Workforce Development

Virginia Beach is a highly desirable location for the highly skilled, and high-tech workforce.

Over fifty percent of the City of Virginia Beach's annual budget funds public education with the Virginia Beach City Public Schools, the key to establishing a continuous supply of a highly skilled emerging workforce.

A new knowledge-based economy is emerging in Virginia Beach, driven by ideas, services, and innovation. In order to compete with this fast-paced workplace, Virginia Beach understands it must continually build a skilled workforce through lifelong learning and worker training. These programs not only support a strong workforce but also serve to achieve additional economic development goals.

With strong public and private partnerships, including a strong partnership with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council​, and the regional workforce investment board, the continuously evolving Virginia Beach workforce is competitive on a global scale. From customized apprenticeship programs to professional development classes, various regional organizations are collaborating to ensure employers have the right workforce.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools Technical and Career Education students passed 12,442 industry-credential tests in the 2021-2022 ​​school year.

3,379 ​high school students obtained certification in the Workforce Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth program, 2021-2022 ​​school year

Source: Virginia Beach City Public Schools, 2023

NEW: Old Dominion University Institute of Data Science Opening

In late 2023, Old Dominion University (ODU) opened the Virginia Beach Institute of Data in Town Center’s Armada Hoffler Tower. The Institute will contain research labs, innovation space, and training areas simulating cybersecurity incidents. VBED worked closely with ODU to secure the Institute in the City, and its presence will assist the department with recruitment and retention of industry-related investment and employment opportunities.

The HIVE - Small Business Resource Center

The HIVE in Town Center is designed and developed to support an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Hampton Roads through collaboration with the City of Virginia Beach, academic institutions, other cities in Hampton Roads, Small Business Associations, and other entrepreneurial-related organizations. Partnerships and collaboration are the core of the center’s approach to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the City of Virginia Beach. The HIVE's immediate purpose will serve as a business incubator to develop business competitiveness, job creation, investment opportunities, infrastructural improvements, global inclusion, workforce development, and participation within the Hampton Roads community.

Innovative "Mechatronics" Training Workforce Program

In partnership with Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Tidewater Community College, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, and the business community, courses have been developed at Tidewater Community College to support skills training for the manufacturing sector. The initial curriculum will focus on computer numeric control operators but will expand to other manufacturing career paths in the future. Additionally, a dual enrollment agreement exists between Virginia Beach City Public Schools and Tidewater Community College that allows high school students to earn college credit for selected manufacturing courses.

As the regional workforce development board, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council helps create training programs for a variety of industries, serves as a “one-stop-shop” for people seeking employment, and guides employers through the process of finding and hiring properly skilled employees.

Tidewater Community College

Tidewater Community College with its four campuses, the largest is located in Virginia Beach and focused on providing the expert business-driven training that companies demand to operate efficiently and profitably. Its services include customized training courses for various industry certifications, as well as a range of credit and noncredit courses.

Workplace Readiness

Students Using Computers

Virginia’s Workplace Readiness Skills was launched in Virginia Beach and is on its way to rolling out through Virginia.

The program teaches high school students the critical skills they need for the workplace, whether they get a job right out of high school, or continue on to college or other advanced training.

Reading, writing, and arithmetic top the list, of course, but the curriculum also includes character-building skills that are fundamental to career success, such as listening, teamwork, work ethic, problem-solving, communication skills, and a positive attitude.

VBCPS student mastery of Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth continues to be among the leaders in the State with 3,379 students passing this credential in 2021-2022 (Source: VBCPS, 2023)

    Career and Technical Education (CTE)​​​​​

      Upon graduation, students who successfully complete courses in Career and Technical Education (CTE) are prepared to enter the workforce. CTE students can also earn college credit with TCC in Business, Accounting, Education, Engineering, Cybersecurity, CISCO Networking, Welding, and Hospitality. In the 2021-2022 school year, high school students passed 12,442 industry-credential tests through their Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses. Since the industry-credentialing program began in 2002, 139,875 industry-credential tests have been passed by Virginia Beach high school students.

      • VBCPS student mastery of Workplace Readiness Skills for the Commonwealth continues to be among the leaders in the State, with 3,379 students passing this credential in 2021-2022.
      • Of the students graduating in June of 2022, 1,975 seniors completed a two-year sequence of industry and career-focused courses.
      • VBCPS/CTE offered 100 different industry credential tests in 2021-2022 to students who earned 12,442 industry credentials last year, with an overall pass rate of 80.6%.
      • Members of the graduating Class of 2022 earned a total of 9,606 industry credentials prior to graduation. 2,654 members of the class earned two or more industry credentials

      Source: VBCPS, 2023

      Hampton Roads Workforce Council

      The Hampton Roads Workforce Council oversees federally funded workforce development programs, which assist both businesses and job seekers.

      GrowSmart Creates a Dual-Generation Workforce Support

      Virginia Beach GrowSmart’s​ vision is that “all children will be born healthy, enter kindergarten ready to learn, and read proficiently by third grade, establishing a strong foundation for success in school and in life.”

      Virginia Beach has taken an innovative approach to workforce development by elevating early childhood education and development into its economic development organization as a dual-generation workforce development strategy. Since 2011, the Department has received regional and national attention for its recognition that the creation of a skilled, educated future workforce begins at birth.​​​ We also acknowledge the important role our childcare industry plays in supporting our current workforce.

      GrowSmart provides a dual-generation approach to workforce development by first ensuring our youngest residents get the best possible start in life and supporting the quality of early care environments where they play, grow and learn. Second, we support our current workforce by ensuring we have an adequate supply of early care and learning programs to support our current workforce. Through an award-winning partnership with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), GrowSmart provides customized business training and mentorship to local small businesses in the childcare and early education industry. The program has impacted more than 3,400 families to date.​​

      In addition, GrowSmart helps to improve the quality of early care and education programs so families have multiple options for quality care which enables them to participate in post-secondary education and join the workforce. We connect our childcare centers to quality initiatives, including Virginia’s quality rating and improvement system for early care and education sites. To further support our early care centers in quality, GrowSmart offers LENA GROW professional development/coaching and supports and connects the early education workforce to scholarship opportunities, and professional development, and provides additional resources to support teachers and caregivers of young children. GrowSmart also focuses on family engagement opportunities and offers innovative programs to support families and caregivers with parent education programs, like LENA START classes. Parents receive high-quality resources, access to online resources, and a network of support through community events.

      Virginia Beach GrowSmart Foundation

      The Virginia Beach GrowSmart Foundation supports the expansion and innovation of our early education efforts by engaging influential business leaders in our community to serve as champions. Our Foundation members recognize the importance of early education as an economic imperative. ​ This 501-c3 organization engages the business community, and individuals and pursues grant funding to expand our efforts. Investing in our early care and education system is a wise investment in our future: strengthening business today while building the workforce of our future.