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G3 program provides opportunity at community colleges

The "Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back" initiative will enable an estimated 36,000 Virginians to earn degrees in high-demand fields, Gov. Ralph Northam said.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam's signature G3 program is designed for low- to middle-income students. Tidewater Community College Chief Academic Officer said they've been impacted most by COVID-19. 

"Low-income students, when you look at jobs that have been lost, it's in that population," she said, pointing to the lack of housing and food security for many community college students. 

Marcus Moody found himself in that same position in 2009. Let go from his banking job, he searched in the financial sector for a year to no avail. 

"I decided to try a profession based on skills that I could learn and use. I found welding," Moody said, but finding welding was just the beginning. 

To enroll in the welding program at Tidewater Community College, he needed some help, "Because I was laid off from my previous job didn't have income, I applied for financial aid, was approved to go to school improve myself and learn a new skill. Without that, it would have been difficult." Moody remembered.

Now an adjunct professor in the welding program at TCC, he looks forward to telling his students about a new bill that could give them the same opportunity. 

"This program opens the door wide for anyone interested in getting in the welding industry, funding provided from G3 basically covers the cost of school coming here to learn how to weld, and in this area it's in demand." Those in-demand jobs are the ones the newly-signed law will target most. 

Dr. Woodhouse said the program will open opportunities. 

"Two main purposes with G3, help students get careers that are low income back on their feet and expand the talent pipeline to VA businesses," she said, and with that opportunity, students might just find their passion. 

"I probably love it more than what I was doing before," Moddy said of his new profession.

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