The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education
4 min read

Virginia Senators Present Federal Investments to the VFCCE

03.11.2024

More than 100 students, faculty and staff, and business and community leaders from across the Commonwealth proudly gathered at the Daniel Technology Center on Friday, February 23 to see Senator Mark Warner and Senator Tim Kaine present two federal awards to the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE). The two awards, totaling approximately $2.4 million, support the expansion of the Davenport Institute for Early Childhood Education and internship opportunities for Great Expectations students.

“The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education does important work supporting Virginia’s 23 community colleges, providing education opportunities to students from all backgrounds,” said Senator Warner. “I was proud to fight for funding that will go towards some of VFCCE’s programming, including the Great Expectations program, which will provide work-based learning opportunities for individuals who have experienced foster care as well as the Davenport Early Childhood Development Fellowship that will help students go into childhood education and support our childcare industry. These opportunities open doors for Virginia’s students, and I am glad to continue supporting such tremendous programs.”

The first award of approximately $1.5 million focuses on a key barrier to workforce growth—access to high-quality early childhood education. Funds will expand an innovative early childhood educators training program to 12 colleges, supporting 384 students with wraparound services, including direct student support and coaching. The second award of $899,000 helps to move the goal post of success for colleges from obtaining a degree to obtaining a job. The key to that is access to excellent internship programs. Senators Warner and Kaine championed funding to support internships for 200 students in the Great Expectations program, which, since its founding in 2008, has served as a national model for how to improve the lives of students who have experienced foster care.

“Senators Warner and Kaine have been true champions of the Virginia Community College System since their time in the Governor’s Mansion,” said Virginia Community College System Chancellor Dr. David Doré. “They understand the connection between education and economic development. By providing access and opportunity to students, colleges can train students for high-wage, in-demand jobs that in turn strengthen families, bolster local communities, expand the talent pipeline, and serve as the backbone of Virginia’s economic growth. We are thankful to have such forceful advocates for improving the lives of our students in the U.S. Senate.”

To celebrate the funding, Germana Community College in partnership with the VFCCE hosted a roundtable at its Culpeper campus where past and present students had the opportunity to sit with the senators and share their experiences both academic and personal. When sharing, it was evident as to why funding like these two awards is pivotal in the success of not only students, but also Virginia as a whole.

 

“It was great to visit Germanna Community College to celebrate federal funding we secured to support students pursuing careers in early childhood education and to help foster youth finish school and transition to living on their own,” said Senator Kaine. “I was also glad to see up close how their innovative job training programs are preparing students for careers that are in demand across the Commonwealth. I look forward to continuing to work with Germanna to support our students and our economy.”

The connection between education and economic development is understood and supported by both senators. By providing access and opportunity to students, colleges can train students for high-wage, in-demand jobs that in turn strengthen families, bolster local communities, and serve as the backbone of Virginia’s economic growth.

“This funding allows for the VFCCE to continue its work in providing support for students who may face obstacles while aspiring to continue their education,” said VFCCE Executive Director and Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement Dr. Jennifer Gentry. “We are grateful to see our mission championed by our senators.”

 

   

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