Pathways to the American Dream

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Pathways to the American Dream is a four-year H1-B project funded by the US Department of Labor to:

·   Build a pipeline of skilled workers to help businesses fill existing job openings and meet job needs for expansion.

·   Enable the region to capitalize on the development of more value-added industries.

The Pathways to the American Dream project serves 35 jurisdictions in Workforce Development Areas 1, 2, 3, and 17.


(1)  Create a regional workforce strategy for sector partnerships in the Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Information Technology industries.

(2)   Increase opportunities for un- and underemployed adults as well as incumbent workers to develop their skills and earn credentials in high-demand occupations.

(3)  Guide education and training partners in closing the gap between the skills needed by workers and the skills of the available workforce, expanding the affordability of workforce training and credentialing, and increasing the interest in technician, technologist, and trade-level positions to fill available and emerging jobs.

(4)  Guide education and training partners in developing a system that awards academic credit applicable to the student’s certificate or degree program requirements to students who demonstrate competency through a Prior Learning Assessment system.

(5)  Provide research and best-practices so Virginia legislators can adopt policies for creating, sustaining, and scaling sector partnerships to generate innovative programming that closes skill gaps and leads to employment in technical and professional level demand occupations.


 ·   1,100 people enrolled in education and training activities

·   935 (85%) complete training activities

·   825 (75%) complete training and receive credential

·   619 (75%) of total un- and under-employed (825) obtain employment

·   248 (90%) of total incumbent workers (275) advance into a new position

·   Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) system established through the Council of Adult and Experiential Learning and the Virginia Community College System (VCCS)

·   Learning Portal created by project staff, the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center, and the VCCS

·   White paper published depicting best practices


·      On the Individual and Family: Un/underemployed adults and incumbent workers will have opportunities to develop their skills, earn credentials, increase their earning potential, and prepare for and transition into middle- skilled employment in occupations with social mobility wages.

·      On Business and Industry: Employers will have access to skilled employees to remain competitive and grow.

·      On the Economy: Skilled workers will contribute to the economy and allow the region to capitalize on the development of more value-added industries.

Click here for a detailed list of occupational training programs supported by the Pathways to the American Dream project.

Pathways to the American Dream is an $7,500,000 project. $6,000,000 (75%) is provided through a Federal grant from the United States Department of Labor – Employment and Training Administration.  $1,500,000 (25%) is provided through other sources, including leveraged state and local funds.