Nurses in the hall concentrated.

Addressing employment inequality

Tidewater Community College is helping people in underserved communities prepare for well-paid careers

The South Hampton Roads region of Virginia has an unemployment rate below the national average — 5.9% versus 6.9% as of November 2020 —and a majority of the unemployed residents are African American and Hispanic-Latino. These residents are additionally less likely to have resources for post-secondary education, and the coronavirus has made the situation worse.

Tidewater Community College (TCC), a community partner since 1968, is committed to addressing these inequities by providing job and skills-based training, tapping the resources of its Center for Workforce Solutions to help people from all backgrounds prepare for high-quality jobs. TCC recently launched a new program, Racial Equity Through Accessible Credentials and Training (REACT), which aims to remove educational and employment barriers to living-wage employment. The initiative includes targeted recruitment, comprehensive assessments, intensive counseling, training and work-based learning, and job-placement assistance.

Bank of America supports the program as part of its $1.25 billion five-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity. This commitment helps TCC to continue its mission of helping Black and Hispanic students find careers in high-demand, well-paid sectors such as healthcare, IT, logistics and transportation. In particular, the funding helps TCC’s Center for Workforce Solutions give 60 individuals facing racial and/or economic inequity the opportunity to take part in workforce training, providing a pathway to a living-wage job and a more equitable future.