ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready), a 501(c)(3) public-private partnership dedicated to reskilling Virginians and helping them qualify for in-demand positions, welcomes Natalie Foster as its new Executive Director.
Foster is coming to VA Ready as the Executive Director of MENTOR Virginia, which promotes and provides assistance to various mentorship programs around the state. She was named Executive Director in 2021 after serving as the Director of Development and Strategic Partnerships since joining MENTOR Virginia in 2017. She has a proven success record in business development, fund development, training and strategic partnerships with corporate partners such as Capital One, EAB, Federal Reserve, LinkedIn, Genentech, and Dominion Energy, community colleges, program partners, and foundations throughout the Commonwealth. Foster is also a member of the Virginia Association of Fundraising Executives and previously served on their board, has a Master's degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Richmond, and has a background as an educator – bringing a unique perspective to Virginia Ready and helping the organization build stronger relationships with current and future partners.
"VA Ready is a phenomenal initiative with a wonderful mission," Foster said. "I am excited to join such a passionate and capable team that has helped thousands of Virginians find jobs with a future as well as helped businesses find talent in this historic labor shortage.
Foster's role as Executive Director will assume the day-to-day duties of VA Ready CEO Caren Merrick, a businesswoman who was recently named Virginia's Secretary of Commerce and Trade by Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin.
"The Virginia Ready Initiative has proven to be a much needed and innovative solution during these unprecedented times. I could not be prouder of the team and the vital work VA Ready has done, and will do, to help Virginia workers and businesses," said Loretta Penn, Chairman of the Board. "Natalie's business success record speaks for itself, and I am confident VA Ready will continue to thrive and scale under Natalie's leadership."
During Merrick's tenure as CEO over 3,300 Virginians reskilled with VA Ready to learn vital new skills in healthcare, technology, manufacturing, or a skilled trade. As the founding executive, she led the development of the initiative and the model as well as formed multiple partnerships with the Virginia Community College System and prominent Virginia businesses, with 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