Virginia recently launched its response to the loss of many service-related jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The VA Ready Scholars program was created for people who are recently out of work due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. The program is intended for state residents who want to gain access to new skills for in-demand jobs.
VA Ready Scholars enroll in a credentialed field in approximately 30 select training programs offered through one of Virginia’s Community Colleges. These credentials are focused on in-demand occupations across three broad industry categories – Technology, Healthcare, and Skilled Trades.
Residents can research their field of interest from an approved list of credential programs, speak to a FastForward Coach, research where the training program is offered closest to them, contact their selected community college, and start the enrollment process.
I hope our Virginia colleagues will share their experience with the VA Ready Scholars program, and if and how adult learners are being supported through this statewide initiative. I'm also interested in hearing from colleagues outside of Virginia. What is the response in your state to helping recently unemployed adult learners up/re-skill in the face of COVID-19? Sharing these initiatives broadly can help us all learn new ways to support our learners as they return to classes this fall.
Career Pathways Moderator
Thank you for highlighting this exciting initiative, Michael! With classes at community colleges just getting enrolled, we don't have success stories just yet. But yes, adult education students working in IET programs on the targeted credentials will be eligible to earn the stipend. The initiative builds on the established Fast Forward program that has already seen good success with course completion rates, and credentials earned, and income increases for its graduates. As of this August, there have been 23,982 students enrolled (see more, the official name of the program is Workforce Credential Grant).
We will be back to let you know how our IET cohorts are taking part in this industry-led initiative to get Virginians back to work.
Thank you for highlighting how VA Ready Scholars is building on the existing Fast Forward/Workforce Credential Grant program. It's great to see how Virginia has taken an already successful program and aligned it to current needs and conditions in order to serve more learners in IET programs. I look forward to hearing how the program works with these adult learners over the coming months. Please keep us updated as the program expands its impact across the state.
Members, how is your state adapting and adding to programs to meet the needs of adult learners in the current employment and job training landscape? Share your program developments with us!