VA Ready Receives Grant from the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation

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The $50,000 grant will further support Virginians whose employment has been impacted by Covid-19

“We’re so grateful not only for the financial support of this grant, but for the message of resiliency that The Richard S. Reynolds Foundation sends to our students."- Caren Merrick, CEO of VA Ready

The Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready), a 501(c)(3) public-private partnership dedicated to retraining unemployed Virginians and helping them secure in-demand positions, announced today that it has received a two-year grant of $50,000 from the Richmond-based Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, which provides assistance locally and beyond to community causes such as science, education, healthcare, the environment and the arts.

“Helping our fellow Virginians find career success during this national crisis is a natural extension of our work at the foundation,” said Richard S. Reynolds III, President of the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation. “We are excited to be able to provide support for VA Ready’s vital initiative.”

Richard S. Reynolds, known as the Aladdin of Aluminum, is the founder of Reynolds Metals Company,
which became one of the largest aluminum companies in the world and created the household product known as Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil at the close of World War II.

“We’re so grateful not only for the financial support of this grant, but for the message of resiliency that The Richard S. Reynolds Foundation sends to our students,” said Caren Merrick, CEO of VA Ready. “The story behind the foundation that’s given us this grant is a good reminder to our students that even during tough times like these, we can emerge better for it.”

Founded in response to the unemployment crisis, the Virginia Ready initiative represents the partnership between leading Commonwealth businesses and the Virginia Community College System (VCCS), who have joined together to incentivize motivated Virginians to retrain for careers in technology, healthcare, and other skilled trades.

Most of VA Ready’s credential training programs can be completed within 6-12 weeks, and students also have the option to take one of 30 pre-approved courses at all 23 VCCS community colleges through FastForward, a short-term workforce training program for high-demand jobs across the state.

As an added incentive, all those who complete their new credential are eligible for a $1,000 Credential Achievement Award, as well as the opportunity to interview at many of Virginia’s best companies.

As of today, more than 800 Virginians are already enrolled in the program. In September, the first cohort completed their credentials and moved on to full-time employment.

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

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 Virginians whose employment has been disrupted by the pandemic to 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 FastForward career training program offered by the Virginia Community College System's (VCCS) 23 colleges 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:

About The Richard S. Reynolds Foundation
The Richard S. Reynolds Foundation is a private, family foundation based in Richmond, Virginia. The foundation was established in 1955 by Julia Louise Reynolds to honor her husband, the late Richard S. Reynolds – founder of the Reynolds Metals Company and inventor of Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil. To date, the foundation has given over $58 million in grants to non-profit organizations that support the arts, education, environmental protection, historic preservation and health and medical research at every level. They often respond quickly to national and worldwide emergencies and have worked with everyone from national organizations and universities to local art groups, soup kitchens, health clinics and even youth baseball teams. Learn more at:

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