RD128 - New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Annual Report 2021 – February 2022

Executive Summary:

During the 2016 session, the General Assembly and Governor 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 2021 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.

Summary of Findings for FY 2021

In FY 2021, 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 the training program’s first year of implementation show that:

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

• Collectively, these institutions reported 8,904 enrollments, a 19% increase from FY 2020 and the most since the inception of the program.

• Of the 8,904 enrollments included in this report, 8,591 (96%) completed training. Among program completers, 6,151 (72%) went on to earn the credential.

• While gaps in program completion by race/ethnicity appeared to have closed, gaps in credential completion remain: Black or African American students were nine points less likely to earn their program’s credential compared to white students. Hispanic students were four points less likely.

• The average student cost of the program was $766, an $89 increase from FY 2020. The average state cost per credential attained was $1,848, a $221 increase from FY 2020.

• The program with the highest enrollments was Commercial Driver’s License (class A) with over 18% of enrollments. Highway Construction Programs had the second highest enrollments accounting for 13% of all enrollments in FY 2021.

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

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