HAMPTON, VA (STL.News) Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia is allocating $30 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars to help Virginians whose employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis pursue workforce training in a high-demand field. The new Re-Employing Virginians (REV) initiative will provide scholarships to eligible individuals to enroll in a workforce or community college program in five essential industries, including health care, information technology, skilled trades, public safety, and early childhood education.
“Virginians who have been furloughed, had hours reduced, or lost a job because of the pandemic are struggling and wondering what the future holds,” said Governor Northam. “Investing in programs that help people develop skills in high-demand fields is a win for workers, employers, and our economy. As we focus on recovering from the impacts of the global pandemic, the new REV initiative will give Virginians the resources they need to get back on their feet and help ensure that our Commonwealth emerges from this public health crisis even stronger than we were before.”
The initiative will provide one-time REV scholarships of $3,000 to register in a qualifying full-time workforce program and $1,500 to register part-time or in a short-term, noncredit training program. The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads Local Workforce Development Areas will administer the CARES Act funding for the REV initiative, with $27 million allocated to VCCS for statewide programs and $3 million for the two workforce areas. Together Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia have experienced nearly 50 percent of all the initial and continuing unemployment claims.
“Even with high unemployment rates, many employers are still struggling to find the talent they need in critical sectors,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “The REV scholarships will help close the skills gap between the jobs open and the Virginians in search of a new career path.”
“More than 70 percent of Virginians who have filed for unemployment have some college or less,” said Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “Increasing educational opportunity for those who have recently lost jobs will build resiliency in the Commonwealth’s workforce, equip Virginians with the credentials they need to get back to work, and move Virginia closer to our goal of being the best-educated state by 2030.”
“If you have lost your job, or seen a reduction in your hours and paycheck, Virginia’s community colleges want to help you,” said Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System. “The REV initiative offers you another way into the short-term credential and degree programs that prepare you for a high-demand career. These opportunities will be more affordable than ever before thanks to these grants, and we look forward to helping individuals and families who want to move forward, beyond the unexpected challenges posed by the pandemic.”
Interested individuals should contact their local community college as soon as possible to apply before the December 14, 2020 enrollment deadline. Information about eligibility criteria and applying for a REV scholarship is available here. Northern Virginia residents can learn more here, and Hampton Roads residents can learn more here.