The New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Development Board (NR/MR WDB) and our partners, seek to improve access to educational programs, and to create learning environments that will enable our citizens to gain the skills and knowledge needed to be viable in today’s workplace so that they can live and thrive in Southwest Virginia, by reaching out to them “where they are” (literally and figuratively).
In November 2014, the NR/MR WDB received a $50,000 “Local Coordination Grant” from the Virginia Workforce Development Board, using funds provided by the Workforce Investment Act of 1998
and administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, for an “outreach” project. The intent of the project is to create Small Learning Communities utilizing four (4) Roving Computer Labs (RCLs) in small towns and communities throughout our rural region. Each RCL will be made up of five (5) laptop computers, a printer and a variety of ways to access the internet (e.g. wireless hotspot, DSL modem and preset wireless when available).
Each RCL will begin as a remote One-Stop resource room, offering “core” services (job search assistance, resume building, on-line job application assistance, “informal” digital literacy, etc). Once the Learning Community is established, then the programs offered can be flexible enough to meet the needs of those that participate (e.g. digital life skills & literacy, basic adult literacy, elements of work readiness, financial literacy, or other programs that may be desired by the local/regional businesses).
Four(4) lab sites are scheduled to open in March (more to be opened Spring & Summer 2015):
- Fairlawn: NRV Business Center (training room), the 2nd Monday of every month 3-4:30PM (in partnership with the NRV Dress for Success Program)
- Narrows: 211 Main Street, Suite 101, Monday through Friday 9AM to 4PM (in partnership with Goodwill Industries of the Valleys)
- Willis: St. Mark Lutheran Church date and time TBD (in partnership with Citizens Co-op and St. Mark Lutheran Church)
- Saltville: Town of Saltville Municipal Building, 2nd and 4th Wednesday 1-3PM and the 2nd and 4th Friday 10AM to noon (in partnership with the Marion VEC Office, the Disability Employment Initiative and the Town of Saltville)
Other uses of the RCLs will be:
- Training labs for small businesses (to use for their current staff).
- Pulling all RCLs together for “business” training session offered by local chamber or economic development (e.g. Social Media for Business, website development, etc).
- Use of RCL sites/equipment to Skype to a Case Manager at a remote site.
- Enable Adult Education providers to use computers in out-lying areas where they offer programs, but may not have access to computers.
If you know of a potential Roving Computer Lab site and/or are willing to partner to help staff a site (or if you just have questions about the project), please contact Marty Holliday at 540-633-6764 or firstname.lastname@example.org.