A major initiative to make community college career training more affordable for low and moderate income Virginians is back before the General Assembly session that will begin next month.
Governor Ralph Northam urged members of legislative budget committees this week to revive the project, which had to be shelved when the coronavirus pandemic forced a sudden economic slow-down. But armed with more optimistic state revenue forecasts, Northam said the time is right to restore G3.
G3 (“Get a Skill, Get a Job, Give Back”) is a is a targeted program that would provide extra financial assistance to low-and-middle-income Virginians who seek training in the fields of healthcare, information technology and computer science, manufacturing and skilled trades, early childhood education, and public safety.
The governor is proposing lawmakers allocate $36 million for G3 in the budget year that begins next July 1. That’s comparable to the amount that had to be suspended in the current budget year.
“For those folks who have seen their jobs disappear during this pandemic, G3 could be a lifeline. That’s why I have prioritized this important investment,” said Northam on Wednesday. “We have put a special focus on the second year of the budget, which starts next July. By then, we hope most Virginians will be vaccinated, and our society—and economy—will have begun returning to more normal activities.”
The G3 program would make targeted community college courses free or available at very low cost for qualifying Virginians, and
VCCS Chancellor Glenn DuBois is urging college presidents statewide to reach out to Virginia lawmakers to promote funding for G3. The legislative session begins January 13.
Read more about the governor’s budget proposals here.