The Problem of Hiring Local Talent – and The Promise of Work Ready Communities

“We all wear our county hats, but as a region we’re more powerful.”

Linda Green, Director of Economic Development for the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, made this timely observation at a GO Virginia Region 3 meeting earlier this year.

Roger Scott, a member of the GO Virginia Region 3 Council, couldn’t agree more.

“It’s all positive,” Scott says of his Region 3 connections. He believes that his collaboration with GO Virginia is “lighting up” his county’s prospects for a brighter future.

Getting Amelia Certified as a Work Ready Community

“GO Virginia has helped me bring the ACT Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC) program to Amelia,” Scott says. Scott, president of Eclipse Enterprises, Inc. in Amelia, is also a member of the Amelia Board of Supervisors.

“My two hot button items on the board are economic development and education,” he says. “The Work Ready Community program plays into both of them.”

Scott noted that Amelia is currently pursuing certification.

“We expect to be certified in October,” he says. “When you undertake this workforce program, your county turns blue on the map — when you get certified, you turn gold. We want to be the next to turn gold!”

On Hiring Local Talent

As a businessman, Scott also understands the value of a certified workforce.

“When I have a position to fill, I always try to hire someone from Amelia,” he says. “That’s not always possible. That’s a dilemma and challenge for all of us.”

CWRC certifies high school students on four levels — from bronze to platinum —and offers prospective employers a standardized workforce measure.

Scott is pleased that GO Virginia connections have helped him bring the workforce program to his county.

“We’ve had two times the number of required businesses sign up, which is great,” Scott adds. “The schools’ cooperation is really good also.”

Scott understands that college is not the only career path for students. As a member of the Amelia-Nottoway Tech Centers Steering Committee, he recently helped introduce two new programs to that curriculum: advanced nursing and criminal justice.

Skin in the Game

To add emphasis to the CWRC educational component, Scott challenged the Amelia Superintendent of Schools to take the certification test with him and publish the results in the local newspaper.

“The superintendent beat me by two points,” Scott adds with a smile.