New Executive Director Starts Work at VA Ready
Natalie Foster seeks to lead organization, Virginia workers to success in 2022 and beyond
Jan 18, 2022, 10:45 ET
ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready), a 501(c)(3) public-private partnership dedicated to reskilling Virginians for in-demand careers, started off the new year by welcoming Natalie Foster as its new Executive Director.
Prior to joining VA Ready, Foster worked as Executive Director and Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships for MENTOR Virginia, which promotes and provides assistance to various mentorship programs around the state. She has a proven success record in business development, fund development, training and strategic partnerships with corporate partners, community colleges, program partners, foundations, donors and board members throughout Virginia. Her background in education and human resources also lends a unique perspective to helping VA Ready build stronger relationships with current and future partners and Scholars.
"The team at VA Ready has been fantastic," Foster said. "Not only has their welcome been warm, but it's allowed me to get right to work on behalf of the workers and businesses of Virginia, both of whom continue to reel amid the winter COVID-19 surge."
Foster was named Executive Director after the departure of VA Ready CEO Caren Merrick, who left that role to serve as Virginia's Secretary of Commerce and Trade in Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin's incoming administration beginning this month.
"Virginia's workers look to VA Ready to help them provide for themselves and their families," said Loretta Penn, Chairman of VA Ready. "Natalie's past experience and successes in business development and establishing strategic partnerships have more than prepared her to be an effective leader here, and I am sure that under her direction we will see our best year yet."
Since its founding, more than 3,300 Virginians have enrolled with VA Ready, learning vital new skills in healthcare, technology, manufacturing, or a skilled trade. The organization has also developed multiple partnerships with prominent Virginia businesses, the most recent being with the Virginia Trucking Association.
The Virginia Ready Initiative was founded by Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin and his wife, Suzanne, in June 2020 as a response to the economic and employment hardships experienced by Virginians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information about the VA Ready Initiative and how to apply for the program, visit www.vaready.org.
About the Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready)
VA Ready is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that launched in June 2020 with a mission to help thousands of Virginians access the short-term training needed to find jobs in today's most in-demand industries. With its Public-Private-Partnership design, VA Ready brings together the Virginia Community College System's (VCCS) 23 colleges, the Commonwealth's FastForward program, and more than 20 business partners who employ millions of Virginians. VA Ready Scholars have access to 34 healthcare, technology and other skilled training programs; learn the skills needed to secure one of today's most in-demand positions; receive $1,000 upon credential completion; and are connected to VA Ready's business partners for employment opportunities. Learn more at www.vaready.org
SOURCE The Virginia Ready Initiative
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