Graduates from workforce center in Hybla Valley secure jobs with Inova


Several Workforce Innovation Skills Hub (WISH) employer and community partners are featured on a wall at the WISH.

Six months after the grand opening of the Workforce Innovation Skills Hub (WISH) at the Hybla Valley Community Center, several local participants in a training program conducted with Inova Health System have secured jobs with the nonprofit healthcare provider.

Trained and hired as patient access associates, the new Inova employees are responsible for communicating with patients about insurance and financial matters. With additional training and hands-on experience gained across multiple departments at local Inova hospitals, the new employees have the opportunity to advance up the career ladder. They also can take advantage of Inova’s tuition assistance and education loan repayment programs to help them gain additional career training.

Twenty-two community members participated in the training program, which kicked off at the WISH in January. Classes were held on a weekly basis in the evenings and included meals for participants and their families. As part of their education, trainees received a combination of professional development proprietary to the workforce center and job-specific training from Inova, according to Matt Renninger, chief of staff for Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk. 

More than half the trainees who started the program were offered jobs, and several were hired as new Inova team members, said Deron Campbell, director of community health programs at Inova.

The training program at the WISH was Inova’s first joint career development program, said Campbell, who described the partnership as “amazing.” Inova was approached by Lusk early in the planning for the workforce development center to inquire about potential collaboration, Campbell said.

“Hiring new team members from a community-based training model is a big deal,” said Campbell. “Inova is incredibly grateful for WISH and their partnership.”

The pilot training program between WISH and Inova will be replicated in other communities around the region, said Campbell, and Inova plans to offer two additional training sessions at the Hybla Valley workforce center this year.

Besides preparing community members for healthcare-related careers, the WISH recently provided eight weeks of training for people interested in carpentry. Around a dozen enrollees in a pre-apprenticeship program, including two women, graduated and became eligible to participate in a formal apprenticeship program with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America — another employer partner of WISH.

Community members participated in an 8-week carpentry course with EAS Carpenters LU 197 at the WISH in early 2023. (Credit: Office of Supv. Rodney Lusk)

Group classes aren’t the only model the WISH uses for job training. Local residents can meet individually with workforce specialists and get lined up for positions with the center’s employment partners.

Participants in WISH programs are eligible to receive stipends to cover food and transportation through wraparound services and philanthropic support, according to Renninger.

From May 10-11, another WISH partner, Amazon Web Services, will join Sumitomo Electric Lightwave in holding a free, two-day fiber optic fusion splicing certificate course. At the conclusion of the training, participants will have an opportunity to meet employers in the fiber business interested in recruiting individuals for fusion splicing jobs.

The WISH is a partnership between Fairfax County and its Department of Family Services and Neighborhood and Community Services, as well as Melwood. The workforce center is located at 7950 Audubon Avenue in Alexandria.

1 1
I'm interested (1)
I disagree with this
This is unverified


Good News!  Thanks to Supervisor Lusk and Matt Renninger for coming up with the idea for a WISH center and implementing it to bring training and job opportunities to the Richmond Highway corridor. 

I disagree with this
This is unverified