~ $6.8 million proposed increase for Workforce Credential Grant Program, career exploration in cyber security, technical training for rural Virginia ~
CHARLOTTESVILLE – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that he has included an additional $6.8 million in his 2019-2020 biennial budget to support workforce development initiatives across the Commonwealth. These strategic investments bring the total funding for the Workforce Credential Grant Program to $19.2 million, as well as $2.6 million in additional funding to support cybersecurity and rural workforce initiatives. The Governor made the announcement during an event at Piedmont Virginia Community College highlighting the importance of expanding the proven Workforce Credential Grant Program, Virginia’s future cyber workforce, and rural access to technical training.
“Today, we are making an important investment in our workforce, and in the future of the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe, speaking at the event. “Having a highly skilled workforce is key to attracting long-term business investments in Virginia. Because of the strategic investments we’re making in workforce development, I am confident that we will have a workforce ready to take on the jobs of the 21st century.”
Governor McAuliffe has successfully advanced workforce development within the Commonwealth, which is reflected in Virginia’s steadily decreasing state unemployment rate and record-high labor force expansion. Governor McAuliffe has made improving the workforce service delivery system in the Commonwealth a top priority, and it is a cornerstone of the state’s comprehensive workforce development plan.
Established in 2016, the first-of-its-kind New Virginia Economy Workforce Credential Grant program has supported the attainment of 7,256 industry-recognized credentials, licenses, and certifications needed for high-demand fields, with a job placement rate of 90 percent or greater in some fields. In the program’s inaugural year, the number of credentials earned nearly tripled throughout the Commonwealth. Given this success, Governor McAuliffe has proposed a $4.2 million additional investment in this program, bringing the total to $19.2 million over the biennium. As part of this strategic reinvestment, Governor McAuliffe included $200,000 in funding to explore an innovative new model – called the 3G Workforce Initiative. Once established, this program will allow Virginians to obtain a workforce credential in targeted fields at no cost to the student, with a commitment to one year of public service upon completion.
Governor McAuliffe has made expanding Virginia’s future cyber workforce a top priority for his administration. To continue these efforts, the Governor’s proposed budget also includes $1 million in funding for cybersecurity camps in Virginia. These two-week programs will expose high school students to careers in cybersecurity and provide the foundational skills needed to be successful in this rapidly changing industry.
Expanding rural access to technical training is another vital component to building the new Virginia economy. To further these efforts, the Governor’s budget includes $1 million in funding to expand training at the Career Tech Academy at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. This funding will provide high school students in south central Virginia with access to precision machining. In addition, Governor McAuliffe included an additional $600,000 in his budget for the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research which will match enrollment growth for its Integrated Machining and Technology (IMT) Program. This funding will support growth in the region’s high schools and community college programs, which are feeder programs to the advanced training occurring at the Institute.