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New CIRED Workforce Education and Development program expands opportunities to engage international partners

Rick Rudd
Dr. Rick Rudd, director of the CIRED Workforce Development and Education (WED) program

The Center for International Research, Education, and Development recently launched the Workforce Development and Education (WED) program.

The WED program will seek opportunities to engage with partners and funders around the world to capitalize on our expertise in workforce education and workforce development.

Rick Rudd, professor and community viability chair in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership and Community Education, is serving as director of the new program. Rudd has domestic and international experience in workforce development, particularly in career and technical education, leadership development for teachers and administrators, and youth-focused workforce development programs. 

One key component of this new program is the collection of national and international partners who are joining the WED program to bring a wide set of skills and talents to problems and challenges facing workforce development globally. The current consortium includes faculty from Texas A&M, Iowa State, Penn State, Hawkeye Community College, Tennessee State University, the University of Florida, University of Juba (South Sudan) and Sokoine University (Tanzania). In addition, the consortium has international members with expertise in workforce development who are not affiliated with a university. The consortium will continue to grow and add expertise as appropriate. 

One recent opportunity was developed in response to a call from USAID to build technical and vocational education and training capacity in the country of Georgia. CIRED is a primary partner with Creating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), an international non-governmental agency as well as other local Georgia partners in the proposal submitted last month. Should this proposal be awarded by USAID, CIRED will receive nearly two million dollars to lead a grant award program for industry partners to increase capacity and effectiveness of Georgia TVET programs. In addition, Virginia Tech and the WED consortium partners will work with TVET providers in Georgia to improve current programs and implement new initiatives.