NEWPORT NEWS, Va., July 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Huntington Ingalls Industries announced it has signed on to be a business partner of the Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready), a new initiative to help unemployed Virginians across the commonwealth get back to work quickly. In response to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on unemployment, VA Ready, in partnership with businesses and Virginia’s community colleges, equips people who are out of work with the required skills for in-demand jobs in high-growth sectors.
“We are proud to support the VA Ready initiative and help develop the talents of Virginians looking for work in the manufacturing sector,” said Mike Petters, HII president and CEO. “Workforce development is at the core of our business at Huntington Ingalls Industries. For more than 100 years, we have been developing a skilled and diverse workforce to meet the challenges of shipbuilding and manufacturing. I strongly believe that retraining out-of-work Virginians will serve as an important catalyst in reviving our economy and our communities.”
“As the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we are seeing an urgent need to get Virginians back to work,” said Glenn A. Youngkin, co-founder and chairman of VA Ready. “Employer engagement is critical to retraining thousands of Virginians for in-demand jobs. I’m grateful to Huntington Ingalls Industries and the unique coalition that is partnering in this much-needed effort.”
More than 800,000 people in the commonwealth have filed for unemployment benefits since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Low-wage earners and minority communities have been hit the hardest. At the same time, demand is projected to grow for specialized jobs in the fields of technology, healthcare and manufacturing/skilled trades.
VA Ready, a newly formed public charity, rewards out-of-work Virginians who commit themselves to training for in-demand jobs. VA Ready Scholars earn a credential in one of many selected training programs through FastForward, a state-led short-term workforce credential program to train Virginians for top, in-demand jobs across the commonwealth. FastForward is offered through the Virginia Community College System’s (VCCS) 23 community colleges. Upon achieving their credential, “VA Ready Scholars” receive a $1,000 Credential Achievement Award and are offered opportunities to interview with VA Ready’s business partners.
“The goal of VA Ready is not just to give our scholars a credential, but a clear path to a high-quality job at one of Virginia’s best companies,” said Caren Merrick, CEO of VA Ready. “Likewise, companies will have access to talent they know have been through a credential program that reflects their needs, which will enable them to grow their businesses, remain competitive and stimulate our state’s economy. It is a win-win for everyone.”
As a VA Ready business partner, HII will be supporting the initiative in several ways, including:
- Financial support for Credential Achievement Awards and awareness efforts.
- Input on offerings and curricula to VA Ready’s Talent Task Force with VCCS to ensure training program success.
- Participating in the VA Ready Job Exchange and providing job interview opportunities to VA Ready Scholars.
For more information on VA Ready, including how the recently unemployed can apply, or how a business can become an employer partner, visit www.vaready.org.
About Huntington Ingalls Industries
Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of professional services to partners in government and industry. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. HII’s Technical Solutions division supports national security missions around the globe with unmanned systems, defense and federal solutions, nuclear and environmental services, and fleet sustainment. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs more than 42,000 people operating both domestically and internationally. For more information, visit:
About The Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready)
VA Ready is uniting stakeholders, including the commonwealth’s business community and the FastForward program of the Virginia Community College System to retrain out-of-work Virginians with high-demand skills and build career opportunities.