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Governor McAuliffe Announces 2,173 Credentials Awarded Through New Economy Workforce Credentials Grant Program

Governor McAuliffe Announces 2,173 Credentials Awarded Through New Economy Workforce Credentials Grant Program

~ New grants spur big gains in Virginia Community Colleges’ Workforce Credential Training Programs ~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Monday that, through the New Economy Workforce Credentials Grant program, Virginia’s Community Colleges provided workforce training that enabled 2,173 Virginians to secure industry-recognized credentials, licenses, and certifications needed for high-demand careers, in the first year of the grant program. Governor McAuliffe awarded the 2,172nd and 2,173rd credentials at an event commemorating this achievement this afternoon.

This milestone nearly triples the number of people who were credentialed last year, bringing the total to 4,268 Virginians. More than half of the credential earners, 2,173, took advantage of the New Economy Workforce Credentials Grant program. Training for the remaining 2,095 credentials was funded by employers, federal grants, or other private sources.

“Today’s announcement is a landmark achievement for our workforce development efforts,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe speaking at the announcement event. “Clearly, the timing was right for this innovative initiative to help our businesses find qualified workers and empower more Virginians to seek good-paying jobs. In partnership with the General Assembly and our public and private sector partners, we are filling key gaps in the workforce pipeline and putting more Virginians to work in the new Virginia economy.”

“Whether we’re attracting new businesses to Virginia or helping our existing employers grow and compete, we need to continually strengthen our workforce,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Today’s announcement marks a nearly 180 percent increase in earned credentials in the first year of this program. This significant growth is a great sign for what we can do for Virginia’s workforce moving forward.”

With broad bipartisan support, the 2016 General Assembly created the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Fund and program to encourage more Virginians to prepare for careers that require specialized training, but not necessarily college degrees. This fund provides grants covering two-thirds of the tuition for students who are enrolled in a workforce training program designed to fill in-demand jobs in their home region. The year before the new workforce training grant program went into effect, community colleges provided training for 1,528 Virginians to earn those professional credentials.

“This success is a tribute to the power of collaboration,” said Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “As we ramped up our workforce training capacity to respond to the new state grants program, we also created new training opportunities that motivated students to tap into a variety of other funding sources.”

“This is a significant milestone in Virginia’s efforts to better align the workforce system to help close the skills gap and prepare Virginians for good careers in high priority industries,” added Mark Herzog, Chair of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development.

Virginia’s businesses are eager to hire workers with a wide variety of skills in fields ranging from information technology and advanced manufacturing to education, health care, logistics and transportation. By pursuing industry-recognized credentials, students can qualify for promising careers in weeks or months instead of semesters and years, and without incurring large amounts of student debt.

“Through better and more accessible training, Virginia is boosting its ability to create a 21st century workforce,” said Barry DuVal, President and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “This is great news for our business community and for people who are starting out or getting a fresh start on their careers.”

Now entering its second year of operation, Virginia’s New Economy Workforce Credential Grant program greatly reduces the out-of-pocket cost for Virginians to enroll in specified training programs to earn industry-recognized certifications. The Virginia Board of Workforce Development has developed a list of high-demand occupations, which is further vetted as educators work closely with Virginia businesses in regions across the Commonwealth to develop and deliver related workforce training to prepare people for those jobs. Currently, grants are available to support 146 training courses offered throughout Virginia’s 23 community colleges.
To learn more about workforce credential grants, please visit http://www.vccs.edu/workforce/.

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 252,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.

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Charlotte Gomer
Office of Governor Terence R. McAuliffe
Press Assistant
Charlotte.Gomer@governor.virginia.gov


Content credit: Office of the Governor.

Photo credit: Clement Britt, Virginia’s Community Colleges

Learn more about the workforce certificates offered at CCWA by visiting http://ccwatraining.org/certifications/.

Get Assistance to Earn Industry Credentials – A third of the cost for Professional Certificates

Get Assistance to Earn Industry Credentials – A third of the cost for Professional Certificates

CCWA offers 10 workforce credential grant programs as announced in the Governor’s release below. Governor McAuliffe Announces Workforce Grant Program and speaks to how “Credentials Will Open Doors to Promising, High-Demand Career Opportunities.”

Learn more about CCWA’s Certificate Programs.

Governor McAuliffe Announces Workforce Grant Program

~ Credentials Will Open Doors to Promising, High-Demand Career Opportunities~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the launch of a new grant program designed to ensure that workforce credentials are accessible and affordable for Virginians seeking the skills they need to obtain good-paying jobs in high-demand fields.

The New Economy Workforce Industry Credentials Grant program covers 124 different community college training programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges geared toward providing workforce credentials at one-third of their former cost.

“This program establishes a first-in-the-nation performance funding formula to create and sustain a supply of credentialed workers who meet the needs identified by our business leaders,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This week’s launch is the culmination of many months of hard work by public and private sector partners, all of us working together to ensure that Virginia has a 21st century workforce with the skills and experience to compete in today’s global economy.”

Virginia’s Community Colleges consulted with Virginia businesses to develop the list of eligible credentials that can provide access to a wide variety of high-demand jobs, such as certified welder, electrician, medical records tech, computer network specialist, pharmacy tech, digital security specialist, emergency medical tech, industrial machinery mechanic, dental assistant, and commercial truck driver.  The Virginia Board of Workforce Development identified more than 170 in-demand jobs aligned with the Commonwealth’s economic development targets for which Virginians can prepare through the new workforce program.

These are jobs that require specific skills, but not necessarily a traditional college degree. Community Colleges are making it even easier to earn workforce credentials by developing new programs and adding classes and locations for increased convenience.

“To create the skilled workforce the Commonwealth needs now and in the future, we need more options for training and credentialing that work for Virginians of all ages and life circumstances,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “With the New Economy Workforce Credentials program, for the first time, we have new options for workforce training and development that promptly get trainees into the skilled labor force.”

Research indicates that these workforce credentials are in high demand across Virginia and will be for the foreseeable future. The company Burning Glass produced a recent report indicating that there were more than 175,000 job vacancies for so-called middle-skill occupations last year in Virginia – the types of jobs that typically require some type of credential. The jobs paid more than $28 per hour (or more than $58,500 per year). According to the research, the jobs went unfilled for an average period of 26 days, which is longer than the national average. As a result, Virginia businesses lost 36.4 million hours of productivity. Virginia families lost more than $1 billion in potential wages, and Virginia’s General Fund lost more than $54.3 million in revenue.

Other studies predict that Virginia will have to fill more than 1.4 million jobs over the next decade. As many as two-thirds of those positions will require postsecondary level workforce credentials.

“The New Economy Workforce Industry Credentials Grant program will be a game changer for the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. “The in-depth research that has gone into establishing this innovative program will help us to increase access and success in higher education, especially for some of our most underserved populations.”

Students enrolling in one of the workforce credential training programs covered by the new grants will pay only one-third of the normal cost. Program costs vary widely, depending on the length and complexity of the training. For a list of programs covered by the grants, visit this link on the VCCS website.

The maximum value of each grant is $3,000. For example, a student who enrolls in and successfully completes a grant-eligible program that normally costs $4,500 will now pay $1,500, and the grant covers $3,000 of the cost. Additional financial aid can offset that cost even further. More information is available at the workforce development offices of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Governor McAuliffe won bipartisan support this year among Virginia lawmakers for funding to enable approximately 10,000 Virginians to receive Workforce Credentials Grants for training costs over the next two years. This unique performance-based funding model is the first in the nation. Further, it represents the first significant public funding for workforce training programs in the 50-year history of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

“These workforce credentials increasingly represent the American Dream in the 21st century,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “Individuals earn these credentials in weeks and months, not semesters and years. Those students are often quickly employed by businesses hungry for their skills. And they accomplish all that without piling on a decade’s worth of student debt.”

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve approximately 400,000 students each year.  For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu. To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit 50.vccs.edu.

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“Most importantly, it challenges us to make a meaningful difference in Virginia’s quality of life. The next strategic plan has just one goal. That’s it, just a single goal. And that goal is to triple the numbers of credentials awarded annually by the year 2021. In hard numbers, that means we will go from 38,000 credentials awarded last year to no fewer than 114,000 by the year. This means that student success, in the form of credential attainment, will no longer be among our priorities. It becomes the priority.”

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