A little more than two years ago, Thomas Nelson was awarded a planning grant from the state for a program called “G3,” which stands for “Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back.” In Virginia’s General Assembly session that adjourned March 1, the state budget included $36 million for the statewide initiative the covers the 23 institutions in the Virginia Community College System.
“The G3 program is designed to support our community by providing tuition dollars for students to become qualified and credentialed in high-demand and high-paying jobs here on the Peninsula and across the commonwealth,” said Dr. Susan English, the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Thomas Nelson. “We encourage any interested person to reach out to Thomas Nelson to get started on a new skill or up-skill within a career pathway. These dollars help us support the folks in our community — and that is the purpose and mission of the College.”
The G3 program was proposed by then Lieutenant Gov. Ralph Northam, now the governor, in 2017. Ellen Davenport, the VCCS governmental Affairs Vice Chancellor, said the budget, which is for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, is on its way to the governor for his signature after being approved by both the Senate and the House of Delegates.
“The G3 program eliminates many financial barriers that previously made college education inaccessible for low-and middle-income members of our community,” said Thomas Nelson President Dr. Porter Brannon. “The program will provide wraparound financial assistance to help students at the lowest income levels with expenses such as food, transportation, and childcare. The G3 program is a game-changer in our college’s ability to build a world-class workforce, and I am incredibly thankful to our local legislators for making this investment in our community.”
The budget includes money for outreach and marketing, as well as an estimated 60 new advisers throughout the VCCS.
“The program and funding would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of State Board members, VCCS presidents, and other stakeholders who advocated enthusiastically and tirelessly for months,” Davenport wrote in an email to the VCCS community.
When Thomas Nelson applied for the planning grant in 2019, it identified 10 programs that could be of benefit, and lead to an associate degree: IT and cybersecurity, early childhood education, administration of justice, mechatronics, HVAC, welding, machining, unmanned systems, dental assistance, and nursing.
There were two other items of note affecting VCCS institutions that came out of the GA session:
- The budget also includes funding for a 5% salary increase for full-time and adjunct faculty and staff, effective July 1.
- There will be increased transparency and accountability in regard to committee and board meetings, making information more accessible, particularly on an institution’s website.