RD234 - New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Annual Report 2020 – June 2021

Executive Summary:

During the 2016 session, the General Assembly passed HB 66 and SB 576, which established the New Economy Workforce Grant Program. This grant program, the first of its kind in the nation, provides a pay-for-performance model for funding noncredit workforce training that leads to a credential in a high-demand field. The program also includes requirements for students to complete the program in order to avoid paying additional costs. A summary of the major components of the program is included below. Additional information is available through the Code of Virginia.

The purpose of this report is to provide an annual review of FY 2020 activities of the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant to the General Assembly and the Virginia Board for Workforce Development as outlined in § 23.1-627.7 of the Code of Virginia. This year’s report was delayed due to data reporting issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Summary of Findings for FY 2020

In FY 2020, the Virginia Community College System and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center offered training aligned to high-demand occupations and fields as identified by the Virginia Board for Workforce Development. Observations from FY 2020 show that:

• Institutions offered training in nine high-demand occupational fields.

• Collectively, these institutions reported 7,484 enrollments, the most since the inception of the program and an 8% increase from 2019. Some students enrolled in multiple programs.

o An additional 1,903 students started their program but were unable to complete their training or credential due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These students were removed from the analysis.

• Of the 7,484 enrollments included in this report, 6,879 (92%) completed training. Among program completers, 4,906 (71%) went on to earn the credential. Some students will go on to earn a credential beyond the FY 2020 period and thus result in a higher credential rate.

o Black or African American students are eight points less likely to earn their program’s credential compared to white students. Hispanic students are seven points less likely.

• The average student cost of the program was $677. The average state cost per credential attained was $1,627.

• More than one-in-five enrollments were in Highway Construction Programs.  Commercial Drivers’ license had the second highest enrollments accounting for nearly 16% of the program.

• Most students who earned their credential saw an increase in earnings. Median annual wages increased approximately $7,000 or 31%.

o Students in the bottom quartile (with wages less than $8,200 before completing their credential) saw the highest median wage increase.