The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a supplemental appropriations resolution to accept funding on behalf of the Department of Family Services.
The County accepted $1.5 million from the Virginia Community College System to be used for the Re-Employing Virginians Educational Voucher program. Residents that qualify must have lost their employment due to the pandemic and received unemployment benefits on or after Aug. 1.
Residents can also qualify if they were laid off from a full-time position due to the pandemic and are now working a part-time job that earns less than $15 an hour.
The program’s vouchers can be used to offset a program participant’s cost of enrollment for any eligible training provider that offers training in information technology, manufactured and skilled trades, healthcare, early childhood education, or public safety.
Eligible students will be awarded an amount based on their class loads. Students in short term training programs will be awarded a maximum amount of $1,000, part-time students who take less than 12 hours of course work will be awarded a maximum of $1,500, and full-time students with 12 or more hours of course work will be awarded a maximum of $3,000.
According to a memorandum of understanding between the County and the VCCS the only ones not eligible to participate in the program are DACA students and duel enrollment students.
One such training provider, the Sterling-based company Intellectual Point has already posted information for the program on their website. In addition to information about the voucher program they also list services that would be provided to eligible students which in addition to the training would also include career coaching, resume and interview assistance, access to online job fairs, and financial coaching and related workshops.
The funding for the program comes from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund which was authorized by Governor Ralph Northam. The fund was created to address the economic impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic which includes the loss of employment for workers.
There is however a deadline to when this money can be spent as the state set the date of Dec. 30 as when the training must be completed in accordance with federal CARES Act legislation. Any unspent funds would revert back to the state and Fairfax County is under no obligation to continue the training program.
The Department of Family Services Employment and Training Program operates the Virginia CareerWorks One Stop Centers in the northern area as part of the public workforce development system. The program also administers funding for other programs such as the Workforce Opportunity and Investment Act as well as The Virginia Initiative for Education and Work.
The program also funds the employment component for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program also known as SNAP.