RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)— A Virginia program is now offering free classes to help people get back to work.

Virginia Ready provides training in new skills for those who have lost their jobs or had hours cut during the pandemic.

VA Ready was founded during the pandemic as a response to the unemployment crisis in the state.
One local Richmond resident, Rebecca Austin, is a single mother who recently completed the program.

As a certified nurse aide, she took on training with VA Ready to become a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant in 2020.

After facing challenges like her children’s father passing away and the pandemic forcing her work as a travel nurse to slow down, Austin achieved yet another license.

“My mom, my grandmother, my great grandmother at least 98%, no exaggeration, of the women in my family are in the healthcare field,” said Austin.

She also opened a home nursing care business called Hands of Grace.

“My goal is to be on the other end because somebody invested in me, so I want to be able to give that back,” she said.

VA Ready now offers free certification classes to Virginians to fill in-demand positions.

The program provides course management in fields like technology and medicine.

VA Ready said 1,000 people across the state signed up for the program.

200 people, like Austin, have completed the program and received their certification.