VA Ready Introduces Bank of America as First Bank to Become Strategic Partner in Initiative to Get Virginians Back to Work

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Bank of America joins 20 other leading businesses to incentivize rapid retraining for the recently unemployed across the commonwealth

“Our mission is to retrain Virginians for today’s workforce and help place them in high-demand jobs, and business partners like Bank of America are absolutely critical for achieving that goal. We’re grateful for their partnership.” -Glenn A. Youngkin, chairman and co-founder of VA Ready

The Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready), a non-profit dedicated to retraining unemployed Virginians across the Commonwealth and helping them return quickly to work, welcomed Bank of America today as the Initiative’s newest Strategic Business Partner.

“Bank of America is the ideal partner for VA Ready, because just like all our other great business partners, they’re committed to helping people throughout Virginia get back to work,” said Glenn A. Youngkin, chairman and co-founder of VA Ready. “Our mission is to retrain Virginians for today’s workforce and help place them in high-demand jobs, and business partners like Bank of America are absolutely critical for achieving that goal. We’re grateful for their partnership.”

VA Ready was launched in June 2020 in response to the unprecedented impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on unemployment in the Commonwealth. Partnering with leading businesses and Virginia’s community colleges, VA Ready equips people currently out of work with skills required to land jobs in high-growth sectors.

“VA Ready has built a platform for business leaders in Virginia to work together and create a pipeline for trained, certified people with the skills employers need now” said Larry Di Rita, Bank of America's market president for Greater Washington DC. “It is a proven approach that Bank of America is following elsewhere across the country.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more than one million Virginians have filed claims for unemployment benefits. Hardest hit by the economic downturn have been low-wage earners and minority communities. At the same time, demand is projected to grow for specialized jobs in the fields of technology, healthcare, manufacturing and other skilled trades.

“Virginia’s strength lies in its people and its business partners,” said Caren Merrick, CEO of VA Ready. “By working together, thousands of out-of-work Virginians will be able to secure new employment while Virginia businesses will be able to hire more of the skilled workers they need.”

VA Ready rewards out-of-work Virginians who commit themselves to training for these in-demand jobs. Through FastForward, a state-led short-term workforce credential program to train Virginians for in-demand jobs across the Commonwealth, students can take pre-approved classes at any of the Virginia Community College System’s (VCCS) 23 community colleges. Upon achieving their credential, VA Ready Scholars receive a $1,000 Credential Achievement Award and are offered opportunities to interview with VA Ready’s business partners.

As a VA Ready Strategic Business Partner, Bank of America will be supporting the initiative in several important ways, including:
    Financial support for Credential Achievement Awards and awareness efforts;
    Input on offerings and curricula to VA Ready’s Talent Task Force with VCCS to ensure training program success;
    Participation in the VA Ready Job Exchange, providing job interview opportunities to VA Ready Scholars.

For more information on VA Ready – including how the recently unemployed can apply, or how a business can become an employer partner – visit http://www.vaready.org.

About Bank of America

At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive.
An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with Bank of American on Twitter (@BofA_News).

About the Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready)

VA Ready is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization launched in June 2020 to retrain Virginians impacted by the economic hardships created by COVID-19. VA Ready’s mission is to help thousands of unemployed Virginians access the short-term training needed to get back to work in today’s most in-demand jobs. With its Public-Private-Partnership design, VA Ready brings together the Virginia Community College System's (VCCS) 23 colleges and their FastForward career training program, and more than 20 business partners who employ millions of Virginians. VA Ready Scholars have access to 30 healthcare, technology and other skilled training programs; learn the skills needed to secure one of today's most in-demand positions; receive $1,000 upon credential completion; and are connected to VA Ready's business partners for interview opportunities. Learn more at http://www.vaready.org

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Nicole Tidei
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