Collaborative program training students in needed skills brings state award to Laurel Ridge Workforce Solutions and community partners

For Immediate Release:
November 19, 2021

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

collaborative program training students

Laurel Ridge Workforce Solutions, along with Virginia Career Works and Outlier Realty Capital, recently received a 2021 Chancellor’s Award for Workforce Development during the Hire Education Conference. The partners were awarded the Outstanding Business Partnership distinction for a novel initiative that provided a six-week building maintenance technician training program to six disadvantaged students ages 18-24.

The program, which was held last summer, provided the students with classes, internships – including one at the college – a community service project, job interviews and even a graduation ceremony.

It grew out of a workforce gap that has arisen in the community – Outlier was in great need of building maintenance technicians for its apartments in Winchester and reached out to Virginia Career Works for help. VCW then turned to Workforce Solutions.

“We were able to hire a very talented instructor and develop a curriculum that included facility maintenance and OSHA classes,” Laurel Ridge Workforce Solutions corporate training sales manager Larry Baker said. “In addition to seven day-long classes, students interned at various locations applying what they’d learned and getting their hands dirty over 18 days.”

Classes were held at a Winchester leasing office, and the students interned at Laurel Ridge, Common Living, Winchester House Apartments and Our Health Inc.

“[Our intern] had a willingness to want to learn,” Dan Rose, director of operations for Our Health, said of his organization’s intern. “She was a self-starter. I was just beyond impressed with her.”

Since the graduation in July, two of the six graduates are working as building maintenance technicians, one is working at a distribution center, one is employed with a community organization, and the remaining two are attending college, including one who is enrolled in Workforce Solutions’ electrical apprenticeship program.

“This program gave these youth the confidence to pursue a meaningful occupation and feel part of the community,” Bonnie Zampino, Virginia Career Works Winchester Center Workforce Services director, says in a spotlight video shown during the virtual conference. “All of these students succeeded in this program, and this award is because of them.”

Baker added, “This is an innovative community collaboration that could become a model moving forward in other skilled areas to help individuals who have limited educational funds start a fulfilling career path while also helping employers who are in great need of a skilled workforce.”

Learn more about Laurel Ridge Workforce Solutions at, or by calling 540-868-7021.


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College (Laurel Ridge) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College. Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.