Career Pathways Initiative



Shenandoah Valley Region


In July 2008, Governor Tim Kane created a task force to oversee the development of a strategic plan, released in Dec 2008, to develop a formal Career Pathways System. This task force brought together representatives from a variety of agencies including the Virginia Department of Education, Virginia Community College System (VCCS), State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV), the Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI), and Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), among others. Building on this framework, Virginia’s Career Pathways system received a $300,000 Ford Foundation grant to create career pathways initiatives in three workforce regions—Southwest, Southside, and the Virginia Peninsula. With the U.S. Department of Labor Pathways out of Poverty grant, they added a fourth site – the Shenandoah Valley Region. The Shenandoah Valley covers 8 counties and houses 22 high schools, 4 technical centers, and 2 community colleges. One of those two colleges—Lord Fairfax—is involved in the Pathways out of Poverty grant. The major industries in the area include education, manufacturing, health care, and construction.


  • Creating partnerships in the Shenandoah Valley Region focusing on developing, implementing, and sustaining career pathways activities and formalizing these activities in the regional strategic plan.
  • Developing career pathways to help participants advance their education from high school to college and from noncredential to credentialed programs
  • Creating innovative and flexible instructional methods
  • Designing and implementing online resources to help support curriculum development and instruction.
  • Expanding the use of career coaching in One-Stop Career Centers and other locations that serve low-income populations.
  • Creating education and training programs specifically tailored to the needs of low skills, low wage adults that include the elements of career pathways, as defined by the state career pathways plan
  • More effectively link programs and agencies through shared databases


Health care, manufacturing, and energy


Virginia has successfully implemented “Middle Colleges” throughout the states. Middle Colleges are community college-based learning communities with intensive levels of advising and retention support to help low skilled, low-income adults complete their GED and Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) and provide an introduction to post-secondary certificate and degree programs. Middle Colleges have served more than 1,000 low skilled, low-income adults between the ages of 18 and 24. Virginia has also outstationed 130 career coaches in 180 high schools throughout the state. They plan to expand this model to provide adult career coaching to low-income adults.


  • Elizabeth Creamer, Director, Career Pathways, Virginia Community College System
  • Raymond Cousins, WIA Programs, Virginia Community College System
  • Randall Stamper, Director, Office of Adult Education, Virginia Department of Education (VDOE)
  • Faye Palmer, Manager, Workforce Development, Virginia Department of Social Services (DSS)
  • Charles Layman, President and CEO, Goodwill Industries
  • Linda Sheffield, Vice President, Adult Education Grants, Southside Virginia Community College
  • Brenda Byard, Director, Career Pathways and Associate Dean for Business and Technologies, Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC)
  • Doug Cumbia, Coordinator, Career Services, LFCC
  • Judy Batson, Associate Vice President, Office of Learning, LFCC
  • Jeanian Clark, Assistant Vice President, Workforce Development, Lord Fairfax Community College
  • Lyda Kiser, Grant Writer, Office of the President, LFCC registration says Lyda, you had Lisa
  • Sharon Johnson, Director, Regional Workforce Development and Shenandoah Valley Energy Partnership, Shenandoah Valley Workforce Investment Board
  • Chris Coutts, Vice President of Instruction, Lord Fairfax Community College


No URL provided.


Elizabeth Creamer
Phone: (804) 819-4691