VAA Virginia Asphalt Fall/Winter 2022

VAASPHALT.ORG 31 VIRGINIA INFRASTRUCTURE ACADEMY FROM CONCEPT TO REALITY “It has literally changed my life and my children’s lives,” Quinoes told the audience of the VIA launch. “I’m like a different person with a different outlook on life.” Quinoes remained enrolled in the program and is now employed in her region’s maritime ship repair industry, and shows promise as a skilled carpenter. She is one of many benefiting from the infrastructure funding bill recently passed by Congress to help repair highways and bridges as well as install utility, port and airport updates. “I’m a single mother, and working in the road building industry has given me a chance to provide a better life for me and my daughter,” seconded Barb McGowan, student at Germanna Community College in the asphalt plant technician program (See “VECAT Continues to Evolve” on page 32). Marvin Robertson was also present at the launch, and spoke to his training as a heavy equipment operator at Paul D. Camp Community College. “I earned several certifications, and now I have the confidence to tell employers I can do the work they need to be done,” Robertson said. “People should come in and take advantage of this. The instructors have your back, and they teach you the right way to do things.” The VIA also highlighted the opportunity for rising high school graduates as well as out-of-work adults to engage in the program. Dylan Rose learned about power line worker training while on a school trip to Southside Virginia Community College. “I’m glad I did the program,” said Rose. “I know now that you can do anything you set your mind to. My community college set me up to get a job that I love. It’s the best decision I ever made.” Matt Kellam, Workforce Development and Planning Coordinator at Dominion Energy, shared his opinion that jobs in the utility industry are particularly meaningful because of their impact on the welfare of Virginia’s communities, not only through their improvement of infrastructure but also for the opportunity they provide to pay livable wages. “We need to work in close collaboration to help our young people, our displaced workers, our veterans and everyone else to navigate their way to good careers.” (L to R) Ed Dalrymple Jr., Marvin Robertson, Jasmine Quinoes, Barb McGowan, Dylan Rose, Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater Matt Kellam