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Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative

Home > Giving > Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative

Preparing people in the rural
horseshoe for the jobs of the future

Rural Horseshoe Initiative

The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) has launched the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative to transform Virginia’s rural communities through higher education and 21st century job skills. 



In Virginia’s “rural horseshoe,” high school too often marks the end of the educational line, resulting in a lifetime of reduced opportunities that ripple across generations. 

Drawing a line from Virginia’s Eastern shore westward across Southside to Southwest Virginia, and then up the Shenandoah Valley, you trace an arc that represents 75 percent of the Commonwealth’s geography, where half million people have less than a high school education. As a result, Virginia ranks 31st nationally in the percentage of residents with at least a high school equivalency credential. 

Virginia’s Community Colleges are uniquely positioned to help. No other statewide institution has the geographic reach or capacity to reach rural students and transition them into higher education. 

Download our materials:

2015 Case for Support

See the 2015 RVHI Video

Read About the State’s First Line Worker Program at SVCC


Our goals for the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative are bold.  By placing full-time career coaches in high schools across rural Virginia; by providing incentives to continue education and workforce preparation for GED recipients; and by sustaining and expanding the availability of coaches, scholarships and mentoring opportunities for foster youth through the Great Expectations program, we can:

  • Cut in half the number of residents living within the Rural Horseshoe who lack a high school diploma or its equivalent, from nearly 20 percent to 10 percent.
  • Double the percentage of rural residents who earn an associate degree or other college certification from 26 percent to 52 percent. 
  • Double the number of participants in the Great Expectations program for foster youth, as well as the number of foster youth who graduate with an associate degree or a workforce training credential. 

Join our team and stay connected!

Our goal is to establish a $21 million fund to match funds raised by community colleges in Virginia’s Rural Horseshoe. In so doing, we will change the lives of thousands of rural Virginians and their communities and transform the educational and economic landscape for all Virginia. 

You can lend a hand

While the VFCCE will be devoting considerable resources to the Rural Horseshoe Initiative to ensure its success, we can’t do it alone. We need your help!

Please use the form below to become a Rural Horseshoe Initiative volunteer.

Or, visit our donor page to help us raise funds to support this initiative.

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