Gov. Ralph Northam

Gov. Ralph Northam

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam today announced his proposed budget will include $145 million over two years to offer free community college tuition low- and middle-income students who pursue jobs in high-demand fields. 

The “Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back” initiative, or “G3” program, would cover tuition, fees and books for eligible students at the commonwealth’s two-year public institutions.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to get a good education and a good job, no matter who you are or how much money you have,” Northam (D) said in a statement. “This is an investment in equity and our economy—by helping Virginians get the skills they need, we’re building a world-class workforce while ensuring all Virginians can support themselves, their families, and their communities.”

The G3 program will target key industries including health care, information technology, skilled trades, public safety and early childhood education, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“With Virginia’s record low unemployment rate, businesses are hungry for skilled talent,” Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy said in a statement. “The G3 program will help Virginia businesses of all sizes fill open jobs, connect Virginians with the necessary training and credentials to find good-paying work, and grow the commonwealth’s economy.”

The program would require participants to sign a “community engagement agreement” and complete two hours of work experience, community service or public service for every credit hour enrolled, according to the news release. 

“With rising tuition costs, many Virginians are opting out of higher education,” Secretary of Education Atif Qarni said in a statement. “The G3 program provides affordable, accessible workforce pathways that will prepare the Commonwealth’s students for the growing number of high need jobs that do not require a four-year degree.”

Northam will address the joint money committees on Tuesday, Dec. 17 to share the full details of his budget plan, according to the news release. 

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(7) comments


Great decision by the Governor, the free tuition is tied to getting a career, in a high skill field in addition to meeting GPA requirements. This is a net benefit for everyone as it increases our skilled workforce and gets people to be self sufficient. People on here don't seem to understand this is for community college something that is significantly cheaper than four year school public or private and has is revenue positive.


So a student enrolled in 12 credits during a semester only has to volunteer back to the community for 24 hours during that semester. Doesn't seem enough.

Instead of tax dollars paying for the education, the root of the problem should be fixed, which is the high tuition rates by the colleges. Drop those and more people would attend, make a living, and become an asset to the community - regardless of income level.


The ignorance in this comment is astounding. In neighboring Tennessee, community college is free for all so long as GPA requirements are met. Here in Virginia it is more stringent and tied to pursuing a degree in a high-demand field as well.

Community Colleges in Virginia also offer technical training as well, by offering this service we are training future generations to enter fields in high demand thus lower unemployment and welfare doled out. This is a net benefit to taxpayers, as well as these recipients will be paying more in taxes as well. I highly suggest you read more about this before making comments.


So the people that worked hard and pay their loans are screwed. ? Now the va state tax payer is on the hook wether they graduate from these programs or not?. Not everyone is made to go into college. How about the ones that worked hard and payed off their loans?, How about getting rid of these inspections on cars and car tax and lowering or eliminating some of these tolls.


This takes the crown for most quixotic comment of the day. You obviously have no experience with the VCCS system, community college only costs about 1500 dollars a semester as compared to the much more expensive four year schools.

The plan is tied to keeping a high GPA and pursuing either a blue collar vocation or high demand fields like IT, Nursing or Cybersecurity. All areas in high demand in Virginia this program increased peoples potential earnings enabling them to contribute to society. This program is a net benefit and will increase the tax base enabling things like reducing tolls, or inspections in the long run. Don't be so nearsighted in your views.


what does he consider low and middle income please i need to know


Anyone that comes from south of 31.76 degrees north and pushes #2 on their phone's keypad.

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