Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Governor McAuliffe’s legislative proposals to fill skilled workforce gap

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam

Adolph Brown, IV, a recent graduate of Virginia State University added, “Student loans are often young people’s first experience taking on debt. I’m glad the Lt. Governor and Governor will work together to provide resources to help young people navigate the unfamiliar and complicated system.”

BLACKSBURG – Governor Terry McAuliffe and Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam today announced a series of legislative proposals aimed at building the new Virginia economy by expanding education opportunities and strengthening workforce development.

“We have a world-class higher education system here in the Commonwealth,” Lt. Gov. Northam said. “Today we announced legislation aimed at making sure every young Virginian has the opportunity to pursue higher education without drowning in debt. Greater access to apprenticeship programs across the state will help make sure students are equipped to enter the workforce.”

“Working together with legislators, stakeholders, advocates, agencies, and local leaders, I am proud to say that over the past three years, we have brought Virginia’s education and workforce into the 21st century,” said Governor McAuliffe. “But there is still more to do.

The Governor’s legislative package will build on the budget he introduced in December, which does not make any program cuts to K-12 education, despite the Commonwealth’s revenue shortfall he said.

Secretary of Education Dietra Trent said, “this legislation furthers the Governor’s goal of bringing education into the 21st century and ensures that more students will be successful in the workforce of the future.”

“Today’s announcement furthers the Governor’s commitment to filling the number of skilled and technical jobs that the new Virginia economy needs by building on previous years’ bipartisan efforts,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore.

The education and workforce bills in the Governor’s legislative package include:

A Full-Time Virtual Education Option: Expands access to virtual education by requiring each school division to provide a free, full-time virtual learning option to students in grades K-12, ensuring students have access to 21st century educational opportunities.

Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program Reform: Provides a variety of innovative incentives for more students to graduate on time with less debt by expanding eligibility, tying students’ awards to staying on a four-year graduation track, and giving universities the option to award larger grant amounts to students as they progress. The Governor’s proposed legislation will also remove the requirement that grant recipients be dependents of parents or another custodian in order to expand access to non-traditional students.

Foster Care Tuition Grant: Expands the pool of recipients eligible for the Virginia Community College System’s Foster Care tuition grant program by opening it up to students pursuing non-credit workforce credentials, increasing access to training that leads to good-paying jobs.

College Credits for Apprenticeships: Requires community colleges to have policies and procedures in place for awarding college credits for apprenticeship related instruction, expanding access to in-demand credentials for non-traditional students.

Youth Entrepreneurship: Allows entrepreneurs under 25 to register their E-mail, instead of a physical address, with the State Corporation Commission, eliminating a significant barrier for college students and young adults and encouraging more students to pursue business ventures.

State Licensure of Student Loan Services: Grants the Virginia State Corporation Commission the authority to regulate student loan servicers to minimize potential predatory practices and establishes a state ombudsman to provide guidance and direction to students regarding their rights and responsibilities as borrowers, providing the Commonwealth’s students with essential financial protection.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Education, Politics, State Politics

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