The Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready), is a newly established nonprofit organization formed in response to the economic hardships created by COVID-19. VA Ready is a dynamic partnership with 20 of the Commonwealth’s leading businesses and the Virginia Community College System’s 23 community colleges, to retrain and equip out of work Virginians who want to gain the required skills for in-demand jobs in high-growth sectors.

VA Ready provides incentives for motivated, out-of-work Virginians to reskill for in-demand jobs in high-growth sectors. Upon achieving their new credential in one of approximately 30 selected training programs, “VA Ready Scholars” receive a $1,000 Credential Achievement Award and will be offered opportunities to interview at many of Virginia’s best companies.

An Unprecedented Moment

As the economic fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready) formed with the urgent need to get Virginians back to work. Even as the Commonwealth begins to re-open, it will take time for jobs to recover, and many may never come back at all.

The data is distressing — Virginia’s newly filed unemployment claims approached 875,000 by June of 2020. This impact has disproportionately been felt both by workers in lower paid industries (e.g., food service, accommodation) and by racial minorities.

Meanwhile, many Virginia companies, particularly in fields such as computer and cyber, healthcare and manufacturing/skilled trades, persistently face challenges finding talent. These occupations are expected to remain in demand over the coming years, providing opportunities for employment across Virginia. Re-equipping the recently out-of-work with the skills to succeed in in-demand jobs in high-growth sectors is the key to getting Virginians back to work quickly.