Thursday, December 7, 2023

New initiative provides job training for unemployed Virginians

The Virginia Ready Initiative is a new nonprofit that provides training opportunities for unemployed Virginians. (WYDaily/Virginia Ready Initiative Facebook)
The Virginia Ready Initiative is a new nonprofit that provides training opportunities for unemployed Virginians. (WYDaily/Virginia Ready Initiative Facebook)

A new nonprofit is now available to help the unprecedented number of unemployed people return to the workforce.

The Virginia Ready Initiative started in June as a resource for unemployed Virginians to train for in-demand jobs and reenter the workforce quickly, according to the nonprofit’s website.

The program was created in partnership with Virginia businesses, community colleges and the FastForward Workforce Credential program.

The FastFoward Workforce program will cover two-thirds of the tuition for the training programs and once a participant is certified, the Virginia Ready Initiative will provide a $1,000 credential achievement award.

Participants have the opportunity to study for careers in three broad industries, technology, health care and skilled trades. These three industries are determined as most needing skilled workers, meaning the skills can be acquired through short-term programs. Many of these programs are already part of Virginia’s FastFoward Workforce Credential Program, which is offered at most community colleges.

Those interested can research their interests from an approved list of credential programs in the three industries. The programs include:

  • CompTIA A+ for a career as a Computer User Support Specialists.
  • CompTIA Security+ and Certified Professional and Ethical Hacker for a career as a Information Security Analyst.
  • CompTIA Network+ and CompTIA Linux+ for a career as a network and computer systems administrator.
  • CISCO Networking Technician and Associate, CompTIA IT Fundamentals, Comp TIA Server+, AWS Cloud Practitioner, AWS Certified Solutions Architect for a career as a computer network support specialist.
  • Medical Assistant program for a career as a medical assistant.
  • Certified Nurse Aide and Medication Aide for a career as nursing assistant.
  • Phlebotomy program for a career as a phlebotomy technician.
  • Pharmacy technician program.
  • Billing and Coding Specialist and Professional Coder programs for a career as a medical records and health information technicians.
  • Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic programs.
  • Medical administrative assistant and medical scribe programs for a career as a medical secretary.
  • EKG Technologies program for a career as a technician.
  • Programs in welding and Marine trade training for a career as a welder, cutter, solderer and brazer.
  • Power Line Worker program for a career as a electrical power-line installer and repairer.
  • Machining program for a career as a machinist. 
  • Electrical Systems program for a career as an electrician.
  • HVAC technician program for a career as in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics.
  • Plumbing, pipe fitting and steamfitting program for a career as a plumber and electrician.
  • Commercial Driver’s License A program for a career as a heavy and tractor trailer truck driver.

Those interested will speak to a coach with the FastFoward program to learn which training opportunity is available based on location.

Participants must be unemployed to qualify for the program. This is to help address the unemployment crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic by teaching workers the skills needed for in-demand jobs. 

However, a person’s unemployment does not have to be in relation to the pandemic to participate in the program. Any unemployed Virginian is eligible for the FastForward credential program and can register for classes.

Participants will also continue to receive unemployment benefits while taking part in the program.

Participants are required to sign a Ready Scholar Agreement form then they can start their program and earn their credentials. Once they register their credentials with the Virginia Ready Initiative, participants will receive a $1,000 credential achievement award and can interview with the program’s business partners.

For more information, visit the Virginia Ready Initiative online.


Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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