McAuliffe announces second round of Governor’s Competition for Talent Solutions

terry mcauliffeGovernor Terry McAuliffe announced on Monday the second annual round of competitive grants to help close the skills gap in key industry sectors of critical importance to the Virginia economy.

The Governor’s Competition for Talent Solutions, administered by the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC), encourages employer-led consortia and trade associations to work with training and workforce partners.  The goal of these partnerships is to develop workforce pipelines and incumbent worker training that delivers industry recognized certifications, skills for jobs retention, business competitiveness, and jobs growth.  A total of $800,000 is available for this second round of grants to projects led by private sector employers.

“Last year we changed the lives of over 100 Virginia workers and their families through this grant competition, and that number is still growing,” said Governor McAuliffe said.  “This year I am pleased to continue this grant program as part of my ongoing efforts to prepare Virginia’s workforce to perform the jobs of today and create the jobs of tomorrow.  Creating and sustaining a world-class workforce is critical for building a new Virginia economy, and we now have a proven record of commitment and investment from both the public and private sectors to achieve this goal.”

Each project that is awarded a grant may receive up to $200,000 for the period from October 1, 2016 through July 31, 2017; however, state awards must be matched by private sector funds.  Grants may be used to provide job training or other solutions to develop vital workplace skills for prospective or existing employees. Grant applicants must be a consortium or partnership of businesses with a common skills gap or workforce development need.  Businesses working together on proposals may also partner with public workforce or education entities or with non-profit organizations, but a business must be the lead applicant for these awards and drive proposed solutions.

“This competition reflects our commitment to collaborate with the private sector in preparing our workforce for the jobs of the 21st Century,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.   “Whether businesses are looking for a new place to locate or looking to enhance the economic commitment they have made in Virginia’s communities, this reinforces the Commonwealth’s dedication to providing them with tools they need to maintain a competitive advantage.”

Last year, grants were awarded to five industry sector partnerships working to close the skills gap and grow the economy.  Industry sectors currently supported through these grants include maritime trades, forestry, manufacturing, and transportation.  Grants were awarded to business consortia or trade associations throughout the Commonwealth, including Southern, Western, and Northern Virginia Regions as well as Hampton Roads.

“It is exciting to see the commitment the Governor and Secretary Jones have made to taking innovative approaches to bridge the skills gap,” said VEC Commissioner Ellen Marie Hess. “Closing that gap will help our workforce obtain credentials that are critical to competing in Virginia’s new economy.”

Like last year, grant awards will be made available to three types of private sector applicants:

  • A group of businesses operating in the same industry sector that comes together out of a shared commitment to design and execute an innovative and highly effective training program to develop a talent pipeline of skilled workers for entry level jobs that can lead to career positions.
  • A group of businesses from different industry sectors that have a common workforce development need and join together to design and execute training to develop shared skill requirements in new job applicants or incumbent workers.
  • An employer who has identified a need to lead a skills development initiative with companies who comprise that employer’s supply chain.  In this type of grant application, the large employer takes the lead in working with members of its supply chain to identify common critical workplace skills that can be developed through incumbent or pre-employment training.

The grants require private sector matching funds equal to or greater than the amount of funds requested by the business from the Commonwealth.  The grants are meant to encourage public-private partnerships and proposals that leverage additional resources through regional workforce development agencies, such as Workforce Development Boards, community colleges or other public or private partners. Applications are due to the VEC on or before September 30, 2016, and awards are expected to be announced by October 28, 2016.

More information on the grants can be found at

VEC promotes economic growth and stability by delivering and coordinating workforce services across the Commonwealth.


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