(Charlottesville, Va.)–Charles Ridgeway “Ridge” Schuyler III, community leader and founding director of the Charlottesville Works Initiative, recently joined Piedmont Virginia Community College as the dean of community self-sufficiency programs.

A new position at PVCC, the dean of self-sufficiency programs is responsible for creating new programs focused on self-sufficiency for low-skilled and low-income individuals in the college’s service region and serving as the program coordinator of PVCC’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training (E&T) Program, a federal job training program offered through the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.

With more than 25 years of experience in economic development and government relations, Schuyler is well-known throughout the Charlottesville region for his work in matching low-income individuals with job opportunities. In 2013, Schuyler, along with Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce President Timothy Hulbert, founded the Charlottesville Works Initiative, which helps low-income families secure jobs by creating and identifying jobs within their reach and providing support and access to services that will help individuals excel in these positions.

Schuyler also founded and directed The Orange Dot Project, an innovative study that exposed the importance of creating sustainable sources of jobs for low-income residents after research revealed that 29 percent of Charlottesville families did not earn enough income to be self-sufficient.

“We’re thrilled with the experience that Ridge brings to this new position,” said PVCC President Frank

Friedman. “Workforce preparation is extremely important to our community, and Ridge is the perfect person to
lead the college in developing new methods of reaching potential job seekers and connecting them with the resources they need to succeed. Combining the outreach and supportive services that Ridge has specialized in, with the training done at PVCC Workforce Services under Valerie Palamountain, I think we have a tremendous team to make a huge difference in our community.” 

In his new position at PVCC, Schuyler will be working with businesses, community leaders, local organizations and other providers to identify local jobs that can be filled by low-skilled adults and to align training and comprehensive support services that lead to self-sufficiency for these individuals.

“At the end of the day, it’s about getting quality jobs for people who are being left behind in our economy,” said Schuyler. “As a community, we need to do whatever we can to help these individuals unleash their potential.”

The Charlottesville Works Initiative, formerly housed at the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, will also be moving to PVCC. According to Schuyler, transitioning the Charlottesville Works Initiative to PVCC was a natural fit.

“In my work at the Charlottesville Works Initiative, I found that everyone had at least some experience with PVCC, whether it was workforce readiness training or technical training,” said Schuyler. “PVCC was always the common touch point. It occurred to me that nesting the Charlottesville Works Initiative at PVCC would make it easier to connect with job seekers while continuing the important relationship with employers that began at the Chamber. It’s the next logical phase for the program.”

Schuyler says that his ultimate goal is to build an expansive network for job seekers that includes access to service providers that can help job seekers be successful by providing resources such as transportation and child care to those who need it, as well as connect job seekers to the employers who are looking for skilled workers—workers who will be trained at PVCC.

“Aligning the Charlottesville Works Initiative with PVCC allows us to expand the scope and scale of the program,” Schuyler said. “My work will only differ in size, not approach. We’ll be able to reach more job seekers and provide the training and resources they need to get, and keep, their jobs.”

To learn more about PVCC’s self-sufficiency and workforce training programs, contact Schuyler at rschuyler@pvcc.edu, or by calling 434.961.5490.