As typically happens in a “long” session of the General Assembly, committees geared up this week, but very few bills moved forward. To date, 2421 bills have been filed, and 2167 are still pending. The deadline for bills to be filed is at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow. That means that there will be a flurry of activity over the next several weeks as the February 16 crossover deadline approaches.
Budget amendments that were filed last Friday are now available online. We are reviewing the budget amendments and identifying any which affect the VCCS. The House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee consider the Governor’s introduced budget and the budget amendments in their respective subcommittees, and report out their versions of the budget on February 21.
Workforce Credentials Plan Gains Traction
The Governor’s introduced budget contains $24.6 million in the 2016-2018 biennium to make workforce credentials offered through the Virginia Community College System more affordable and available for Virginia residents. In addition, five bills (HB 66, HB 792, HB 1206, SB 575, and SB 576 have been filed, which offer varying policy outlines for distributing the funding.
The list of current industry credentials offered, by college, can be found at http://www.vccs.edu/workforce/industry-credentials/. This website contains a listing of over 400 credentials currently delivered through Virginia’s 23 community colleges, where they are offered, whether the course is credit or non-credit, the industry cluster represented, and the entity that awards the credentials.
The workforce credentials plan gained an important endorsement on January 7 when the Virginia Business Council adopted a resolution supporting and endorsing the plan. The VBC represents 34 major Virginia companies including Altria, Capital One, and Dominion Resources and is chaired by Mike Petters, the Chairman of Huntington Ingalls Industries who is also the former Chairman of the State Board for Community Colleges.
As the plan gains momentum, please continue to deliver these points to legislators:
- Stress the priority of maintaining $24.6 million in funding as the budget moves its way through the legislative process. Important decision-makers will be members of the Higher Education Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee (Cox–Chairman, Massie, Greason, Knight, Anderson, Rush, Hester, Sickles ) and members of the Education Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee (Norment—Chairman, Newman, Howell, Saslaw, Hanger, and Ruff.
- Emphasize the importance of Virginia’s 23 community colleges in having the lead role in providing the workforce credentials and receiving the benefit of the new funding.
General Assembly Floor and Committee Meetings Cancelled Tomorrow; Bill Filing Deadline is Tomorrow
All committee and floor sessions of the General Assembly have been cancelled for tomorrow because of the statewide snow forecast.
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