Non-profit helping laid off workers in Virginia

Intensive and quick training, help with job placement, oh, and a cash gift for completing your course –– the brand new non-profit Virginia Ready is partnering with community colleges statewide to provide people out of work because of the pandemic with opportunity and hope. 

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Mewael Hailegiorgis lost his job at a Reagan National Airport when the pandemic began. 

He stumbled upon the new non-profit, Virginia Ready, and is now about to earn a certification in medical billing and coding next week. 

The program works with community colleges across the state. Participants take intensive “fast forward” courses in fields including health care, technology and other skilled trades. 

After six to twelve weeks they have recognized credentials and can search through job openings with Virginia Ready’s 23 business partners, which include some big names like Bank of America, Booz Allen Hamilton and Northrop Grumman. 

"When you are getting very good certification from a very esteemed organization like NOVA Community College and at the same time, you don't even pay anything... it's like a dream come true," said Hailegiorgis.

Virginia Ready also gives participants a one thousand dollar award for completing their course.  It can be used toward tuition or whatever the recipient likes. 

CEO Caren Merrick says the non-profit’s mission is to help at least 15,000 people in the next two years to get new skills and a new job. 

She says in the two months since the program started more than 350 people have signed up. 22 already graduated and 17 of them are in new jobs.