CHARLESTON – Senate Bill 1, increasing access to career education and workforce training, completed legislation on Thursday.
“This is a tremendous day for West Virginia. This program will change lives, and it will give our state a needed push as we continue to attract the kind of jobs that require specialized technical training and education. The bill will catapult West Virginia to national prominence in the area of workforce training and education. This program takes a huge leap forward in addressing our state’s chronically low workforce participation and educational attainment levels, and it removes the financial barrier that may have prevented people from climbing the economic ladder of success. I congratulate Governor Justice for his introduction and support of this landmark education initiative. I am equally grateful for the important work and partnership of Speaker Hanshaw and the House of Delegates in passage of this bill,” Senate President Mitch Carmichael said.
The bill creates an Advanced Career Education (ACE) program that provides training that leads to an associate’s degree or advanced certification in a field that the West Virginia Department of Commerce has determined is an area of workforce need. The bill also creates the West Virginia Invests Grant Program, which will provide recipients with a grant to cover the “last dollar in” of tuition at one of the state’s community and technical colleges or an associate’s degree at a public four-year college. The bill requires the student to meet certain conditions including maintaining a minimum grade point average, completing a number of volunteer hours per semester, and passing a drug test. The student must live in West Virginia for two years after completing the program or repay the grant back to the state.
“With final passage of this bill, I look forward to seeing the improvement in the quality of life for our citizens and to the growth of our West Virginia economy”, Senate President Carmichael said.