What is VA Ready?

VA Ready connects motivated, employment-disrupted Virginians to credential programs at Virginia Community Colleges, and provides a $1,000 Credential Achievement Award.


Who is eligible to enroll in VA Ready?

VA Ready is open to motivated, Virginians whose employment has been disrupted by the pandemic (COVID-19) and who enroll in one of the VA Ready approved credential courses within the FastForward program at one of Virginia’s community colleges.


Do scholars have to be unemployed to be eligible?

No. One of VA Ready’s primary objectives is to address the unprecedented employment crisis caused in large part by COVID-19. We believe we can make the most impact by helping people who are out of work when they enroll to gain the skills necessary to fill in-demand jobs. VA Ready Scholars may in fact find employment while they work to complete their training program. We also believe that the pandemic has caused many Virginians’ employment to be disrupted and therefore want to support these scholars as they earn their credentials and re-start a better career.


Does my employment disruption have to be caused by COVID-19 to be eligible?

No. While VA Ready started as a response to the unprecedented employment crisis caused in large part by COVID-19, it is not exclusive to those who lost their jobs as a result of virus-related shutdowns. Any Virginian who has experience employment disruption and enrolls in one of the eligible FastForward credential programs beginning in the August 2020 class cycle can register for VA Ready.


How is “employment disruption” defined?

Employment disruption is defined as someone having their employment circumstances change as a result of COVID-19. Specifically, this could include being laid-off, furloughed or now without steady,full-time work. It might include someone working more than one part-time job to make ends meet.


What will the scholar journey look like?

Follow these simple steps to complete your student journey:

Enroll in a VA Ready approved credential course through the FastForward program in the Virginia Community College System
Come back to this site and sign the VA Ready Scholar Agreement
Stay in contact with us during the term of your training program
Earn your credential and verify with VA Ready
Receive your $1,000 Credential Achievement Award
Explore VA Ready’s Job Exchange to see what jobs might be available for you


Where will the credentialing programs be available?

Virginia is home to 23 community colleges spread across the commonwealth, and each college offers various credential programs that are eligible for VA Ready support. To find out which programs are available at each college, visit our Education Partners page.


What is a Credential Achievement Award?

VA Ready scholars who complete one of the eligible programs and obtain the relevant credential will receive a Credential Achievement Award in the amount of $1,000. The FastForward program will have already covered 2/3 of the tuition.


Will students who receive scholarships or other financial aid for their tuition be eligible for a Credential Achievement Award?

Yes, students who received scholarships or other financial aid to cover the portion of their tuition not already covered by FastForward will still be eligible to receive a Credential Achievement Award from VA Ready.


Will VA Ready scholars be required to interview for jobs at VA Ready business partners?

No. When available, VA Ready scholars will have the opportunity to interview with Business Partners in the field they studied, but scholars are not required to participate in an interview. All scholars who complete their program and earn a credential will be eligible for the $1,000 Credential Achievement Award, regardless of whether they participate in a VA Ready-affiliated job interview.


How did you choose the eligible programs?

FastForward offers roughly 400 training and credential programs. VA Ready used a rigorous approach to identify approximately 30 in-demand occupations across three broad industry categories that are eligible for this supplementary program. We focused on occupations with the most need for skilled workers, the skills that can be acquired through short-term programs, and programs that are already part of Virginia’s FastForward initiative.


Can I continue to receive unemployment benefits while enrolled in a VA Ready training program?

Yes, VA Ready Scholars can continue to receive unemployment benefits while enrolled in a training program.

Do I pay taxes on my $1,000 Credential Achievement Award?

It depends on your income. For more information on who should and how to properly file your taxes, please consult the Virginia Department of Taxation.