Virginia Ready Enrollment Reaches 2,000 Scholars

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Over the past year, VA Ready has helped two thousand Virginians redefine what it means to be skilled and valued members of the workforce

“Virginia’s economy has begun to improve as Covid-19 cases have decreased and vaccinations have increased, but there are still many Virginians trying to reenter the workforce or reskill into an entirely new industry where good, family sustaining jobs are open."- Caren Merrick, CEO of VA Ready

The Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready), a 501(c)(3) public-private partnership dedicated to reskilling Virginians and helping them secure in-demand positions, today celebrates the enrollment of 2,000 Scholars across the state.

“The state of Virginia’s economy has begun to improve as Covid-19 cases have decreased and vaccinations have increased, but there are still many Virginians trying to reenter the workforce or reskill into an entirely new industry where good, family sustaining jobs are open,” said Caren Merrick, chief executive officer of VA Ready. “We’ve reached 2,000 of them within the past year alone and we plan to keep forging ahead until every Virginian who wants to learn a new skill and advance their career has been given the opportunity to reskill and reenvision their path toward success.”

VA Ready was founded with a mission of helping VA residents gain new skills and find careers for in-demand industries like healthcare, technology, cybersecurity, manufacturing, and skilled trades.

The initiative provides many incentives for people to gain new skills in accelerated training courses when they enroll in any VA Ready-approved FastForward course with the Virginia Community College System. After completing their course and their credential, Scholars will receive a $1,000 Credential Achievement Award. And, due to a variety of funding opportunities through the FastForward program, the courses are often entirely free of charge.

VA Ready Scholars are motivated, passionate, and bold, and they are challenging outdated notions that assume a college degree is a necessary key to success. VA Ready Scholars have the grit and work ethic to complete rigorous, accelerated training.

Once they complete their credentials, Scholars have the unique opportunity to interview with VA Ready’s 24 business partners, including EY, Bank of America, Genworth Financial, Dominion Energy, Sentara, PwC, Huntington Ingalls, Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and many others.

Reaching an enrollment threshold of 2,000 Scholars has been the highlight of VA Ready’s work so far. Of those Scholars currently enrolled, 44% are Black, and 55% are women, and there are many more Virginians ready to reskill and qualify for in-demand jobs. With that in mind, VA Ready is happy to announce that the eligibility criteria for credentialing programs has expanded to include any Virginian willing and ready to make a change and reskill into an in-demand industry, regardless of employment status. VA Ready is also expanding eligibility to transitioning veterans and their spouses.

“When we first started, our goal was to help all those impacted by the pandemic improve their economic situation and get back to work,” added Merrick. “But we believe that every motivated Virginian should have the opportunity to take charge of their life, learn a new skill and strengthen the Commonwealth's workforce for the future.”

For more information about the VA Ready Initiative, to apply for the program, and companies looking for skilled, credentialed workers in healthcare, manufacturing and skilled trades, and IT and cybersecurity, visit https://vaready.org/

About the Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready)
VA Ready is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that launched in June 2020 with a mission to help thousands ofVirginians access the short-term training needed to find jobs in today’s most in-demand industries. With its Public-Private-Partnership design, VA Ready brings together the Virginia Community College System's (VCCS) 23 colleges, the Commonwealth's FastForward program, and more than 20 business partners who employ millions of Virginians. VA Ready Scholars have access to 34 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 employment opportunities. Learn more at http://www.vaready.org

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Nicole Tidei
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