The Prince William Chamber of Commerce’s Education & Innovation Committee is looking for businesses and organizations to join them in a workforce development initiative in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, Virginia Department of Labor & Industry, and public school divisions of the Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.

The goal of the partnership is to connect the business community to the three school divisions for career and technical education, according to a chamber release.

CTE programs serve more than 550,000 students in grades 6-12. These programs are designed to prepare students for productive futures while meeting the commonwealth’s need for well-trained and industry-certified technical workers. While the schools provide students with ‘book-knowledge’ learning, the CTE departments rely on the business community for ‘applied-knowledge’ instruction.

The chamber connects member businesses with the students through Work-Based Learning (WBL) and the Youth Registered Apprenticeship Program (YPA).

In partnership with local businesses, industries and/or other organizations in the community, Work-Based Learning assists the students with ‘in-school’ instruction, including job shadowing, mentorship, service learning, internship, clinical experience, cooperative education, youth registered apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship.

YRA integrates school-based and work-based learning to help students gain employability and occupational skills while completing their high school education through an ‘out-of-school’ approach that gives part-time students apprenticeship opportunities.

“The Department of Labor and Industry is ready to show employers, educators, students and parents how to create and grow a network of the region’s future workforce,” department director Patricia Morrison said.

The chamber’s Education and Innovation Committee serves as a conduit for business leaders and education programs, said Debbie Jones, Prince William Chamber president and CEO.

“I am excited that the Prince William Chamber is playing an integral role in preparing the workforce of the future. Our whole region will win,” Jones said.

The Education & Innovation Committee is looking for businesses and organizations to join them in these initiatives.

“Strategic connections between education and businesses and organizations in our community help create effective partnerships that not only enhance educational experience but also help cultivate critical pool of talent that advances our industries and the economy at large,” said Zuzana Steen, a Micron representative and chair of the committee’s Innovation and Workforce Development arm.

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