CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Glenn Youngkin signed two bills into law on May 31 in Chester, both designed to eliminate red tape and make it easier for Virginians to get a job.

These bills create a centralized Department of Workforce Development and Advancement. Youngkin says currently, workforce development programs are divided across nearly a dozen state agencies.

Labor Secretary Bryan Slater says the change is long overdue.

“Right now, workforce development is spread across six cabinet secretariats, 12 plus agencies, and over 35 different portals, programs, departments, and subprograms,” Slater said.

Slater says that makes it difficult Virginians to access their services.

“They’re decentralized,” Slater explained. “They’re siloed. They operate differently and they measure results differently if at all.” 

Governor Younkin says the new department will prioritize ensuring all Virginians have access to the internships, apprenticeships, education and training they need for a successful career in Virginia.

“Virginians will see the momentum immediately because we will see the emphasis on workforce,” Governor Youngkin told WRIC. “The continued support for programs like Fast Forward and our community colleges and the great work between our community colleges, K-12 to build the next generation of workforce.”

In addition, Youngkin says the state is revolutionizing workforce development by eliminating degree requirements for nearly all state jobs.

“We want to give all of our agencies and departments the capability and flexibility to hire for that skill,” Youngkin explained. “That’s why I believe this opens up a much broader talent pool to meet that demand for jobs, not just in state government and across the commonwealth.” 

Youngkin says the process of consolidating will take a few months and should be complete by the winter.