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Virginia Ready reaches milestone enrollment of 1,000 Scholars

virginia ready initiativeThe Virginia Ready Initiative celebrated the official enrollment of 1,000 Scholars across the state.

“Hitting this milestone is truly humbling, gratifying, heartwarming, and perhaps most importantly, encouraging,” said Caren Merrick, CEO of VA Ready. “This number represents 1,000 Virginians who found the courage in difficult times to learn new skills and earn a credential. We salute them.”

VA Ready was established to address the economic disruption many Virginians are experiencing, with the goal of getting at least 15,000 underemployed or unemployed Virginia residents back to work.

VA Ready helps to recruit, incentivize, and award people who enroll in one of 34 credential programs in Healthcare, IT and Cybersecurity, or Manufacturing and Skilled Trades offered through the Virginia Community College System FastForward program.

To date nearly 200 people have earned a $1,000 Credential Achievement Award for finishing the program and successfully receiving their credential. They may also receive an opportunity to interview with one of VA Ready’s 24 business partners.

Whether for PwC, Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC, Carilion Clinic, Genworth Financial, Bank of America, BAE Systems or other partners, VA Ready Scholars can post their resume on VA Ready’s job opportunities board and be connected to relevant opportunities within those companies.

In addition, the General Assembly recently passed funding that the Virginia Community College System can use to help students pay for any one of the 34 credentials VA Ready supports.

This new VA Ready State Aid Fund is a funding source offered throughout the Commonwealth and available to all VA Ready Scholars enrolled in any VA Ready-approved FastForward course within the Virginia Community College System.

These funds, paired with FastForward support, make a course entirely free.

“VA Ready business partners are looking for strong, qualified candidates for thousands of open positions,” Merrick said. “This initiative has succeeded not only in getting Virginians back to work, but in strengthening the businesses and organizations that are the foundation of our economy.”

VA Ready Scholars come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds – more than a third have entered the program with only a high school education, and another 20 percent after receiving a college or graduate degree – and interests. Based on enrollment, interest in manufacturing and skilled trades is most popular among all age groups, followed by healthcare and computer technology.

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

augusta free press
augusta free press