Program Objectives are reached through a Competitive Education Grant Program, Workforce Financial Aid and the Loan Repayment Talent Attraction Program (TAP).
The Competitive Education program funds initiatives designed to assist residents of the tobacco region in obtaining levels of education previously not promoted, or available, in the region. The program focuses on ways to increase the education and skill levels of the region’s labor pools, as a method to attract and retain employers. Objectives for this funding are to enhance workforce readiness through support for proven and/or innovative programs, and to focus on “gaps” between education supply and occupational demand with emphasis on post-secondary STEM-H and advanced manufacturing career skills. The FY24 applications were due July 28, 2023.
FY24 Competitive Education:
Workforce Financial Aid
Funding for Workforce Financial Aid is made available to Community Colleges, the Higher Education Centers in Southern and Southwest Virginia, along with New College Institute, to serve students residing in the tobacco region, based on the following priorities in order:
- Workforce Credentials – Short-term, non-credit certificates approved by the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) under the Fast Forward training program
- Non-G3 Eligible Programs in STEM-H and Advanced Manufacturing
- G3 Eligible Programs in Stem-H and Advanced Manufacturing
- High-demand occupations (to be approved by TRRC).
The current FY23 Commission budget has $2.2 million available to support Workforce Financial Aid grants in the 2023-24 school year. Tier I Requests: Community Colleges where the majority of the student population is from TRRC localities may apply for up to $240,000. Tier II Requests: Community Colleges without a majority of TRRC localities in service area, and Higher Education Centers in the region may apply for up to $100,000.
- Tier I Community Colleges: Central Virginia, Danville, Mountain Empire, Patrick & Henry, Southside Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Virginia Highlands, Wytheville
- Tier II Community Colleges and Higher Education Centers: Brightpoint, New River, Virginia Western; New College Institute, Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center.
For students receiving FastForward Workforce Credential funding, the commission will support one-sixth of the cost of the training program and certification, (half of the one-third share the student is responsible for) with the remainder to be covered by FFWC and potentially state FANTIC funds or other sources. However, please note the Education Committee has agreed to allow up to 50% tuition reimbursement for FFWC-eligible training cohorts that are conducted during periods when FFWC funding is not available due to state funding limitations.
2023 – 2024 Workforce Financial Aid: