The state of Virginia is planning to make its community college free for low- and middle-income students, Governor Ralph Northam announced on Thursday.
Under the “Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back” initiative (G3), the state will provide financial support to eligible students in the form of tuition, fees, and books.
The G3 initiative gives wraparound financial assistance to help students at the lowest income levels with expenses such as food, transportation, and childcare.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to get a good education and a good job, no matter who you are or how much money you have,” Governor Northam said.
“This is an investment in equity and our economy—by helping Virginians get the skills they need, we’re building a world-class workforce while ensuring all Virginians can support themselves, their families, and their communities.”
The initiative will target industries, from health care and information technology to skilled trades, public safety, and early childhood education.
Eligible students would be required to sign a Community Engagement Agreement and complete two hours of work experience, community service, or public service for every credit hour enrolled.
“This large investment will help tens of thousands of Virginians earn the skills needed to fully participate in our 21st century economy,” said Glenn Dubois, Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System.
“With the redesign of our workforce programs, we are ready to make sure all Virginians can get the right skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”