Virginia governor announces G3 program as part of budget

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV)— On Tuesday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam presented his proposed budget for fiscal years 2020-2022. The $135 billion two-year plan includes a proposal that would create a tuition-free community college program for low and middle-income students.

Health care classes, among other programs, offered at BRCC would be included in the G3 program, according to the college. | Credit: WHSV

Blue Ridge Community College said it would include quite a few classes they offer.

It's called the "Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back" initiative, or G3. The program would provide support to cover tuition, fees and books at two year institutions.

The program is directed at coursework for key industries, like health care, information technology and skilled trades. BRCC said many of the programs they offer will qualify and they think it will help encourage people to enroll.

"Not as many are enrolling in these programs because they can get a job and start working right away," Dr. Bob Young, vice president of instruction and student services, said. "This will incentivize them to come get that additional training."

Dr. Young said there's a demand in the area for skilled workers and they have the programs needed. He added students often feel like the cost of the programs puts them out of reach.

According to a press release from Northam's office, the program would provide "wraparound financial assistance" to help with expenses like food, transportation, and childcare.

Dr. Young said the program will benefit students and the community.

"It's so important to have a workforce that's fully trained to be able to attract manufacturers to come here and also to keep our manufacturers here healthy."

Dr. Young said they'll monitor the proposal and any changes as the budget makes it way through the General Assembly.