Northam wants free community college for certain students

Virginia

FILE – In this Feb. 2, 2019 file photo Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, left, gestures as his wife, Pam, listens during a press conference in the Governors Mansion at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is pushing for tuition-free community college for low- and middle-income students who pursue degrees in high-demand fields.

Northam announced Thursday that his budget proposal for the upcoming legislative session includes $145 million for the initiative.

Northam calls the program his “G3” initiative. It stands for: “Get Skilled. Get a Job. Give Back.” He campaigned heavily on the idea when he ran for governor in 2017.

The plan targets industries that include health care and information technology.

Passing a two-year state spending plan will be a top priority for the General Assembly during the 2020 session. During last month’s legislative elections, voters gave Democrats full control of the General Assembly for the first time in a generation.

The governor is expected to share full details of his budget plan next week.

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