As the Director of National Marketing for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, nobody knows better than Rodney the importance of workforce issues when it comes to not only attracting new business and talent to Lee District, but retaining those that we already have.
Fairfax County has a highly educated workforce with more than 60% of our residents having at least a bachelor’s degree or higher. Our highly qualified labor pool attracts job creators from all over the country in highly technical industries such as cyber security, advanced analytics and information technology. However, our economy cannot reach its full potential based on these industries alone. Rodney is committed to creating a pipeline into the economy for trade workers, service industry employees, through apprenticeship models and other methodologies that don’t stem directly from the university system.
To do this, we need to focus on improving the K-12 educational programs for all our students, ensuring that they are prepared for the jobs of the future. Rodney is committed to working with the NOVA Community College, Technical Institutions, technology companies in our area, and our Lee District high schools to understand our current gaps in our K-12 curriculum.
He’ll also work with the private sector to identify internship opportunities for our local students to give them exposure to the emerging industries of tomorrow (artificial intelligence, augmented reality, 4-D printing and autonomous vehicles). This experience shadowing successful technologist in these specific areas will be particularly valuable to those that are statistically most likely to drop out of school – African American and Hispanic male students.
Finally, Rodney will pursue creative ways to provide up-skilling for the workers that may not have IT backgrounds but wish to learn new technology skills or additional software languages. He will advocate for NOVA Community College to set up a satellite campus along the Historic Richmond Highway Corridor to assist in training and providing more educational opportunities to the citizens of Lee District.