McAuliffe announces higher education and workforce budget

virginiaGovernor Terry McAuliffe announced today a series of budgetary proposals aimed at laying a foundation for a new Virginia economy by investing in higher education and strengthening workforce development.

Speaking today at Reynolds Community College before an audience of higher education representatives, business leaders and elected officials, Governor McAuliffe said, “The biennial budget I will introduce this week will make significant investments in Virginia’s higher education system and steer those institutions toward preparing students to lead in the 21st Century economy. We will also continue to reinvent the workforce system to be more effective and more in touch with the real-world needs of our businesses. Virginia has an opportunity to lead the way on workforce development and this budget is a step in that direction.”

“Developing and retaining world-class talent is the most important strategy for sustained economic growth in Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “The investments announced today are critical for all of the work we do to promote economic development in all regions of the Commonwealth.”

“The innovative investments the Governor announced today will help us address equity, access, and completion in the Commonwealth’s higher education system,” said Secretary of Education Anne Holton. “We must begin laying the groundwork for success in the new Virginia economy, and it starts here with the Governor’s bold agenda.”

The higher education and workforce development priorities funded in the Governor’s biennial budget include:

  • In-State Financial Assistance: enables colleges and universities to better address undergraduate financial need – $48,197,326
  • Access and Completion: Incentivizes institutions to educate and graduate more in-state students and supports underrepresented students – $50,000,000
  • Tuition Assistance Grant: Increases the individual undergraduate grant award for students attending independent colleges to $3,400 – $2,000,000
  • Planning Grant for a Regional Center to Investigate Sexual Violence: Supports a study on creating a Virginia higher education regional center for investigation and adjudication of criminal incidents of sexual and gender-based violence on campuses – $100,000
  • Online Degree Completion Initiative: Establishes a flexible online degree completion program targeted toward adult learners and nontraditional students – $8,100,000
  • Virginia Longitudinal Data System: Maintains and enhances capacity of Virginia’s longitudinal data system – $2,450,000
  • Noncredit Workforce Development: Supports workforce credentialing programs at Virginia’s community colleges to increase the number of those receiving certifications in high-demand fields – $24,600,000
  • Virginia TalentLink: Support the Virginia Jobs Investment Program rebranding. The new program will develop an information portal for businesses to connect with regional resources and talent. Provides access to better data analytics to find, plan and assist in the development of talent pipelines in high-demand occupations and skills. – $932,000
  • Innovation Fund: Stimulates collaboration among public school divisions, community colleges, and universities to expand affordability through competitively awarded grants – $5,000,000
  • Two Percent Salary Increase: Provides for a two percent salary increase for Virginia’s higher education faculty and staff, consistent with state employee raises – $25,700,000
  • Research: Provides one-time incentive packages to high performing researchers as well as establishes centers of excellence where the researchers can collaborate – $40,000,000

The Governor will announce his full, two-year budget before the joint Money Committees on December 17th.

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