Workforce Partners and Programs

August 3, 2022

The US JOLTS report (Jobs Opening and Labor Turnover Survey) released yesterday cited 10.7 million job openings nationally, a nine month low.  However, that still translates to nearly 2 openings for every person looking for employment. (5.91 million in June). The labor market remains tight, and if you own a business in the Greenbrier Valley, this is not news.  At the Greenbrier Valley EDC, we support and connect businesses to employment and workforce programs that may help.   

Finding employees may be challenging, but high upfront costs in bringing on new employees and getting them up to speed can be offset through a number of state and regional workforce programs that are designed to help.  And we’re here to connect you.  

WorkForce West Virginia offers training grants and other programs to provide education and training to ensure that workers have the skills they need to thrive. Whether an employer needs customized training, opportunities for workers to enhance specific skills, or programs to earn certificates or degrees, WorkForce West Virginia probably has a program to help. Some of these include: 

  • Incumbent Worker Training is a cost sharing program for employers with employee training needs both on and off site. 
  • On-the-Job Training is a hands-on training that the employer designs giving them an opportunity to train employees their way and reimburses a large share of the wages during their training period.  
  • Empowered Employment is a work experience program to aid those with barriers to employment in getting back into the workforce, improving employability skills, gaining references, and building a work history for their resume. This program pays 100% of employment costs to get these workers ready to come on board with your business full time.   

The Governor’s Guaranteed Work Force Program is a program of the WV Department of Economic Development that provides new or expanding companies training funds and technical assistance to support effective employee training strategies. Not limited to new employees, this program targets the business’s entire workforce, training, re-training, and upgrading skills across all levels.   

While apprenticeships aren’t new, they have proven to be effective pipelines of talent throughout the US – the approach that the WV’s Apprenticeship In Motion (AIM) program is taking to apply this solution throughout a variety of industries has been gaining momentum.  Providing a job, in conjunction with training and education results in a win-win for employers and employees.  Check out AIM’s David Lavender’s editorial of last summer that explains the breadth of opportunities in apprenticeships.

WV also boasts a robust Community and Technical College system that is attune to business needs and able to offer relevant workforce certifications and even customize programs for businesses.  Businesses benefit from relationships with these educators like our New River Community and Technical College.  NRCTC works closely with local employers to ensure curriculum and equipment is appropriate for industry needs.

For small and medium manufacturers, the WVU Industrial Extension, supports operational improvement and business growth by developing training and consulting services that provide educational opportunities, insights on ways to motivate productive workers, and customized manufacturing solutions.  

And that’s not all! 

Our region is also home to some innovative programs that are supporting reentry into the workforce for those in recovery, such as the Fruits of Labor’s Communities in Healing Program that helps small business development while providing a recovery to work ecosystem, using a holistic approach to both the employee and the community that supports them.   

High Rocks, a Pocahontas County nonprofit, is launching their WV Good Jobs Network which focuses on connecting WV’s young talent to opportunities within our state. From employee to employer support, the program takes a nontraditional approach to workforce.  And Generation WV is working across the state with innovative programs also focused on keeping our young talent within our borders.

The number of programs and organizations focused on workforce development in our state and region are plentiful. Each offers an approach that connect employers and employees with support throughout the process.  And while the challenges of finding, recruiting and maintaining employees nationwide are still real, we hope within these programs we can connect and support you as you address your workforce needs.