MCLEAN, VA – Terry McAuliffe today released a bold new plan to invest in Virginia workers and a more equitable post-COVID economy by raising wages, increasing worker protections, supporting caregivers and care workers, and creating seamless opportunities for higher education and training. As Virginia’s next Governor, Terry will work to address the generations of inequities that women – and particularly women of color – have faced at home and in the workforce, and ensure that all Virginians benefit from the Commonwealth’s economic recovery. Despite inheriting a record budget deficit and facing the effects of the Great Recession and sequestration, Terry created 200,000 good paying jobs, reduced unemployment from 5.7% to 3.3%, and raised personal income by 14% as Virginia’s 72nd Governor.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 2 million women in the U.S. have left the workforce, with Black mothers two and a half times as likely as white mothers to have left the workforce. In addition to rolling back decades of progress toward gender equity, this will have substantial long-term economic consequences, resulting in a projected $64.5 billion reduction in wages and economic activity annually for American women. Terry’s bold plan seeks to combat these dire impacts by accelerating Virginia’s increase of the minimum wage to $15 in 2024, requiring employers to provide paid sick days and family medical leave, and holding companies accountable for pay disparities.
Recognizing that women continue to shoulder the majority of child care and family caregiving responsibilities, Terry’s plan will also make child care more accessible and affordable by increasing subsidies for families in need and addressing restrictions that prevent women from accessing child care assistance. Terry’s plan also addresses the challenges faced by home health care workers. Predominantly women of color, these workers provide critical services to older Virginians but are often some of the lowest paid workers. Terry’s plan will address these issues by raising wages for home health care workers and working with the federal government expanding Medicare and Medicaid coverage to increase access to these services for Virginians in need.
“In 2021, child care should not be a ‘woman’s issue’ but we cannot ignore that is the reality for too many women across the Commonwealth. The effects of this pandemic are driving women out of the workforce, and we must act quickly before a generation of women is left out and left behind,” said Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (Fairfax County). “Taking immediate action to improve access to affordable child care will lift up families and benefit our entire Commonwealth. I have been championing efforts to provide child care relief to Virginia families during the pandemic, and I am so glad Terry McAuliffe has included these efforts in his plan. The only way we can recover and rebuild a stronger economy is by thinking big and acting boldly, and I know we can trust Terry to get it done.”
Terry’s plan also focuses on building stronger pathways to the workforce and creating opportunities for Virginians to access high-demand, good-paying jobs that require an associate degree, certification or credential instead of a four-year degree. As Governor, Terry will create a five year pathway for high school graduates to transition seamlessly into an associate degree or career-training program. This will help to build on the successes of Governor Northam’s G3 program, which makes tuition-free community college available to low- and middle-income Virginians pursuing high-demand fields. Terry will also create unique opportunities for students to take advantage of registered apprenticeships that provide hands-on job experience.
As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry worked to redesign Virginia’s K-12 experience with an eye toward workforce readiness to prepare Virginia students for the jobs of the future. He set an aggressive goal of graduating 50,000 Virginians with Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Health (STEM-H) credentials – a goal Virginia exceeded in 2017. He also created a first in the nation Workforce Credentials Grant Program, which helped thousands of Virginians to secure industry-recognized credentials, licenses, and certifications needed for high-demand careers. Terry’s Workforce Credentials Act led to the creation of the Power Line training school, through which participants gain a certification in 11 weeks and can get a job making up to $70,000 per year.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the inequities that hardworking Virginians and women of color have faced for generations, and nowhere is that more clear than in the millions of women who are being driven out of the workforce. Virginia must step up and confront these inequities head on if we want to truly secure our economic recovery and build a stronger, more equitable Commonwealth for all. My bold new plan will do just that,” said Terry McAuliffe. “First things first: hardworking Virginians deserve a raise. As Governor, I will accelerate our minimum wage increase to $15 per hour in 2024. With paid sick days and family medical leave, better access to affordable childcare, and support for our home health care workers, we will work to build an equitable workforce system that supports and lifts up women rather than excluding them. We’ve invested in workforce training before, and we’re going to do it again and create pathways to a better future for all Virginians.”
Since launching his campaign, Terry has released big, bold plans to strengthen Virginia’s education system and dramatically increase teacher pay, help secure Virginia’s economic recovery from COVID-19, ensure Virginians have access to regular nutritious meals, address the broken, predatory system of prescription drug pricing, boldly confront the gun violence epidemic in the Commonwealth, reform our criminal justice system to create a more equitable Virginia, make Virginia the best state in the nation for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Healthcare (STEM-H) and computer science education, and tackle the housing crisis in the Commonwealth.