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SVHEC awarded $250,000 Federal Action Contingency Trust fund grants

Southern Virginia Higher Education Center with private partner Virginia Manufacturers Association has been awarded a $250,000 Federal Action Contingency Trust fund grant. 

The FACT fund was proposed by Gov. Bob McDonnell, and officially established in the 2012 General Assembly Session, to help Virginia counter actions taken by the federal government that may adversely impact the citizens and economy of Virginia. This is the first year funds have been allocated.

SVHEC in conjunction with VMA, one of five FACT fund grant recipients, will use the grant to address unemployment rate among Virginia veterans. Specifically, the program will provide vocational training for veterans to attain and refine job skills and competencies required in advanced technology industries. The grant will be matched by an in-kind contribution of 50 percent from the VMA.

Speaking about the award, Brett Vassey, president and CEO of the Virginia Manufacturers Association said, “The VMA and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center are appreciative of this grant and the support of the FACT Fund Commission and Governor McDonnell. These resources will help Military2Manufacturing reduce the unemployment rate among veterans and Virginia National Guardsmen, in particular, by giving them skills and credentials that will get them ready for advanced manufacturing jobs.”

SVHEC is honored to be one of five state and local agencies receiving a FACT fund award, said Dr. Betty Adams, SVHEC executive director. Partnering with the Virginia Manufacturers Association, the funds will be used to assess and train unemployed veterans for advanced technology positions being created by a 15 percent retirement rate in the advanced manufacturing sector. 

“In particular, Virginia National Guard vets –ineligible for most of Virginia’s Dislocated Worker programs and services – will benefit from this program,” Adams said.

“The SVHEC/VMA application cited an April 2013 employment survey from The Virginia National Guard in making our case. The survey revealed a 20 percent unemployment rate, a rate that exceeds the national average of 7.5 percent and the state average of 5.8 percent.  While 703 of those surveyed were seeking employment in the metropolitan areas of D.C., Richmond and Virginia Beach, 507 were seeking employment in the rural areas of Virginia, Adams said.

According to the Institute for Veterans Education and Training (iVET), the loss of annual tax revenue to the federal, state and local governments per unemployed veteran is between $62,000 and $88,000, and the cost of a habitually unemployed veteran is $2 million over 30 years. 

In 2012, the General Assembly created the FACT Fund Advisory Commission, composed of General Assembly members, to assist in the review of the FACT Fund requests. 

The Senate Finance Committee Chairman and House Appropriations Committee Chairman appointed the members of the Advisory Commission. The Advisory Commission is composed of five members from the Senate Finance Committee: Chairman Walter A. Stosch, Senators Janet D. Howell, L. Louise Lucas, Frank W. Wagner, and John C. Watkins. The Advisory Commission is also composed of five members of the House Appropriations Committee: Chairman Lacey E. Putney, Delegates R. Steven Landes, S. Chris Jones, L. Scott Lingamfelter, and Rosalyn R. Dance. Secretary of Finance Ric Brown, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng, and Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel serve as technical advisors.

During the 2013 Session of the General Assembly, the purpose of the FACT Fund was more narrowly defined to be used only to: (1) offset the potential loss of any revenue to the commonwealth, either directly or indirectly related to any actions of the United States Congress as part of any federal budget reductions and (2) up to $5,000,000 may be provided to: (A) develop plans and implement strategies to prevent or limit the adverse economic impacts of closure, relocation, or realignment of federal military or security installations or other federal agencies located in Virginia, including actions to evaluate military and command clusters to access their vulnerability for closure, relocation or realignment, and (B) make remedial efforts to promote renewed economic growth in jurisdictions (localities) adversely effected by closure, relocation, or realignment decisions on the part of the federal government.

“In October we once again saw the detrimental effects of a federal government shutdown. The shutdown had a direct, negative impact on the commonwealth. It was yet another reminder that Virginia cannot rely on an increasingly dysfunctional federal government. These grants will help Virginia repair the damage caused by the federal government’s irresponsible budgeting practices and the uncertainty created for the states by the ongoing policy paralysis in Washington,” the governor said.

Localities and state agencies that have had or have pending negative impacts caused by announced federal budget reductions or sequestration actions were able to apply for FACT fund allocations. 

Private entities also could serve as partners with localities or state agencies in their applications.