The Virginia Ready Initiative (VA Ready), a non-profit dedicated to retraining unemployed Virginians across the Commonwealth and helping them return quickly to work, welcomed Bank of America today as the Initiative’s newest Strategic Business Partner.

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“Bank of America is the ideal partner for VA Ready, because just like all our other great business partners, they’re committed to helping people throughout Virginia get back to work,” said Glenn A. Youngkin, chairman and co-founder of VA Ready. “Our mission is to retrain Virginians for today’s workforce and help place them in high-demand jobs, and business partners like Bank of America are absolutely critical for achieving that goal. We’re grateful for their partnership.”

VA Ready was launched in June 2020 in response to the unprecedented impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on unemployment in the Commonwealth. Partnering with leading businesses and Virginia’s community colleges, VA Ready equips people currently out of work with skills required to land jobs in high-growth sectors.

“VA Ready has built a platform for business leaders in Virginia to work together and create a pipeline for trained, certified people with the skills employers need now” said Larry Di Rita, Bank of America’s market president for Greater Washington DC. “It is a proven approach that Bank of America is following elsewhere across the country.”

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more than one million Virginians have filed claims for unemployment benefits. Hardest hit by the economic downturn have been low-wage earners and minority communities. At the same time, demand is projected to grow for specialized jobs in the fields of technology, healthcare, manufacturing and other skilled trades.

“Virginia’s strength lies in its people and its business partners,” said Caren Merrick, CEO of VA Ready. “By working together, thousands of out-of-work Virginians will be able to secure new employment while Virginia businesses will be able to hire more of the skilled workers they need.”

VA Ready rewards out-of-work Virginians who commit themselves to training for these in-demand jobs. Through FastForward, a state-led short-term workforce credential program to train Virginians for in-demand jobs across the Commonwealth, students can take pre-approved classes at any of the Virginia Community College System’s (VCCS) 23 community colleges. Upon achieving their credential, VA Ready Scholars receive a $1,000 Credential Achievement Award and are offered opportunities to interview with VA Ready’s business partners.

As a VA Ready Strategic Business Partner, Bank of America will be supporting the initiative in several important ways, including:
    Financial support for Credential Achievement Awards and awareness efforts;
    Input on offerings and curricula to VA Ready’s Talent Task Force with VCCS to ensure training program success;
    Participation in the VA Ready Job Exchange, providing job interview opportunities to VA Ready Scholars.

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