Thanks to a new program, Germanna Community College can provide up to $1.1 million or up to $3,000 in free tuition and training per student to local people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Virginia allocates $30 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars to help Virginians whose employment has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic crisis pursue workforce training in a high-demand field.
The new Re-Employing Virginians, dubbed “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.
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 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 the two workforce areas.
Together Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia have experienced nearly 50 percent of all the initial and continuing unemployment claims.
“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 Gov. Ralph 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.”
“Germanna is excited to offer new and current students the opportunity to have their spring semester tuition and fees fully covered from a one-time grant in high demand areas,” said Aaron Whitaker, Germanna’s director of financial aid
- Early Childhood Education
- Information Technology
- Public Safety
- Skilled Trades
Information on eligibility, programs, and how to begin the process is available at Germanna.edu or by emailing Aaron Whitacre at firstname.lastname@example.org for certificate/degree programs, or Martha O’Keefe at email@example.com for trade/career training programs.
In terms of workforce development training, REV will not only help local students and their families, but it will also close skills gaps for local businesses and companies.
“The REV funding stream will help unemployed and underemployed individuals earn industry credentials that lead to good jobs in fields that are hiring,” said O’Keefe, associate vice president of Workforce & Professional Development at Germanna.
The funding will help pay for classes in skilled trades such as Electrical, HVAC, Plumbing, Welding, Heavy Equipment Operation, Machining, and others. Certifications in these areas lead directly to in-demand jobs and help the individual recover from jobs lost or work hours reduced due to the coronavirus.
The Center for Workforce and Community Education will help students forge paths to good jobs and career advancement opportunities. Also, several academic IT classes and programs are eligible for REV funding. These include academic pathways in Cyber Security, Networking, and Information Systems Technology.
“Students in these programs can move toward jobs that pay well in the fast-growing IT field,” O’Keefe said.
There are three eligibility factors:
- Virginia citizenship
- Being un- or underemployed due to the pandemic
- Enrolling in a program in a high-demand career field
Unemployed individuals must have filed an unemployment benefits claim on or after Aug. 1. In this case, underemployment is when an individual lost a full-time job because the coronavirus caused their employer to close or reduced staffing, and they’re now working in a part-time job that pays less than $15 per hour.
Vouchers will be issued for students pursuing high-demand fields, which at Germanna are: Early Childhood Education, Healthcare, Information Technology, Manufacturing, Public Safety, Skilled Trades.
Individuals can receive up to $1,500 for short-term career training, $1,500 for part-time studies towards a certificate or degree program, or $3,000 for pursuing a full-time certificate or degree program.
If a student qualifies, or if they’re unsure if they qualify, they can visit germanna.edu.