Workforce Development

Workforce Financial Aid

The Commission provides funds for higher education financial aid for tobacco region residents through its undergraduate loan forgiveness program (visit and through workforce financial aid to community colleges and higher education centers.

The Commission’s Education Committee approved the following policies and priorities for Education Workforce financial aid for community colleges and higher education centers. As in previous years, TRRC funds are to be last-dollar after all other funding sources have been exhausted, and per the Code of Virginia revisions adopted in 2015 regarding the Commission, must be matched at least dollar-for-dollar.

Priorities for all requests to serve tobacco region students include the following that were approved by the Education Committee:

  • Workforce Credentials – All certifications that can be completed in six (6) months or fewer;
  • STEM-H and Advanced Manufacturing applicants who can attain their degree / certificate within one year;
  • Stem-H and Advanced Manufacturing applicants who are working towards a degree or certificate, for which completion will require more than one year;
  • All other students who might obtain their degree/certificate within one (1) year;
  • All other full-time, program-placed students. for which completion will require more than one year.

For students receiving FastForward Workforce Credential funding, the commission will support one-sixth of the cost of the training program and certification, (half of the one-third share the student is responsible for) with the remainder to be covered by FFWC and potentially state FANTIC funds or other sources.


Competitive Education Grant Program

The purpose of the Commission’s “Competitive” Education grant program is to fund initiatives designed to assist residents of the tobacco region to obtain levels of education previously not promoted, or available, in the region. The program focuses on ways to increase the education and skill levels of the region’s labor pools, as a method to attract and retain employers. Objectives for this funding are to enhance workforce readiness through support for proven and/or innovative programs, and to focus on “gaps” between education supply and occupational demand with emphasis on post-secondary STEM-H and advanced manufacturing career skills. Click here for the complete information about the Competitive Education Program.


Advanced Manufacturing

The Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC) in partnership with the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) funds three Centers of Excellence (CoE’s) for advanced manufacturing workforce training.

Three regional CoE’s that have been designated by the Commission are based at the New College Institute in Martinsville, Southern Virginia Higher Education Center in South Boston and the Southwest Virginia Alliance for Manufacturing in Abingdon. All three Centers serve students and employers in multi-county areas through partnerships with community colleges and other education providers.

The CoE’s focus on three main job classifications: They are broadly identified as 1) machinists, 2) welders, and 3) industrial machinery mechanics (“mechatronics”). CoE’s provide curriculum and training programs that produce students that achieve industry recognized certifications, such as NIMS for machinists, AWS for welding, and Siemens and/or NIMS for industrial mechanics.
Interested parties are invited to call or write TRRC and CCAM for additional information.