Governor announces $1 million in Economy Workforce Grants

economic-forecast-headerGovernor Terry McAuliffe announced today that seven regional Workforce Development Boards in the Commonwealth were awarded grants to work with small businesses, community colleges, and other partners in their regions to provide workforce training and credentialing to incumbent workers.

Grants of $200,000 each were awarded to the Piedmont Workforce Board (Region 6) and, through a joint application, Northern Virginia and Alexandria/Arlington Workforce Boards (Regions 11 and 12). Grants of $150,000 each were awarded to Southwest Virginia Workforce Board (Region 1), Capital Region Workforce Board (Region 9), Opportunity Inc. Workforce Board (Region 16) and West Piedmont Workforce Board (Region 17). Ten community colleges will provide training and assessments for the new Incumbent Workforce Training program, including: Piedmont Virginia, Germanna, Northern Virginia, Mountain Empire, Southwest, Tidewater, Patrick Henry, Danville and Community College Workforce Alliance (a partnership of Reynolds and John Tyler Community Colleges).

“These new grants will help us attain our statewide goal of awarding 50,000 STEM-H Workforce Credentials per year by taking the credentialing process out of the traditional classroom setting and into the workplace,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “There is no better way to ensure that our workforce has the certifications and licenses demanded by business than to partner with those businesses to deliver training and credentials to their own employees on the job. These new grants are just one more way we are using workforce credentials for jobs and business growth.”

These grants will help small businesses stay competitive by funding as much as 90% of the costs for workforce training and credentialing for their incumbent workers,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “I am thrilled that job seekers of all ages, and the Virginia businesses employing them, will now benefit from nearly $20 million in the next biennial budget to increase access and affordability for training and certifications that, in a matter of weeks or months, can lead to readily available jobs offering good pay and career opportunities.”

“The Virginia Board of Workforce Development is committed to making business the primary customer in the Commonwealth’s workforce system and to helping the Governor and General Assembly close the workforce skills gap. We believe that this is vital to help businesses thrive and to grow our economy,” said Chairman Mark Herzog. “This new program links and leverages our regional workforce boards to achieve those goals. Employer surveys conducted by our regional workforce boards also indicate that the business service most in demand by employers is incumbent workforce training, and this program clearly responds to that need.”

Incumbent workforce training funds will be immediately available to the workforce boards receiving the new grants. Businesses with 250 employees or fewer are eligible to participate in the program and will contribute from 10% to 50% of training and certification assessment costs based on the number of company employees. Community colleges located in each workforce development region will work with small businesses to develop training plans and provide training that leads to a certification or occupational license.

Each workforce development board receiving a grant award will focus its grant funds on incumbent workforce training for industry sectors central to the region’s economic development priorities. Industry sectors prioritized in proposals submitted by regional workforce boards include: Advanced Manufacturing; Information Technology and Cybersecurity; Transportation and Logistics; Health Care; and Tourism and Outdoor Recreation.

Estimates are that more than 600 small business employees will be trained and credentialed through the new program. The Northern Virginia Workforce Board plan is to take a specific aim at filling some of the 63,000 IT related jobs in the region through offering small businesses a variety of industry demanded IT and cybersecurity certifications.

“Virginia’s Community Colleges work with more than 13,000 businesses a year to provide customized training and other services,” said Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “These grants are yet another important arrow in our quiver that helps Virginia businesses and their employees compete in a global marketplace. The more we can do to address Virginia’s urgent credentialing needs, the more successful we all will be.”

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