FastForward is your pipeline for skilled, qualified employees.

We know Virginia businesses struggle to hire top-flight talent—especially the skilled technicians and technologists who help drive our 21st-century economy. That’s why FastForward was created.

As a high-demand program, FastForward attracts people to enroll in workforce training programs aimed at earning industry-recognized certifications and licenses for a wide variety of in-demand careers.

FastForward Coaches at Virginia’s Community Colleges help potential students, and help businesses learn more about what our programs can do to help your company grow.

unfilled jobs/month

The research firm Burning Glass reports that up to 175,000 “middle skills” jobs sit vacant in Virginia for nearly a month before being filled, representing more than 36 million hours of lost business productivity.1

require credentials

According to the National Skills Coalition, almost half of the job openings in Virginia require some education beyond high school, but not necessarily a traditional college degree.2


The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) reports businesses spend, on average, $4,129 to hire a new employee. Industry-recognized credentials can help streamline the hiring process.3

experience trouble hiring

A 2015 report from Accenture, Burning Glass, and Harvard Business School revealed more than two-thirds of American employers had trouble attracting and retaining technically skilled workers to the point where their company performance suffered.4

completion rate

FastForward not only saves you the cost of on-the-job training, we also have expert faculty and support staff who enable our students to succeed. More than 90% of our students complete their training and are ready to begin successful careers in your business.

An employer’s perspective: Why I hire credentialed workers

Mike Watson knows what he’s talking about when it comes to hands-on technical skills.

A 1983 graduate of the industrial instrumentation and control program at New River Community College, Watson has long served the needs of industrial clients. Now, he operates a pair of laboratories in Virginia and North Carolina that calibrate and repair precision mechanical and electrical equipment for firms worldwide.

“CATLab technicians don’t necessarily need traditional degrees, but they must have skills and knowledge,” says Watson.

And Watson is convinced that job applicants with industry-recognized certifications are valuable to employers. “The more prepared a worker is, the less training the employee needs and the sooner my company starts making money. That’s where industry credentials come in; they show an employee can be productive much sooner than someone without certification.”

Watson says all of his technicians have either an associate’s degree or an industry-recognized professional credential.

“And employers need to remember they can talk with Virginia’s community colleges about training workers to meet their particular skill requirements,” adds Watson. “Even small- to medium-sized employers can have an impact on training programs. If their local community college doesn’t have a program, chances are it might be available in another part of the state.”

For Watson, hiring workers is the biggest expense most companies face. “It only makes sense to invest in workers with demonstrated, credentialed skills.”

Mike Watson in lab
Mike Watson’s CATLab facilities in Virginia and North Carolina serve industrial clients worldwide, meeting rigorous technical standards and tight deadlines to repair and calibrate a wide variety of precision test and measuring equipment.

Who grants the workforce credential?

Students are eligible to sit for their workforce credential certification exam at the end of their coursework. Credential certifications are either awarded through state-licensing agencies or through a third-party industry partner, like CompTIA or the American Welding Society.

woman practices CPR on dummy

I’m ready to talk to a credential coach and find skilled employees.
Use the contact form above, or the Contact Us page, to reach out today.