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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

Education, job bills moving through General Assembly

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

A bill that would establish a financial incentive of $1,000 for a student to complete a certificate or license program is being considered in the House Education Committee.

The bill, (SB628) copatroned by Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Glade Hill), passed the Senate with a unanimous vote earlier this month.

The bill would provide the incentive to students who enroll in any community college and successfully complete a noncredit industry-recognized certification or license in a high demand field in the region of the community college.

"To achieve the much needed growth in our economy, we must first ensure that our education systems are providing our children with the skills necessary to prepare them for the future in the modern economy," Stanley said. "A skilled workforce will attract and retain those businesses that will bring jobs and improved economic growth to our region. Developing the much needed skillsets in the near term is critical to marketing our region as the place for new business to set up shop."

Another of Stanley's bills that would provide a $5,000 grant to teachers who relocate to schools where at least 40 percent of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch or schools in localities with a population of 50,000 or less also passed the Senate unanimously and has been passed by the House Education Committee.

The bill (SB168) has now been sent to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration because it has the potential to impact the state budget. The legislation, if passed, would cost an estimated $1 million each year, a limit imposed by the bill, beginning in 2015-16.

Another bill that would establish a grant program for donations made by STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) organizations to qualified schools has passed both the Senate and House Education Committee, and is now being considered by the House Appropriations Committee, due to possible fiscal impact for the administration of the fund.

The bill (SB107) defines "qualified schools" as those with at least 40 percent of students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch.

The donations must be used to support STEM programs, and grants would be capped at $50,000 per organization each year.

"This bill creates a partnership between private industry and the state government that will allow direct contributions to public schools in our region," said Stanley, the bill's patron. "Improvements in the schools' STEM programs would advance technical and vocational trade education in Southside and Southwest Virginia."

The second step in Stanley's approach to stimulate economic growth and stability in the region is to attract new companies to Southside Virginia by rewarding them for investing their capital into existing industrial buildings in our region.

Stanley's bill SB106 would establish a Building Revitalization Grant Fund to award grants of up to $100,000 to businesses that make a capital investment of $1 million in revitalizing or retrofitting existing buildings to serve as a new place of business.

The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 37 to 0, and has been assigned to the House General Laws Committee for consideration.

"Education and workplace training must be a primary focus for our region to return to its prior years of growth and economic prosperity," Stanley said.

To contact Stanley in Richmond, call 804-698-7520 or email

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