Posted on Monday, September 19, 2016

Historic…transformative…game-changing. People have scrambled to find the right words this year to describe the first-in-the-nation, performance-based program to match Virginians eager to find good jobs with businesses seeking skilled workers.

Virginia’s “New Economy Workforce Credential Grants” will effectively slash student costs for targeted workforce training programs by two-thirds, opening a new path to the middle class for thousands, and boosting the commonwealth’s economic climate.

Governor Terry McAuliffe says the grants program will ensure that Virginia has a 21st century workforce with the skills and experience to compete in today’s global economy.”

Approved by the General Assembly in March, the program already was being implemented statewide on our campuses in July, thanks to yeoman efforts by Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Instead of being asked to pay the entire cost upfront – the standard practice for many years — students pursuing identified high-demand credentials are charged only one-third the cost. Under the unique pay-for-performance plan, the commonwealth will pay the college one-third of the cost when the student completes the program, and the final one-third when the student earns the industry-recognized credential.

With the new grants and increases in other financial aid for students in workforce training programs, Virginia’s Community Colleges are helping Virginia businesses meet their needs for capable workers, and empowering individuals to earn valuable skills in weeks or months instead of semesters and years, and without incurring a mountain of debt.

For more information and some success stories, please click here. ('

Laura Osberger

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