Student and instructor in PPE doing a simulator training

What’s new at Virginia’s Community Colleges?

  •   3 min read
Career Coach Advice

After a long year of pivots, virtual learning and extra precautions, things are slowly and cautiously starting to return to normal, or at least a new normal.

The same goes for FastForward’s workforce training at community colleges across Virginia.

We chatted with some of our career coaches about what’s new and newsworthy to share with students and future students, and there were a few common themes: COVID-19 protocols, being proactive about classes and new financial aid sources.

COVID-19 and Returning to Campus

Danville Community College will be returning to classes on campus in August. Some schools are continuing with a hybrid model. And then there is College Anywhere Virginia, an initiative that offers all the online courses offered by all 23 Virginia community colleges, so individuals can take single courses or complete a degree from virtually anywhere. Be sure to tune in to your local community college’s website and social media channels to keep up with how they are approaching learning this summer and fall.

Being Proactive

New programs are being added all the time, and Emily Richardson, career coach at Tidewater Community College, encourages students to check back often. Both Tyler and Reynolds Community College are adding plumbing as a new FastForward program starting in June. We encourage students to routinely check the course catalog, so they do not miss out on a new program.

New Funding and Aid

Career coach Lisha Wolfe at Paul D. Camp Community College highlights that there are several new funding streams for which students may qualify.

  • REV: The Re-Employing Virginians (REV) initiative helps current and future students cover the cost of tuition and fees in fields that will lead to careers. If you are unemployed or underemployed due to COVID-19 you can receive up to $3,000 for short-term training or certification programs.
  • G3: Launching July 1, 2021, G3 is a training and education program for students with a family income of less than $100,000. The program will pay for any remaining tuition or fees after other grants and scholarships are spent. So, after other grants and scholarships are taken into consideration, these trainings will essentially be free of charge for students who qualify. While the program doesn’t start until July 1, by signing up early with your local community college, staff can help start the process and save your spot. Visit www.vccs.edu/g3.
  • Virginia Ready: The Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready) is a non-profit organization providing incentives for motivated, out-of-work Virginians to reskill for in-demand jobs in high-growth sectors. Anyone who is currently unemployed and eligible to enroll in a FastForward program is qualified to become a VA Ready Scholar. Upon achieving their new credential in one of the selected FastForward training programs, VA Ready Scholars will receive a $1,000 Credential Achievement Award and be offered opportunities to interview at many of Virginia’s best companies.

If there is another common thread among our conversations with career coaches, it’s that they’re all here to help. Whether you are wondering how your local community college plans to return to campus post pandemic, need help navigating funding and aid or course selection, reach out and schedule a time to chat.