The Winchester EDA partners with local workforce training organizations and other Economic Development Authorities to hold workforce development initiatives. The Workforce Initiative is a partnership of leaders in business and education throughout Winchester, Frederick County, Shenandoah County, Warren County and Clarke County, Virginia who collaborate to create the workforce of tomorrow. Under this initiative, several local events are hosted.
The Employer Expo is a yearly hiring fair in the spring during which local employers are able to showcase positions they are offering to local job seekers. What sets this job fair apart are the workshops that are also offered by local workforce training groups, such as resume writing and mock job interviews. Local resources are also gathered for this events by organizations like United Way, the Department of Social Services, Virginia Career Works, Virginia Employment Commission, Department of Labor, DARS, and LRCC.
Worlds of Work (WoW) is an event for nearly 3,000 local 8th graders to gain first-hand experience what various local businesses and industries that the region has to offer. More than 70 businesses participate every year in the following industries:
The hopes of this program is to nurture an idea of possibilities for the young students and encourage local future workforce retention.
The Widget Cup is a completion held at the Emil and Grace Shihadeh Innovation Center of Jon Handley High School. High schools from the surrounding area participate by sending teams of eight students that have demonstrated competencies in engineering, construction, welding, electricity, audio/visual equipment, and oral presentation. The participating students use these skills to solve a real-life business problem for a local employer. These challenges put an emphasis on skills learned through Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) courses.
Makers’ Month is a celebration of the regions manufacturing industries. Over 12,000 people in the region have chosen a career in manufacturing. This month is celebrated by students from the region visiting over 20 local manufacturers to learn about career opportunities. Businesses host Open Door Tours and manufacturing partners attend invitation-only events.
Where the Workforce Initiative was born, the B&E Summit sets the goals of the Workforce Initiative and its partners in building pathways from post-secondary and K-12 schools, allowing entry into the many local industries.
The Initiative is a collaborative, regional effort that seeks to build a skilled workforce to meet the current and future workforce needs of employers.