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Virginia Ready Initiative expands job training program

virginia ready initiativeA work training program launched this summer to assist workers who lost jobs or hours due to the impact of COVID-19 public health restrictions on the economy is expanding its reach.

Any Virginian who has experienced employment disruption as a result of the pandemic is eligible to participate by enrolling in one of Virginia Ready Initiative’s 30 approved FastForward credential courses offered through the Virginia Community College System.

Designed to prepare Virginians for careers in technology, healthcare, manufacturing and other skilled trades, most programs can be completed within 6-12 weeks and are offered by the 23 community colleges in the VCCS.

The VA Ready Scholar program provides added incentives for participants, offering a $1,000 award upon completion of their credential training and the opportunity to interview with VA Ready business partners.

More than 400 people are already taking part in the program, with the first cohort of 18 moving into post-training, full-time employment with Newport News Shipbuilding. This expansion will allow more Virginians to take part in this opportunity.

“Many people who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 are now without steady, full-time work; some have been forced to work two minimum-wage, part-time jobs just to make ends meet,” said Caren Merrick, CEO of Virginia Ready. “Our program offers these motivated Virginians an opportunity to gain the necessary skills to qualify for resilient, sustainable jobs, so they can support their families and have a much brighter future.”

“The economic fall-out from COVID-19 continues to disrupt so many hard working people, and our goal is to offer as many Virginians as we are able the chance to gain new skills and new jobs that promise stability in the face of so much change,” said VA Ready co-founder and chairman, Glenn Youngkin.

For more information about the VA Ready Initiative or to apply for the program, visit