Workforce Credentials Bills Are Signed Into Law
Governor Terry McAuliffe signed HB 66 (Byron) and SB 576 (Ruff) into law in a ceremony on the south portico of the Capitol. The groundbreaking legislation establishes the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Program and Fund. This is the first performance-based model for noncredit workforce funding in the nation. The legislation is also accompanied by $12.5 million in new funding for SCHEV to administer the program ($4 million in FY 2017 and 8.5 million in FY 2018), an additional $3 million each year in the equipment trust fund, and $1.6 million for the veteran’s portal, marketing, and program administration of the credentials.
In addition to Delegate Byron, Senator Ruff, and Governor McAuliffe, other dignitaries present for the bills’ signing were Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, Secretary of Education Anne Holton, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones, Senator Ken Alexander, Senator Steve Newman, Senator Richard Saslaw, House Appropriations Chairman Chris Jones, Delegate Matthew James, and Delegate Thomas “Tag” Greason.
A Closer Look at the Budget
The budget is extremely favorable for the VCCS. In addition to funding for the new workforce credentials program, the budget includes an additional $15.4 million over two years to address institutional priorities to hire new faculty and to support the goals of access, affordability, quality and increased degrees. There is also $1.1 million each year and language to support veterans resource centers at the seven community colleges with the highest number of enrolled students who are veterans. Moreover, the budget contains $250,000 in each year to support the Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative.
Resolution commends the VCCS’s 50th Anniversary
HJR 515 (Landes) is a resolution which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Virginia Community College System. The resolution cites the VCCS’s 50-year track record of educational excellence and innovation in serving the needs of Virginians and strengthening the Commonwealth’s economy, its guaranteed admissions agreements, the number of students who have matriculated, the number of degrees and credentials awarded, and the contributions of its students.
The VCCS is very grateful to Delegate Landes for having introduced this resolution. Other members who signed on as co-patrons are Delegate Wilt, Senator Hanger, and Senator Dunnavant.
The total amount of the bond issue authorized for the Commonwealth is $2,067,651,677.
There are 9 VCCS projects that are included in the second enactment clause of the bills to move from detailed planning to construction. These projects will be financed through the Virginia College Building Authority. Four VCCS projects are included in the fourth enactment clause to be financed from the Central Capital Planning Fund, and will move to detailed planning.
The following VCCS projects are included in the bond bills to move to construction:
- Replace Phase I Academic and Administration Building, ESCC
- Renovation of Seefeldt Academic Building/Replace Building Envelope, Woodbridge Campus, NVCC
- Renovate Bird Hall and Renovate/Expand Nicholas Center, Chester Campus, JTCC
- Renovate Howsmon/Colgan Building, Manassas Campus, NVCC
- Construct Bioscience Building, BRCC
- Construct Academic Building, Fauquier Campus, LFCC
- Construct Student Service and Learning Resources Center, Christianna Campus, SVCC
- Major Mechanical, NVCC, NRCC, MECC
- Improve Life Safety and Security Systemwide, Phase I
The following projects are included to move to detailed planning:
- Replace French Slaughter Building, Locust Grove, Germanna
- Renovate Diggs/Moore/Harrison Complex, TNCC Hampton
- Construct Advanced Technical Training Center, PVCC
- Renovate Amherst/Campbell Hall, CVCC
The appropriations for all of the projects to be financed by the Virginia Public Building Authority (e.g., parks, museums, corrections projects) as well as the list of all projects moving to detailed planning are contingent on funding being released for projects under contract for construction that were approved in the 2014 session of the General Assembly. This means that state contracts for a new General Assembly Building, a new parking deck, and the renovation of Old City Hall will have to proceed in order for the projects in the first enactment clause (VPBA-financed projects) and the fourth enactment clause (detailed planning projects) to move forward.
Both bodies adopted the budget bills Saturday night, and the General Assembly adjourned sine die for the 2016 session.
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