|MCLEAN, VA – Terry McAuliffe today released his plan to make higher education more affordable and connect Virginians to opportunities in every corner of the Commonwealth. By 2027, 70 percent of all jobs in the U.S. will require some education beyond high school. Closing this skills gap and creating a flourishing economy that benefits every Virginian will require targeted changes in higher education to deliver new, affordable opportunities for every student to succeed. Terry will make sure that the Commonwealth’s higher education system provides Virginians a pathway to quality, high-paying jobs, a key tenant of what CNBC says makes Virginia the best state in the nation for business.
Terry’s plan will give students a clear pathway to the workforce while removing the barriers preventing them from succeeding. As governor, Terry will align Virginia’s curricula with the needs of in-demand industries and will fight for affordable, flexible options for higher education. Terry will work to increase access to dual enrollment programs and programs that allow students to obtain relevant certifications while they pursue a degree. He will also work with the legislature to improve state data collection efforts so Virginia can better align educational and training opportunities for students and close gaps in the workforce. And in order to ensure institutions of higher education can be more responsive to workforce needs, Terry will build capacity at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) to more quickly approve programs and get students into high-demand education pipelines like nursing, teaching and more.
“Just this week, Virginia was named the best state in the nation for business for the second time in a row — and we got here by investing in our education system and our workforce,” said Terry McAuliffe. “As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, I redesigned Virginia’s workforce training program, invested in apprenticeships, and ensured that our community colleges could offer affordable industry certifications and occupational licenses. While Glenn Youngkin opposes the American Rescue Plan, which includes vital funding for higher education, I will work with the legislature to make sure our higher education system prepares Virginians for quality, high-paying jobs available here in the Commonwealth.”
Unlike his Trump-endorsed right-wing opponent Glenn Youngkin, Terry has a clear, detailed plan to invest in Virginia’s higher education system and workforce, and will leverage federal dollars to Virginians’ benefit. While Youngkin has opposed the American Rescue Plan, calling it “unnecessary,” Terry supports President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. In Virginia, the plan will provide $846 million to Virginia’s colleges and universities to support financial aid and other COVID-related expenses.
As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, Terry oversaw the redesign of Virginia’s workforce training program and signed the first-in-the-nation New Economy Workforce Credentials Act, which created the FastForward program, a ‘pay-for-performance’ model that targets affordable industry certifications and occupational licenses for high-demand occupations at community colleges in the Commonwealth. This led to the creation of the Power Line Training School, which helps students gain a certificate after 11 weeks and immediately get a job making over $70,000 per year. Terry also signed Executive Order 49, which called for an increase in the number of registered apprenticeship programs in key industries such as cyber security and IT.
Since launching his campaign in December 2020, Terry has released 17 plans to strengthen Virginia’s education system and dramatically increase teacher pay, help secure Virginia’s economic recovery from COVID-19, reform our criminal justice system, ensure Virginians have access to regular nutritious meals, address the broken, predatory system of prescription drug pricing, confront the gun violence epidemic, make Virginia the best state in the nation for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Health Care (STEM-H) and computer science education, tackle the housing crisis in the Commonwealth and invest in Virginia’s workforce in the post-COVID economy, ensure Virginians have access to high-quality, affordable health care, tackle climate change and secure Virginia’s clean energy future by 2035, lift up Black Virginians as the Commonwealth rebuilds from the COVID-19 pandemic, further advance LGBTQ+ rights, create a flourishing rural economy, support entrepreneurial ecosystems and tackle rising costs and meet the health care needs of all Virginians.