History of the Network2Work@PVCC Program

In 1979, the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce created the Greater Charlottesville Area Development Corporation “to reduce unemployment, underemployment and eliminate poverty.”

In September 2011, the Greater Charlottesville Area Development Corporation issued the Orange Dot Report, which found that 29 percent of the families living in the city of Charlottesville did not earn enough to provide their basic needs and the costs associated with working—childcare and transportation. In addition to scoping the challenge, the Orange Dot Report articulated some potential solutions for addressing the challenge.

In May 2013, the Greater Charlottesville Area Development Corporation hired Ridge Schuyler, co-author of the Orange Dot Report, as Director of the Charlottesville Works Initiative to continue to develop and implement the ideas from the report.

In 2015, the Charlottesville Works Initiative released the Orange Dot Report 2.0, which found that 17 percent of the families of Charlottesville and Albemarle county (over 5,000 families) were not earning enough income to be self-sufficient. The Orange Dot Report 2.0 also included a comprehensive implementation plan to address this challenge.

In April 2016, the Charlottesville Works Initiative became a partnership between the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce and Piedmont Virginia Community College, housed in PVCC’s newly created Division of Community Self-Sufficiency Programs, which has expanded the capacity to refine and implement the plan to create more opportunities for families in our community to achieve self-sufficiency.

In the Fall of 2017, PVCC's Community Self-Sufficiency Programs launched the Network 2 Work tool, designed to bridge the needs of the job seeker with the services of local providers, and the support of the Job Seeker Network. This innovative software has allowed PVCC's Community Self-Sufficiency Programs to expand the number of students served to 448, a 97% increase over the past twelve months.

On October 3rd, 2018 the Orange Dot 3.0 was released, expanding its focus from city of Charlottesville & Albemarle, to also include the counties of Green, Louisa, Fluvanna, Buckingham & Nelson. The findings in this report discovered "12,024 families (19 percent) do not make enough money to afford the essentials of life- food, shelter, clothing and utilities- and the added costs associated with working- childcare and transportation." As a solution, Orange Dot 3.0 identifies 8 key ingredients needed to lift an individual out of poverty, they are: Jobs, Job Information, A Job Seeker Network, Job-Seeker Assessment, Ongoing support, Resource Providers, Coordination & Quality Control. 

On January 20, 2021, Network2Work @PVCC released the Orange Dot Report 4.0. The findings show that nearly one out of every five families in the region (17%) don't earn enough to meet their basic needs. Most of these are working families, but the labor of those workers is simply not valued. The report further notes that the struggle is not equally shared: 35% of black families in the region make less than $35,000/year, compared to 14% of white families. Network2Work @PVCC directly addresses this challenge by identifying struggling families through our Job Seeker Network, connecting them to quality jobs through our Employer Network, and supporting them through our Provider Network. 

On October 27, 2022, Network2Work @PVCC released the Orange Dot Report 5.0.  This new report shows that we have reduced the number of struggling families by 25% since the publication of the first Orange Dot Report in 2011. There are still too many families - - 9,413 -- who don't yet feel that progress, and we need to remain focused on them, but it's heartening to see that there has been significant improvement since 2011.