Gov. Terry McAuliffe visited Tidewater Community College on Tuesday to announce a new $1 million program to assist small businesses in improving the occupational and technical skills of their workers through workforce credentials that drive economic growth.

McAuliffe has turned to Virginia’s Community Colleges and local workforce development boards to collaborate on strategies and partnerships to expand training and credentialing across the Commonwealth. Current and incoming employees will be trained in high-demand areas, including manufacturing, energy, information technology, cybersecurity, health care, transportation and logistics.

Virginia needs to fill 1.5 million jobs in the next 10 years with more than half requiring more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree.

“I am so proud to announce this new initiative will kick off here at Tidewater Community College,” McAuliffe said during the event at the Norfolk Campus Student Center. “I love Tidewater Community College because of the innovative work they have done.”

McAuliffe lauded TCC’s Center for Workforce Solutions, noting its long list of satisfied business customers, including IMS Gear, S.B. Ballard, Busch LLC and Sumitomo Corporation, which each benefit from customized training provided by the college. “I want to thank TCC, really, for being the leading edge on all of this,” he said.

TCC will partner with Hampton Roads’ Workforce Development Board, Opportunity Inc., to carry out the governor’s plan, which focuses on businesses of 250 employees or fewer.

Participating businesses will be asked to contribute between 10 percent and 50 percent of the cost of training based on the number of employees. Businesses can submit proposals to Opportunity Inc., starting June 1.

“Opportunity Inc. and TCC will be able to better meet the needs of the business community, especially small and medium-sized businesses,” said Shawn Avery, president and CEO of Opportunity Inc. “This investment in funding will allow us to develop customized training for individual businesses and help their current incumbent workers and new employees.”

Last year Opportunity Inc., served nearly 8,300 job seekers, including 900 veterans.

Corey McCray, vice president for TCC’s Center for Workforce Solutions, said, “This is yet another way for us to work with Opportunity Inc,. in order to provide help for those in our community and to make sure we are working with our businesses to develop talent.

“We focus often on those who want middle-skill jobs,” he said. “but we have to focus also on those who are in those jobs and need to be retrained.”

McAuliffe said his administration is counting on the state’s community colleges and local workforce boards to make the new public-private partnership a success.

TCC President Edna Baehre-Kolovani, who introduced McAuliffe, promised the governor that “Virginia’s Community Colleges stand ready to honor and fulfill the trust you place in us.”