Saturday, September 18, 2021


Hundreds of wealthy Americans back the Biden Build Back Better Act; Roger Stone is served with a warrant on live radio; and family caregivers are in need of assistance.


Virginia gubernatorial candidates debate; former federal prosecutor Michael Sussmann indicted for lying to FBI; lawmakers set to question oil industry over climate disinformation; and FDA scientists express skepticism over booster shots.


Lawsuits stall debt relief for America's Black farmers; Idaho hospitals using "critical care" protocols; grant money boosts rural towns in Utah and more conservation acreage could protect the iconic sage grouse.

Virginia Workforce Grants Help Boost Employment During COVID


Thursday, July 29, 2021   

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- With many Virginians still experiencing pandemic-related unemployment, students at a state community college were able to get certifications for industry jobs despite COVID shutdowns.

Martha O'Keefe, associate vice president of workforce and professional development at Germanna Community College, said a state workforce grant program supported some students at the right time.

When COVID hit, the school got creative and quickly moved classes online. Then, for highway construction courses, instructors and administrators collaborated with the Virginia Department of Transportation to give students the required work-skills assessments by teleconferencing.

"We actually worked with some of the employers where the students were employed, and the employers were willing to do the skill checks at their work sites," O'Keefe recounted. "So that was a real plus for the students and the programs."

Some highway construction certifications required pencil- and-paper exams, so Germanna began offering drive-in testing. Some students were able to attend with help from Virginia's New Economy Workforce Grant Program, which provides partial tuition for short-term training courses.

More than 24,000 Virginians have tapped into the grant program since 2016, according to O'Keefe. It offers help with tuition for non-credit training credentials in a range of high-demand fields, including construction, health-care support and transportation.

She pointed out Germanna focuses on helping students get credentials to make better wages.

"For example, in health care we train individuals to become phlebotomists, clinical medical assistants, nurse aides; we are starting with the EMT certification," O'Keefe outlined. "And those certifications in and of themselves will help individuals to land jobs."

The workforce grant program had more than 7,400 students enrolled across the state last year. Germanna had the most, with more than 1,700 enrollments. Of those, about 1,100 students earned credentials for new jobs.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

get more stories like this via email
A panel of House Democrats proposes raising $2.9 trillion in new taxes to pay for President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" plan through higher tax rates for wealthy Americans. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

RICHMOND, Va. - As U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., takes heat this week for attending a posh fundraiser in a dress that said "Tax the …


EAST TROY, Wis. - Wisconsin farmers are looking ahead to the fall harvest, and those who use cover crops face a deadline to sign up for a research …

Social Issues

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The pandemic is shining a new light on the burdens felt by family caregivers, and a bill in Congress would remove some of the …

A letter encourages Congress to raise taxes on wealthy people, including an additional tax on people with net assets of more than $50 million. (W.Scott McGill/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

PORTLAND, Ore. - Wealthy Americans have a message for Congress: Tax us more. More than 200 high-income taxpayers and business owners have sent an …

Social Issues

ALBANY, N.Y. - As a U.S. House committee debates the Biden administration's "Build Back Better" Act, a letter from more than 200 wealthy Americans …

According to The Pew Research Center, liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans are more likely to have heard about "cancel culture" than their more moderate peers. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

By Sonali Kolhatkar for Yes! Media. Broadcast version by Lily Bohlke for Commonwealth News Service reporting for the YES! Media-Public News Service …


MANCHESTER, N.H. - Three New Hampshire professors are among those who've signed a letter urging the United Nations General Assembly to adopt what's …

Social Issues

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - One out of every three people incarcerated in the United States has contracted COVID-19, and a new report shows how state …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021