy.
Chris Stolle has championed legislation that supports our young students, our transitioning veterans and their families, and career switchers. Chris continues to move the Commonwealth forward with innovative ideas. Here is some of Chris’s legislation to help develop a 21st century workforce:
· Directed the Board of Education to develop regulations that adjust the formula for calculating the high school accreditation by adding credit for students obtaining industry certifications, state licensure, or competency credentials.
· Military medics and corpsmen (MMAC) receive extensive health care training while on active duty. Once they transition to civilian life, their military health care experiences do not easily translate into comparable civilian certifications and licenses required for health care jobs, preventing many highly-trained veterans from gaining employment in the field. Chris introduced legislation that directed the Department of Veterans Services, in collaboration with the Department of Health Professions, to establish a pilot program allowing military medical personnel to use their training and experience obtained in the military under a licensed physician’s supervision. The legislation also provides grant money for the medics and corpsmen to help them get needed educational credits to obtain civilian certification. This pilot program allows military medics to smoothly transition to a medical career in the private sector benefitting them and the entire community. The MMAC Program kicked off in 2016 and the first medic was hired right here in Hampton Roads by a local hospital.
· Ensured that spouses and other dependents of an active duty service member and surviving spouses and dependent children now receive in-state tuition at Virginia public higher education institutions.
· Directed the Virginia Employment Commission, in cooperation with the Department of Veterans Services and the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, to establish the Veterans Skills Database, an internet-accessible database of veterans and their workforce skills, for marketing and promoting the workforce skills of veterans to potential employers. The database is free to both veterans and employers.
· Require public and private nonprofit Virginia Colleges and Universities to publish data on the proportion of graduates with employment at 18 months and five years after the date of graduation. The data shall include the major and degree program, percentage of employment in the Commonwealth, average salary, and average higher education-related debt of graduates.