Training Programs Connect Local Workforce to In-Demand Jobs

By September 14, 2020December 3rd, 2020Blog, Featured, Small Biz, Workforce Spotlight, coronavirus

Headshot of Melanie StoverMelanie Stover
Director of Corporate and Workforce Engagement
Northern Virginia Community College


The Commonwealth of Virginia continues to lead nationally-recognized workforce development initiatives. CNBC has ranked Virginia as the top state for business in large part due to the Commonwealth’s innovative workforce development strategies. As the largest higher education institution in the Commonwealth, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is honored to represent the deepest pool of talent in Virginia, serving more than 75,000 students every year.

Workforce Training Programs

NOVA offers a range of workforce training programs for thousands of residents every year. Two examples of these programs, FastForward and VA Ready, are new initiatives aimed at providing industry-recognized credential opportunities to Virginians.

FastForward Program

FastForward is a short-term workforce credential program to train Virginians for top, in-demand jobs across the Commonwealth. Each year, the program provides financial assistance to thousands of domicile Virginia residents by subsidizing the cost of select training programs leading to industry-recognized credentials.

At NOVA, we offer FastForward programs primarily focused in healthcare, including programs for billing and coding specialists, medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, and nurse aides. Our regional healthcare sector is projected to grow in both northern Virginia and Loudoun County. In Loudoun County, the healthcare sector is projected to grow 2.9% per year over the next ten years. The healthcare sector is also projected to be the fastest growing industry in northern Virginia and nationally over the next 10 years.

The Virginia Ready Initiative

Our communities continue to face historic unemployment rates and economic hardships created by COVID-19. In response to this current crisis, leading businesses established the Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready) to support out-of-work Virginians who seek training opportunities leading to jobs in high-growth sectors.

VA Ready has partnered with the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) to launch the VA Ready Scholar program to support unemployed individuals in FastForward programs. The VA Ready Scholar program provides participants with a $1,000 Credential Achievement Award and opportunities to interview at many of Virginia’s companies upon achievement of their industry certification. Beginning August 2020, anyone who is currently unemployed and eligible to enroll in a FastForward program is qualified to enroll in the VA Ready Scholar program. All of the FastForward programs at NOVA are part of the VA Ready Scholar program.

To learn more about these programs, please contact our NOVA Workforce team at or (703) 503-6300.