« Return to Newsletter

Featured Article: Hampton Roads Workforce Council Update

As the regional convener of workforce development, the Hampton Roads Workforce Council (HRWC) has now dedicated a full-time team to Talent Alignment – systematically identifying and addressing the shortfalls that exist between the regional demand for skilled positions and the existing talent base. 

With the aid of a substantial grant from GO Virginia, the HRWC has constructed a growing team of dedicated personnel to begin bridging these gaps, and our group will initially have a sharp focus on just one industry segment: the maritime industry.

Our Sr. Director of Talent Development, Whitney Lester, first hired longtime HRWC team member Jackie Rondeau to execute employer engagement, working with industry employers to discern a clear demand signal in maritime. We have also hired staff to perform business intelligence and create a real-time dashboard of the business need and just how we will close the gap. The HRWC will round out this team with the hire of a director to map the region’s training and education providers’ offerings directly to what the maritime businesses need today and will need in the coming years.

Many in this industry struggle to recruit and upskill their workforce.  We are now piloting a new business-led approach called Talent Pipeline Management (TPM).  We partner with maritime employers to:

  • Generate additional awareness and marketing within the industry
  • Establish optimal communication channels with community partners 
  • Create a tailored, targeted, talent pipeline for all in the industry

Jackie Rondeau and Whitney Lester will be reaching out soon to strengthen the relationships we have with VSRA members and hold information sessions to lay out precisely what we are going to do to serve the industry in talent development. We sincerely appreciate your attendance and participation in the first step toward our partnered resolution of a chronic business challenge.

To learn more, please attend one of two information sessions we are holding to explain our intended role and answer questions.

  • Tuesday, June 15th - 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
  • Tuesday, June 22nd - 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM


Both sessions will be held at the Virginia Ship Repair Association conference room at 101 W Main Street, Suite 5500, Norfolk, VA 23510. Please contact Jackie Rondeau at 757-951-8921 or via e-mail at jrondeau@vcwhamptonroads.org to RSVP.

As the Employer Engagement Manager for the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, Jackie Rondeau will be focusing on helping the maritime industry in our area solve its talent problem.  Prior to her current role, she was the Business Services Coordinator for the HRWC, working with all industries in the region.  She has been in workforce development in some form for all of her career, working with both businesses and diverse populations, the last 10 years focused on business.  She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of West Florida and completed graduate course work at Central Michigan University. 

Whitney Lester is the Senior Director of Talent Development for the Hampton Roads Workforce Council, where he is addressing our region-wide labor shortage and leading the efforts to align education and business needs while developing, attracting, and retaining talent within the Hampton Roads region. Prior to joining the Workforce Council last year, Whitney enjoyed 8 years at VersAbility Resources as their Director of Business Development, finding and creating jobs for people with disabilities of all kinds. He also spent 13 years with the Department of Labor in the nation’s capital. Whitney earned his B.A. from William & Mary many moons ago and his M.B.A. from the same institution last month.


« Return to Newsletter