As nondegree pathways grow in popularity, among major employers and Gen Z, alternative education programs empower the Fairfax community to advance their skills, careers, and lives.


Fairfax, VA – May 28, 2024 – Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Adult and Community Education (ACE), the leading provider of flexible and affordable classes to promote learning at any stage in life, announced today its continued focus and expansion of workforce development, exploratory, and certification programs. With over 500 Online Anytime courses, addressing workforce development and skills-based programs across Business and Information Technology, Health and Medical, Adult ESOL, and Apprenticeships disciplines, FCPS ACE empowers students the ability to become workforce ready by acquiring critical job skills, upskill their career or reskill to transition to a new career.


A pioneer in workforce development education, FCPS ACE’s expanded program supports the heightened interest and preference of students of today and tomorrow in skilled-trade certifications over four-year degree programs.


“Gen Z and professionals of tomorrow have a decreased interest in four-year degrees and are seeking greater options for skilled career training because it delivers an accelerated career path, and hands on training,” Paul D. Steiner, FCPS ACE Adult and Community Education Administrator explains. “The need for skilled-based education increases as more leading organizations put higher importance on skills-based knowledge over college degrees. For students eager to jump more directly into a career, this shift creates more favorable opportunities for the current and incoming workforce.”


FCPS ACE’s commitment to the community and expanded focus on workforce development programs was recognized this spring by the Fairfax County School Board, for its exemplary programs in support of career and technical education, and adult community education and its impact.


Rabiu Yusif, an FCPS ACE Plumbing Apprentice, stated that, “FCPS ACE’s Plumbing Apprenticeship program has empowered me to invest in myself and my future goals. Through this program, I am gaining the knowledge and skills I need to become a Certified Master Plumber. This will not only enhance my financial position, but it provides me the opportunity to one day own my own business, mentor others in the plumbing profession, and better the industry.”


“FCPS ACE has been at the forefront of workforce development and skilled-trade education. With over 60% of our skilled-trade and workforce development programs now available online, we provide more pathways for students, like Rabiu, to achieve a skilled-trade education and certifications and deliver workforce ready professionals to employers. Altogether, fostering greater economic success for the Fairfax community,” Steiner concluded.



The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Adult and Community Education program (ACE) is the leading provider of flexible, affordable, outcome-oriented classes to promote learning at any stage in life. We offer more than 3,000 courses in a wide range of subjects that empower students of all ages and backgrounds to explore options for after high school graduation, gain valuable technical training, advance their careers with relevant skills, or enhance their lives with a range of personal interest classes. Our students and their success are what drive FCPS ACE. With more than 60 years of history and a deep connection to the local community, FCPS ACE is for you. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and X.