The Inaugural Joint Annual Meeting & Workforce Innovation Awards

Norfolk, VA — October 2, 2019 —The Hampton Roads Workforce Council in partnership with the Greater Peninsula Workforce Board today hosted the Inaugural Joint Annual Meeting and Workforce Innovation Awards, which highlighted workforce development programs, services, and accomplishments over the past year for both organizations.  The meeting took place at 11:30 a.m. at the Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterfront Hotel.


The Joint Annual Meeting highlighted the newly formed partnership with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council and the Greater Peninsula Workforce Board — presented during the 2018 meeting as the Southeastern Regional Workforce Collaborative.

“As we look to attract new businesses to the region, we need to present a unified workforce — capable of meeting 21 century employment demands,” said Mark Johnson, Board Chair, Hampton Roads Workforce Council.  “Through the Southeastern Regional Workforce Collaborative, we are better equipped to respond to the needs of employers and job seekers.”

“To keep pace with current trends and changing tides, we understand the importance of adjusting our mission — convening various public and private stakeholders so we can effectively address the many challenges of workforce development,” said John Olson, Board Chair, Greater Peninsula Workforce Board. “By combining our resources with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, we are able to provide a more customer-centric experience for our job seekers and employers.”

Within the last year, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council and Greater Peninsula Workforce Board served 14,903 customers combined through their respective Virginia Career Works locations; and 8,762 youth and young adults collectively through programs aimed at the emerging workforce.    As important, both organizations focused efforts on improving employment opportunities for transitioning service members — boasting more than 5,567 visits at the Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Center. 

During the meeting, Shawn Avery, President and CEO, Hampton Roads Workforce Council, announced a new partnership with Elizabeth River Crossing (ERC) — The Connecting Opportunities Program.  This innovative program will assist local underserved and under-skilled community members to higher-paying, more stable opportunities through skilled trade education. Thirty students per year will receive funding to complete a three to six-week program through Tidewater Community College’s Skilled Trades Academy, in which they will be provided with training and employment assistance for in-demand construction and maritime trades, such as Welding, Roofing, Framing, and Pipefitting.  Participants will represent the Workforce Council’s target job seekers, including the emerging workforce and transitioning service members; as well as members of the ALICE (Asset, Limited, Income Restrained, Employed) community. 

“Greater collaboration and strategic talent alignment have been at the center of our workforce development efforts this program year ,” said Shawn Avery, President and CEO, Hampton Roads Workforce Council.  “Through partnerships with the Greater Peninsula Workforce Board, as well as other business and key stakeholders in the region, such as ERC, we have made significant progress in our endeavors to create a more vibrant economy — attractive to new and existing businesses, and ripe for employment opportunities.

To support this program, Elizabeth River Crossings will contribute $67,000 per year for three years — totaling $201,000.

The meeting closed on a celebratory note with the 2019 Workforce Innovation Awards ceremony, which recognizes businesses, community organizations, educational institutions, and individuals for their longstanding commitment to workforce development and impact on the Hampton Roads economy.  This year’s honorees included:

  • Community Based Organization – VersAbility Resources
  • Education – New Horizons Regional Education Center
  • Business – Ferguson
  • Regional Innovator – Allfirst Industrial Contractors & Auxiliary Systems
  • Workforce Champion of the Year – Amanda L. Slosson, Regional Transition Assistance Program Coordinator, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic

About the Hampton Roads Workforce Council

Established by the Hampton Roads Workforce Development Board, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, formerly Opportunity Inc., oversees federally funded workforce development programs for South and Western Hampton Roads.  The Hampton Roads Workforce Council provides strategic workforce development solutions designed to assist businesses in accessing qualified workers and jobseekers in search of suitable job openings and training opportunities to bolster their earning potential.   

About the Greater Peninsula Workforce Board The Greater Peninsula Workforce Board is a group of community leaders appointed by local elected officials and tasked with planning and overseeing workforce development programs and services within the seven localities that comprise the Virginia Career Works – Greater Peninsula Region. Representing the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, and Williamsburg and the counties of Gloucester, James City, and York, we are one of 15 Boards established within the Commonwealth by the Governor’s Office.