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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of Governor Terry McAuliffe

Virginia Receives National Governor’s Association Grant
~ NGA grant will drive increased attainment of STEM-H Workforce credentials ~

RICHMOND - The National Governor’s Association (NGA) announced last week that Virginia has been selected to receive a $170,000 grant and will also be one of 14 states to participate in an 18 month national policy academy aimed at better aligning education and workforce training to economic development priorities.  

The NGA grant proposal was jointly submitted by the Governor’s Office and the Virginia Community College System.  Grant activities will focus on increasing the Commonwealth’s attainment levels of STEM-H (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Health) credentials, including industry certifications, apprenticeship credentials and degrees, most needed by Virginia’s current and emerging businesses and industries.  This announcement by the NGA comes just a week after Governor Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order establishing his “New Virginia Economy” workforce initiative, a robust plan which calls for 50,000 new STEM-H credentials earned by the end of his administration.

“This grant will help in our efforts to enhance Virginia’s high tech, high skilled sectors, which are vital to the growth and diversification of the New Virginia Economy,” said Governor McAuliffe.  “This collaboration will send a strong signal to the emerging workforce of the immediate need for a credentialed, high-skilled labor force to meet today and tomorrow’s business needs.”

The NGA grant will support development of a statewide public awareness and marketing campaign; enhance data and analytical resources; encourage new and expanded public and private partnerships; and augment a policy agenda aimed at increasing enrollment and completion of STEM-H credentials.

Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones was excited about the opportunity the grant provides.  “This grant will allow Virginia to take a big step forward in terms of workforce development,” Secretary Jones said. “The program will help us to better align educational offerings with workforce needs while paving the way for a unified vision of a Commonwealth made stronger by a vibrant, highly-skilled workforce.”

“Now more than ever, Virginia needs an educational system fit for the 21st Century,” added Secretary of Education Anne Holton. “By bridging the divide between education and business and bolstering the Governor’s workforce initiative, these funds will help us do just that.”

“Virginia’s businesses are hungry for highly-skilled workers,” said Dr. Glenn DuBois, Chancellor, Virginia Community College System.  “And, Virginia’s Community Colleges are proud to be a part of a grant that will ultimately help more Virginians to find their way to the training and credentials they need for good jobs.”

Secretary Jones will lead the Virginia State Leadership Team, including representatives of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development, business and industry, education at all levels, and economic and workforce development.  

Office of the Governor
Contact: Rachel Thomas
Email: rachel.thomas@governor.virginia.gov

Office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade
Contact: Elizabeth Creamer, Advisor for Workforce Development
Phone: (804) 692-2563
Email: elizabeth.creamer@governor.virginia.gov

Asif Bhavnagri
Office of Governor Terence R. McAuliffe
Press Special Assistant

19 "Exact Change" Lanes To "E-ZPass Only"

Work Begins September 2 on West-Bound Fairfax County Parkway Exit

To ease congestion and increase convenience for drivers, 19 toll-lanes along the Dulles Toll Road will be converted from “exact change” to “E-ZPass only” over the next year, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates the road, announced Wednesday.

During the conversion project, which begins Tuesday, Sept. 2, coin baskets will be removed and replaced by upgraded E-ZPass infrastructure.  Conversions are scheduled for unattended “exact change” lanes at the main toll plaza and exit ramps along the roadway.

“This lane conversion continues the long tradition of providing a convenient, consistent travel option for drivers in Northern Virginia,” said Dulles Toll Road Manager Cyndi Ward.  “About 90 percent of drivers currently using these lanes are already paying with E-ZPass rather than coins. Full-service lanes will continue to be available at all toll plazas along the roadway for those wishing to pay with cash, but we encourage drivers to consider the added convenience of E-ZPass in order to bypass the lines associated with cash payments.”

 Drivers can sign up for E-ZPass or find locations on how to pick up E-ZPass On-the-Go transponders in stores across the state at www.ezpassva.com.

To minimize congestion, lanes will be reconfigured one at a time, with each conversion taking two to four weeks.  When the project is complete, all toll plazas will still have at least one “full service” lane available.

The first lane to be converted will be the right-most lane on the westbound Fairfax County Parkway exit.

Washington, DC (PRWEB) - For the first time since 2008, the SBA has made significant changes to how it classifies small businesses. These changes came into effect on July 14th, 2014. The new adjustments were made to account for the inflation that has occurred since the last classification, which was based on data from 2007.

This adjustment will turn about 8,500 companies currently classified as large to small business, according to the Washington Post. The updates will mean that companies can make anywhere from $5.5 million and $38.5 million, depending on the industry, and still count as a small business.

Some have criticized this change, saying the new size limitations would bring in companies that should be classified as a large business. Opponents of the changes believe that these adjustments will be detrimental to those who they believe are “real” small businesses. This is key in understanding which companies will have access to the many small-business set-aside contracts that are available with the federal government.

The SBA explained its reasoning for the new size classification as based solely on trying to catch up to the rate of inflation. They believe that many companies have been pushed out of their small business classification due to inflation and should be included to compete for small business set-aside procurement opportunities, where they belong.

The SBA defended its position by saying the government will have more small businesses to choose from for their small business contracts. As a result, the new small businesses will have a better chance at winning opportunities. The government could also benefit from the lower prices that would result from the increased competition.

The SBA is accepting comments regarding this change.  Visit the website for more information.

The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) wants people to know about the strategic vision Momentum that they are putting forward to address tomorrow’s issues. They really want to hear from our local businesses and invite you to contact Greg Potts and fill out this form. The WMATA page Momentum Endorsements includes numerous organizations including the Dulles Regional Chamber—now they would like to add your company’s name to the roster.

Hooray! As of July 26, our area residents will have access to Metro Rail. For all the information you need to know regarding schedules, stations, prices, etc., go to silverlinemetro.com. If you click on “service”, there is a drop down menu where you can enter your station origin and station destination. It will tell you both the fare for your ride and the amount of time the trip will take.

With all of the quick changes in weather that occur throughout Fairfax County, you and your family should be aware of the most up-to-date storm information available that may impact your lives. Likewise traffic delays can cause trouble with schedules. The more time you have to prepare for flash flooding or violent thunderstorms, the better you can adjust your schedule and take shelter or change travel plans and routes to avoid a major accident.

Fairfax County has recently launched a new alerting system, Fairfax Alerts, which is designed to deliver timely information on changing weather conditions and significant traffic tie-ups.  The new service includes the ability to deliver alerts to any landline, Blackberry, SMS, pager, or email device. Features include a smart weather module that will customize weather alerts and times they are received, a mobile app for receiving alerts, and select two-way communication between you and the county’s emergency managers.

The system is available to Fairfax County residents and an account can be set up in just a few minutes. Each individual determines which alerts are needed. You can ask for alerts for more than one location such as your home address in Herndon and your daughter’s work location in Springfield. Go to our website to learn more and to sign up.