(Washington, DC) –Lufkin served as a panelist during Verizon’s conference earlier last week, which focused on the technology-related jobs in the workforce. The panel discussed “Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Community Colleges: The Gateways to a Diverse Workforce.”
The event, Building a Diverse and Skilled Tech Workforce, was co-hosted by the Verizon Foundation and the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE). Featured were keynote speakers Rep. Alma Adams, founder of the Bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus and Rep. Raul Grijalva, member of the House Education and Labor Committee.
Event goals associated with the technology workforce are to raise awareness of the lack of diversity, shortage of skilled workers and other issues they face; to show how HBCUs, HSIs and community colleges are leading efforts to address these issues; and to show investments in training are well worth the effort when it comes to entrepreneurship.
According to Verizon, the U.S. Department of Labor recently predicted that America will have a shortfall of 2 million skilled workers by 2020. The conference was held to explore what America’s educators, corporate leaders, elected officials and others are doing today to ensure that we have a skilled workforce of tomorrow that reflects the diversity in our communities.
“One reason that Paul D. Camp Community College is in a good position to help address the lack of diversity in the technology workforce is because serving a diverse student population is part of our mission,” said Lufkin. “And as a partner of the NACCE, we also foster entrepreneurship.”
Each panelist gave an overview of what is being done at their institution to create a workforce that can sustain the future demand for skilled workers.
“We began by listening to our business and industry partners and developed short-term training programs where students earn industry recognized credentials, putting them to work in jobs that pay a living wage,” said Lufkin. “Some of these programs include fast track healthcare, CDL truck driver training and NCCER Industrial Maintenance.
“With support from our partners, we’ve been able to start a new Regional Warehouse and Distribution Training Facility near the college and with funding from the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, (formerly Opportunity Inc.), have implemented an out-of-school youth program that helps 16- to 24-year olds earn credentials for in-demand occupations.”