The program is called Training Futures, and it’s a partnership between the nonprofit Northern Virginia Family Service and Northern Virginia Community College. Founded in 1996, more than 1,000 NoVa residents have completed the 25-week program, according to this fine story by Elizabeth Vandenburg in the Oakton Patch, and they also receive 17 credit hours from the community college, which is a solid start toward an associate’s degree.
Over 15 years, about 84 percent of participants have secured new jobs following the program, many coming in with only menial or fast-food skills, and Training Futures reports that participants reported average wage gains of $3 per hour over their previous job, a $6,000 annual earnings increase.
The partnership between NVFS and the community college has been touted as a good way to combine local resources to retrain workers, and Training Futures was cited as an example in a story in The New York Times. The Aspen Institute also released a three-year study of the program in October, and found that 94 percent of the participants graduated.
“It wasn’t just training you on your skills, but also training you to be a better person altogether and to look at life differently,” Jae Om, 27, of Herndon, told The Times. A single mother who had her son while in high school, she had been in and out of work in recent years, and got a job at the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce after interning there through Training Futures.