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More than 11,000 Virginians Served by Workforce Grants


A grant that pays two-thirds the cost of certain community college credentials has been hugely successful. And this Fall there's more money in the bank, meaning even more opportunities for people to switch careers.



It’s not necessarily free community college, but it’s not so far off. The state pays most of the cost of certain in-demand workforce credentials. In the first two years of the pilot program, more than 11,000 Virginians have taken advantage.

“They are older, they are poorer. Often they have dependents,” explains Jeffrey Kraus,  spokesperson for Virginia’s Community Colleges. “More often than not they’re either unemployed or stringing together a bunch of part-time jobs trying to make ends meet.”

Kraus says one of the most popular certificates has been a commercial driver’s license. But other possibilities include becoming a certified nurse assistant and even earning a teaching license.   

“We know what programs are in demand, we know what credentials employers are looking for. And we have the training programs to line people up with those opportunities,” he adds.

State lawmakers have expanded the program this year, raising funding by an additional $2 million. The programs are run out of community colleges across the state.

You can find out more about the program and opportunities in your area here.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Mallory Noe-Payne is Radio IQ's Richmond reporter and bureau chief. She's covered policy and politics from the state capital since 2016. She was a 2020-2021 recipient of the Fulbright Young Journalist Award. She spent a year in Munich, Germany researching memory, justice, and how a society can collectively confront its sins. Her Virginia-based coverage of home healthcare workers, voting rights, and Richmond’s Slave Trail have won national news awards.
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