Board of Supervisors - Hunter Mill District

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Walter L. Alcorn
Hunter Mill District Supervisor

Sept. 12, 2023 Request For Information on WISH Center Program

Mr. Chairman, beginning with the conceptual board matter I co-sponsored with Supervisor Lusk on February 11, 2020, the Workforce, Innovation, Skills Hub (aka the WISH Center) in the Franconia District has gone from initial concept to social startup to now a successful connector of community members seeking critical job skills with employers seeking skilled workers.  More than 50 individuals are already employed in higher paying jobs as a direct result of the WISH Center, and several dozen more are in the training pipeline.  The WISH Center is one of the more visible outcomes of the OneFairfax Policy and nearly all of the individuals trained are from traditionally marginalized communities.  It also now has more than 2 dozen private sector partners including Amazon Web Services, Dominion Energy, INOVA, and several trade labor organizations based in the DC Metro region. 
As the WISH Center thrives and provides critical job training services in the Route 1 corridor, it is not lost on me and probably other Board members that it is also a very localized service for the community it has targeted to serve.  As I have heard from private sector and nonprofit leaders in the Hunter Mill District, the WISH Center is a model worthy of replication in other parts of Fairfax County where there is a critical mass of community members in need of, and interested in, acquiring additional skills provided by such a Center.  What would be most helpful to those of us interested in establishing similar services in their parts of the County is a staff review and evaluation of the process undertaken to develop the WISH Center and recommendations for how the process for creating this or similar novel public-private partnerships could be optimized going forward.  So without objection I would ask that staff evaluate the processes used to create the WISH Center and report back to the Board by the end of the year on what has worked well and what might work better the next time for developing such a job training facility. 

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