Big Stone Gap, VA – Mountain Empire Community College will receive more than $782,000 to assist residents of Lee, Wise, Scott, and Dickenson Counties and the city of Norton who are interested or are currently enrolled in high demand fields and have been impacted by COVID-19.
Governor Ralph Northam announced Friday that Virginia is allocating $30 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars as part of the new Re-Employing Virginians (REV) initiative which will provide scholarships to eligible individuals to enroll in a workforce or community college program in five essential industries, including health care, information technology, skilled trades, public safety, and early childhood education.
For a limited time, MECC students as well as those considering enrollment, who are unemployed and underemployed, are eligible for a training voucher to pay for the cost of enrolling in a high-demand workforce education program. To receive a voucher, individuals must self-certify that (1) they are a Virginia resident (2) received unemployment benefits on or after August 1, 2020 or that they are working in a part-time job with an hourly wage under $15 after losing a full-time job due to COVID-19 and (3) enroll in an eligible program before December 14, 2020. Students and interested individuals are encouraged to visit www.mecc.edu/rev. For more information related to eligible career paths and financial assistance.
Those enrolling at MECC choosing short-term workforce training would receive up to $1500 applied to their student account. Those choosing to pursue a career studies certificate, or an associate degree would receive up to $1,500 as a part-time student or up to $3,000 as a full-time student, which would cover the full cost of tuition for one year.
Dr. Kristen Westover, MECC President said, “Statistics show that those with less education were hit hardest by COVID-19 job losses. This is an incredible opportunity for individuals whose jobs have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The certification process is quick and simple. For anyone who is unemployed or working part time making less than $15 an hour because of COVID-19, it is a great opportunity to receive education and training that may provide more job security in the future.”
“If you have lost your job, or seen a reduction in your hours and paycheck, Virginia’s community colleges want to help you,” said Glenn DuBois, Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System. “The REV initiative offers you another way into the short-term credential and degree programs that prepare you for a high-demand career. These opportunities will be more affordable than ever before thanks to these grants, and we look forward to helping individuals and families who want to move forward, beyond the unexpected challenges posed by the pandemic.”
For more information on MECC’s REV program, please visit www.mecc.edu/rev or call MECC’s Office of Enrollment Services at 276.523.2400 ext. 474.