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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Governor McAuliffe and the Virginia Council on Women Announce the 7th Annual STEM Essay Contest

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Members of the Virginia Council on Women after the 2017 meeting.

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe and the Virginia Council on Women today announced the 7th Annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Essay Contest for high school junior and senior women. The Council will award at least five $5,000 scholarships to young women, in their junior and senior years in high school, who will be pursuing a STEM career at an institution of higher education. One scholarship will be awarded in each of five geographic regions across the state. Additional scholarships may be awarded at the discretion of the Council.

“Growing the new Virginia economy depends on our ability to prepare young people to succeed in the workforce of the 21st century,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This essay contest is a great way to encourage our female students to pursue careers in the science, math, engineering and technology fields that will set the course for the global economy in the years to come. I want to thank the Virginia Council on Women for hosting this STEM essay contest and encourage Virginia’s young women to put their best ideas forward this year.”

“I am honored to be a part of the this year’s Virginia Council on Women STEM essay contest,” said Governor-Elect Northam. “Encouraging young women to pursue careers in high demand fields like science, technology, engineering and math is critical to making sure Virginia’s economy is strong and 21st century ready. I want to thank the Virginia Council on Women for their dedication to helping young women explore their passions and pursue careers in STEM fields.”

The STEM Essay Contest was launched in 2012 with 170 young women from across the Commonwealth submitting essays focusing on their vision for a future STEM education or career. In its first year, the Council raised $10,000 and made three scholarship awards. Now, in its 7th year, the Council has awarded more than $150,000 in scholarships. The Council partners with the Math Science Innovation Center, which, since its establishment in 1966, has served as a regional math and science center, to administer the contest.

Last year, the Council received more than 500 essay submissions and, thanks to the generosity of sponsors, awarded $35,000 in scholarships to high school women.

Amy Eckert, Co-Chair of the Essay Contest commented, “this contest is personal to me. I recognize the importance of financial aid. Scholarships, such as those awarded from the STEM Essay Contest, afforded me the opportunity to attend college.”

“We are excited to be kicking off our scholarship essay contest,” added Carol Rick Gibbons, Co-Chair of the Essay Contest. “It is always inspiring to see how many talented young women in Virginia are passionate about pursuing STEM careers. Working with our generous donors to help our winners achieve their education goals is extremely rewarding.”

To be eligible, one must be a female or identify as a female, reside in Virginia, be a junior or senior in high school and hold at least a 2.5 GPA. Applications and guidelines are available online.

Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on February 8, 2018. Essays will be judged by a panel of Council members and individuals who represent STEM fields. Winners will be notified by March 23, 2018. The scholarship awards will be presented at a reception at the Executive Mansion in Richmond, Virginia, in April 2018.

About the Virginia Council on Women

The purpose of the Virginia Council on Women is to help women reach their potential and maximize their contributions to society and the Commonwealth as wage earners and citizens. The Council has initiated several projects to meet this goal. Find more information on the Council or on available sponsorship opportunities here.

Governor McAuliffe and Senator Warner Launch ‘Virginia is for Entrepreneurs’ Initiative

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ALEXANDRIA – Governor Terry McAuliffe and U.S. Senator Mark Warner today announced the launch of the Virginia is for Entrepreneurs (VA4E) initiative, an effort to better match entrepreneurs with potential investors across regions, backgrounds and industries. V4E’s first initiative will feature a standardized online application to better link entrepreneurs with more than 50 investment firms and potential funders to help launch or grow their Virginia-based businesses.

Partners in the network includes a number of universities including Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise; angel investment groups such as 757 Angels and Shenandoah Valley Angel Investors; venture funds including Revolution and Village Capital; and statewide organizations including the Center for Innovative Technology.

“The Commonwealth has long been home to innovators and entrepreneurs who make up the backbone of our new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “That’s why it’s so important that we continue to expand our support for promising new ventures. The Virginia is for Entrepreneurs initiative will open new doors for local start-ups by increasing access to the capital they need to thrive and create good-paying jobs.”

“While Virginia boasts a number of innovative communities and ecosystems across the Commonwealth, a consistent problem has been connecting promising entrepreneurs with capital available to support their vision,” said Senator Mark Warner. “As part of a broader effort to strengthen the connective tissue between Virginia’s startup communities, this tool will help founders evaluate their product fit and maturity, and connect them with venture and angel investors across the Commonwealth.”

“Having a single point of entry to a statewide capital network will greatly enhance the likelihood that Virginia startups will be able to secure the funding they need without having to rely on out-of-state resources,” said Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson. “And for those in regions that lack an organized venture community, access to these funds will open up a myriad of entrepreneurial opportunities.”

“Whether you’re an agriculture entrepreneur in Abingdon or a cyber-security entrepreneur in Arlington, if you’ve got a great idea and work hard, you should be able to succeed,” said Ross Baird, founder of the venture firm Village Capital and one of the organizers of the V4E initiative. “Today, too often the best ideas don’t even get the opportunity to start because of who they are or where they come from. Virginia is for Entrepreneurs is testing ideas statewide to fix that.”

The pilot initiative announced today that the online application was successfully tested by more than 200 entrepreneurs and investors statewide at the TomTom Festival in Charlottesville and by the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council.

The initiative will help build strategic sectors in Virginia. For example, one of the initial areas of focus for the investment portfolio will be a state-led pilot program to promote the growth of early stage unmanned aerial systems companies, which has been identified as a cornerstone industry for the New Virginia Economy.

For more information, please contact Ross Baird, ross@vilcap.com; Paul Hirschbiel, phirschbiel@edencapital.net; or visit www.va4e.org

 

Governor McAuliffe and Partners Break Ground on I-66 Outside the Beltway Express Lanes Project

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CENTREVILLE – Governor Terry McAuliffe today joined the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Department of Rail and Public Transportation, federal, state and local partners, and the Commonwealth’s private partner, I-66 Express Mobility Partners (EMP), to break ground on the I-66 Outside the Beltway Express Lanes Project, which will deliver about $3.7 billion worth of transportation improvements benefitting Northern Virginia’s I-66 Corridor. Governor McAuliffe also announced that construction will be funded completely by the private consortium building the project and that the group has provided nearly $579 million for additional improvements in the corridor.

“Using taxpayer resources wisely to reduce gridlock in Northern Virginia and across the Commonwealth has been a top priority of this administration,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The project we are beginning today will increase the capacity of I-66 and give commuters more options for how to get to work, with zero taxpayer investment and a commitment of nearly $579 million from our private partners for even more traffic-reducing projects. This project will reduce congestion, stimulate economic growth and improve the quality of life of commuters all over the Northern Virginia region. It will also create hundreds of jobs for Virginians, with the goal of 75 percent of new project hires being local residents and veterans. I want to thank the men and women at the federal, state and local levels who worked hard to make this transformational public-private partnership a reality.”

The project will modify nearly 23 miles of I-66 providing two express lanes in each direction alongside three regular lanes from I-495 to University Boulevard near Route 29 in Gainesville, with dedicated express lanes access points, and space in the median reserved for future transit. In addition, the project consists of 4,000 park and ride spaces, new and expanded commuter bus service throughout the corridor, safety and operational improvements at key interchanges, auxiliary lanes between interchanges, and bicycle and pedestrian paths and connections.

Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne commented, “Governor McAuliffe charged me to find ways to unlock gridlock on I-66, and there is no better example of how we are doing that than the I-66 Outside the Beltway Project. The multimodal improvements that will be built along I-66 were made possible by years of hard work and planning, significant public input that helped shape the project, and a collaborative partnership with the private sector. We are eager to officially kick off construction and start delivering tangible solutions that will benefit all travelers on I-66.”

Under a 50-year partnership agreement that protects the public, I-66 EMP assumes responsibility for all costs to design, build, operate and maintain the 66 Express Lanes. This agreement requires zero public investment and requires EMP to pay $800 million for transit service in the corridor and $350 million in other projects to improve the I-66 corridor over the next 50 years. The project’s financial close was reached on November 9, securing the funding necessary to move forward.

To further complement the I-66 Express Lanes, I-66 EMP also will award the Commonwealth a payment of $578,919,450 to fund additional transportation improvements in the corridor. With input from local jurisdictions, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority developed a list of recommended transportation projects for funding from this concession payment, which will be voted on in January 2018 by Virginia’s Commonwealth Transportation Board. Among the recommended projects that the board will consider are an interchange at Route 234 and Balls Ford Road in Prince William, capacity improvements on the VRE Manassas line, and a new bus facility in Manassas.

“Today marks the beginning of the transformation that will take place on I-66 Outside the beltway over the next several years,” commented Javier Gutierrez, chief executive officer for I-66 Express Mobility Partners. “When completed in 2022, we will be moving more people and offering more travel options on a safer and more efficient highway, and this will directly contribute to enhanced quality of life for people on this vital transportation corridor.”

Initial construction will begin on the project before the end of the year. By the spring of 2018, construction will be ramped up throughout the entire corridor. A dedicated website, Transform66.org will provide regular updates through news and social media channels, as well as direct outreach to local communities and stakeholders, will be among the channels used to keep the residential and traveling public informed about construction activities, and prepared for traffic changes and potential impacts.

The express lanes are scheduled to open by the end of 2022. Key interim improvements are scheduled to be delivered ahead of 2022, such as more than 900 new commuter parking spaces by the summer of 2019, and improvements to the busy Route 28 involving the removal of traffic signals by the summer of 2020.

I-66 EMP is a consortium of Cintra, Meridiam Infrastructure, John Laing Group Plc. and APG, and their design-build contractor, FAM Construction, LLC, a partnership between Ferrovial Agroman US and Allan Myers, VA. The express lanes project will reduce congestion, provide new and reliable travel choices, new commuter parking and bus service, and greater connectivity to major destinations along the I-66 Corridor.

Learn more here.

Governor McAuliffe Announces Commonwealth’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 3.6%

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RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down 0.1 percentage point in October to 3.6 percent, the second consecutive monthly decline, and was down 0.5 percentage points from a year ago. October’s unemployment rate of 3.6 percent was the lowest rate since the March 2008 rate of 3.6 percent. Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continues to be below the national rate, which was down 0.1 percentage point in October to 4.1 percent.

In response to today’s announcement Governor McAuliffe said, “When this administration began, our unemployment rate stood at 5.4 percent. After nearly four years of attracting new businesses and rebuilding our economic infrastructure from the ground up, it has fallen all the way to 3.6 percent. I am so proud of the work this team has done to grow and diversify Virginia’s economy and lay a foundation for decades of economic growth to come. This is great news, but we still have nearly two months in office and we’re going to spend every single moment building a new Virginia economy for the families we serve.”

Virginia is tied with Alabama, Arkansas, and Florida for the second lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among the Southeast states, behind Tennessee. In addition, Virginia has the second lowest unemployment rate, along with Florida, among major U.S. states behind Tennessee.

Since the beginning of the McAuliffe Administration, average hourly earnings and personal income in Virginia have increased by a total of 7.4 percent and 11.2 percent, respectively, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In addition, average weekly wages for the private sector have increased 8.1 percent year to date, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.

Household employment expanded slightly to 4,181,517, the 34th consecutive monthly increase and a new record high. The labor force contracted slightly, by 961, as the number of unemployed declined by 1,891, exceeding the 930 increase in household employment.

“I’m pleased to see Virginia’s unemployment rate decrease to the lowest rate since March 2008,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Working with our private sector partners, the General Assembly, localities, and others, we are providing more Virginians with the tools necessary to get good-paying jobs in the new Virginia economy.  We are expanding job opportunities and pro-business initiatives across the Commonwealth, positioning Virginia to be the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment is 33,700 jobs higher when compared to October of 2016. Over-the-year employment growth in Virginia has been positive for 43 consecutive months. In October, Virginia’s over-the-year growth was 0.9 percent. Nationally, total nonfarm employment was up 1.4 percent from a year ago.

In October, the private sector recorded an over-the-year gain of 36,000 jobs, while the public sector recorded an over-the-year loss of 2,300 jobs. Compared to a year ago, on a seasonally adjusted basis, eight of the eleven major industry divisions experienced employment gains.

For a greater statistical breakdown visit the Virginia Employment Commission’s website.

Governor McAuliffe Announces November as Virginia Oyster Month

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RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced November as Virginia Oyster Month in the Commonwealth. The month of November is the perfect opportunity for travelers and Virginians to explore the Commonwealth’s eight different oyster regions, and to celebrate the Virginia oyster through numerous festivals and events across the Commonwealth. The Governor also encouraged travelers to visit the Virginia Oyster Trail, which connects visitors with restaurants, artisans, farms, tours, and historical sites throughout Coastal Virginia.

“Virginia is a premier destination for oyster lovers to experience unique flavors, beautiful scenery, and wonderful pairings with our Virginia wine, craft beer, and cider,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The Commonwealth boasts eight oyster regions, each producing oysters with unique flavors that are as distinct as the water in which they grow. This November, travelers can enjoy visiting the Virginia Oyster Trail, attend special events and festivals, or simply get a taste of our oyster delicacies at one of the many restaurants across the Commonwealth. Virginia is the Oyster Capital of the East Coast, so it’s easy to see why Virginia is for Oyster Lovers.”

Governor McAuliffe also shared a special video message to celebrate Virginia Oyster Month, which can be viewed here.

“Virginia’s oysters are the most rapidly developing sector of Virginia’s shellfish aquaculture, and an important part of our diversified economy” said Dr. Basil Gooden, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “Last year, Virginia sold more than 40 million oysters, which resulted in an $18.5 million economic impact for the Commonwealth. Virginia’s eight oyster regions also produce the largest quantity of fresh, farm-raised oysters in the country. The oyster industry is a thriving and growing part of the new Virginia economy, and an industry that distinguishes Virginia from our competition along the East Coast.”

“Oyster tourism is an exciting part of our expanding agritourism industry in Virginia,” said Todd Haymore, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “Agritourism accounts for $2.2 billion in economic impact in the Commonwealth, and the oyster industry is an important part of that story. Our watermen and farmers are now offering educational tours and hands-on experiences, affording them an opportunity to tap into this multi-billion industry and expand their businesses. Oyster tourism is also a great way to connect travelers from all over the world with rich history of oysters, watermen, and coastal heritage in Virginia.”

“Oysters are a keystone species in the ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay and our coastal waters,” added Molly Ward, Secretary of Natural Resources. “Oysters themselves filter waters and oyster reefs are a critical habitat for many aquatic species of fish, shellfish and other important organisms that ensure clean, productive and healthy waters.”

In addition to being an important environmental contributor, the oyster industry has become a burgeoning and vital part of Virginia’s tourism economy, as well. Oyster tourism helps to increase awareness of the benefits that oysters have on local economies, community development, environmental stewardship, entrepreneurial growth, and cultural integration of Virginia’s distinctive coastal way of life.

In November 2015, Governor McAuliffe announced the launch of the Virginia Oyster Trail, a major tourism development project connecting travelers to Virginia oyster purveyors, raw bars and restaurants, artisans, and the watermen culture throughout Coastal Virginia, the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula and the Eastern Shore. The Virginia Oyster Trail has been recognized by the U.S. Travel Association, and currently boasts more than 100 sites.

There are also many oyster-related festivals, special events, and attractions that continue to draw in thousands of travelers to the Commonwealth year after year. This year marked the 60th anniversary of the Urbanna Oyster Festival, which has also been recognized as the Official Oyster Festival of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

For more information about Virginia oysters, trip ideas, and oyster festivals around the Commonwealth, visit www.virginia.org/oysters.

Virginia Posts the Lowest Recidivism Rate in the Country for Second Straight Year

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RICHMOND Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that, for the second year in a row, Virginia’s re-incarceration rate is the lowest in the country among states for which data was available, at 22.4 percent. The Commonwealth’s recidivism rate has fallen a full percentage point since last year. Among the 45 states that report three-year incarceration rates for felons, no other state correctional system reports a lower rate.

“I am proud of the work my administration has done to pursue policies and initiatives that rehabilitate incarcerated individuals, helping them develop the tools and skills they need to be successful,” said Governor McAuliffe. “A low recidivism rate means fewer victims, it means safer communities, and it means we are returning offenders to their communities better prepared to be productive, law-abiding Virginians.”

Like most states, Virginia counts its official recidivism rate as the percentage of offenders who return to state responsible incarceration within three years of being released. The rate was calculated by following offenders released to the community in 2013 for three years. Of the 11,576 offenders released from incarceration in Virginia in fiscal year 2013, 2,588 were re-incarcerated within three years.

“Reentry preparation begins the day the Department of Corrections receives an offender,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “VADOC staff are dedicated to helping offenders make better choices, and this administration is dedicated to policies that give incarcerated offenders the tools they need to be successful.”

Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) tailors its programming and supervision to address each offender’s criminogenic risks and needs in keeping with the agency’s mission to enhance the quality of life in the Commonwealth by improving public safety. About ninety-three percent of individuals incarcerated in Virginia will one day be released back into their communities.

“We are in the business of helping people to be better,” said Virginia Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke. “Virginia’s leading rate is due to the successful reentry programming and treatment offered by the Department of Corrections during an offender’s incarceration, and the effective supervision in the community after release through VADOC Probation & Parole.”

In Virginia, reentry preparation starts with a risk and needs assessment when an offender enters the VADOC. From offender training and education programs, work programs, resource fairs, veterans’ programs, and offender savings accounts to a partnership with the Department of Motor Vehicles to get offenders DMV-issued state identification before they leave prison, the VADOC is operating a multitude of successful, evidence-based reentry programs.

Due to limitations in the capacity of state facilities, some VADOC offenders serve their entire incarceration in a local or regional jail. The number of VADOC offenders who were released from jails without having served time in a VADOC facility rose from one-quarter of total VADOC releases in 2009 to approximately one-half in 2016.

For VADOC offenders who serve their entire incarceration in a local or regional jail, the re-incarceration rate is 25.5%. Taking those offenders out of the total, the re-incarceration rate for those offenders in VADOC facilities is 20.3%. The re-incarceration rate for offenders with mental health diagnoses is 29.3%. Those who served their entire incarceration in a local or regional jail and have a mental health diagnosis have a recidivism rate of 51.8%.

More information on the VADOC can be found at www.vadoc.virginia.gov.

Governor McAuliffe Statement on Start of Open Enrollment Through the Health Insurance Marketplace

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RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe released the following statement today to mark the start of open enrollment and encourage eligible Virginians to enroll through the Health Insurance Marketplace or to compare their current plans to those that are available during open enrollment:

“Today marks the beginning of open enrollment to buy health insurance through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. I strongly encourage every eligible Virginian who does not otherwise have health coverage to select a plan through the Marketplace. Emergencies happen, and everyone needs insurance.

“Unfortunately, because of actions taken by the Trump administration, this open enrollment period only lasts for 45 days, and federal marketing to remind people to sign up or reenroll in their existing plans has been severely curtailed.

“However, despite efforts from Congress and the White House to undermine and sabotage the Affordable Care Act, it remains the law of the land. Tax credits to help people with incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level remain in place.

“Please visit healthcare.gov to enroll in an insurance plan, or go to coverva.org to learn more about coverage options in Virginia. There have been substantial changes to some health insurance plans, and it is imperative that people who have previously bought insurance through the Marketplace log in and see what their options are. Don’t let attempts to undermine this law prevent you from getting potentially life-saving coverage. Open enrollment ends December 15.”

 

Results of weekend prescription drug take-back announced

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The Culpeper Division of the Virginia State Police has announced the result of its prescription drug take-back event of Saturday, October 28. Those results, by weight of drugs returned to participating law enforcement agencies in the regional jurisdiction are:

Drug Take Back 10/28/17
Agency Weight (Lbs.)
Virginia State Police Div. 2  (Culpeper) 60
Frederick County Sheriff’s Office 16
Fredericksburg Police Department 362
Madison County Sheriff’s Office 89
Orange (Town of) Police Department 146
Quantico Marine Corps Base 73
Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office 96
Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office 122
Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office 638
Stafford County Sheriff’s Office 401.6
Strasburg Police Department 77
University Of Mary Washington Police 47.6
Warren County Sherriff’s Office 70
Winchester City Sheriff’s Office 226
Woodstock Police Department 20
TOTALS 2,444.2

The statewide event was part of an ongoing cooperative effort partnering local, state and federal law enforcement in a public health initiative.  The goal is to both “prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding … homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs” and provide a safer way for disposal.

As for the latter, “Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines – flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash – both pose potential safety and health hazards.”  Older municipal wastewater treatment systems do not remove drugs from water returned to the rivers those systems draw on.

In addition, the VSP release notes that “medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse.  Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.”

Statistics released indicate that last April Americans turned in 450 tons (900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners.  Overall, in its 13 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds more than 4,050 tons of pills.

Virginia’s unemployment rate at 3.7 percent under McAuliffe’s administration

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Virginia has had a low unemployment rate for over eight years.

RICHMOND, Va. – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Friday that Virginia’s unemployment rate had reached a nearly nine-year low of 3.7 percent. The commonwealth’s unemployment rate is the 2nd lowest among major states and our labor force expanded to a record high 4,340,369.

“The drop in unemployment is further proof that Governor McAuliffe’s efforts to build an open and welcoming economy that works for everyone are paying off,” said DPVA spokeswoman Katie Baker.

“Since Governor McAuliffe took office, Virginia’s unemployment rate has dropped from 5.4% to 3.7%, and our economy has seen more than 215,000 new jobs. The governor’s administration has also secured 1,032 economic development deals that have created a record $18.52 billion in capital investment.

“These results speak for themselves, and that’s why it’s so important that we elect Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax, Mark Herring, and Democrats to the House of Delegates to send the message to the nation that Virginia is an inclusive place that is open for business.”

The McAuliffe administration has been aggressive with economic development, with McAuliffe using his business and political contacts to close deals for the commonwealth.  He helped close a deal to bring Stone Brewing to Richmond and landed a $2 billion paper plant in the Richmond suburbs. McAuliffe also worked to broker a deal with the Corporate Executive Board to locate its global headquarters in Arlington, which created 800 new jobs.

Governor McAuliffe was at Dulles International Airport in July, 2017 for festivities to announce Air India’s inaugural nonstop flight to New Delhi from the northern Virginia facility.

McAuliffe also negotiated deals to restore service in Norfolk from Carnival Cruise Lines and Air India service to Dulles International Airport.

Additionally, in February 2016, McAuliffe announced that Virginia was the first state to functionally end veteran homelessness.

 

Virginia State Police announce historic change to trooper hiring process

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Courtesy photo/VSP

RICHMOND, Va. – As of Sept. 1, 2017, the Virginia State Police is opening its Academy to current Virginia law enforcement interested in attending a new Accelerated Lateral Entry Program (ALEP). This is a first in the Department’s 85-year history to offer an abbreviated State Police Academy for existing Virginia Department of Criminal Justice (DCJS) certified law enforcement officers. Until now, any applicant for state trooper had to complete the full, six-month State Police Academy.

“Virginia State Police has not been immune to today’s challenging environment of having to compete with other law enforcement agencies to attract qualified candidates to join its sworn ranks,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Despite the salary increases provided by the Virginia General Assembly this year, State Police continues to struggle to prevent our sworn personnel from leaving for other agencies and then to fill those growing vacancies in a timely manner. Many of our field divisions across the Commonwealth are currently experiencing vacancy rates of nearly 50 percent.”

Offering an accelerated lateral program has gained in popularity among other state police and highway patrol agencies, as well as many local Virginia police agencies, as an effective method for increasing recruitment of qualified personnel. Virginia State Police are accepting applications for its ALEP as of Sept. 1, 2017, with the Academy class scheduled to begin in April 2018. Training will be an intense eight-week program designed to indoctrinate candidates into the State Police culture and instill its standards of integrity, professionalism, self-discipline, pride, valor and excellence in service. Candidates are paid while attending the ALEP Academy.

Those selected to participate in the State Police ALEP will be hired to a specific vacancy in a particular jurisdiction within the Commonwealth. Qualified candidates accepted to the State Police ALEP will be compensated at a beginning salary of $48,719. In accordance with the established Northern Virginia pay scale, applicants hired to a trooper vacancy in Northern Virginia will be compensated at a beginning salary of $60,587. Upon graduation, candidates are supplied all uniforms and equipment, including a take home car.

Among the qualifications for the ALEP, candidates must be currently employed by a Virginia law enforcement organization, have at least three years of DCJS-certified law enforcement experience, and be a VCIN Level C Operator. As is standard for all sworn applicants, ALEP candidates will undergo an extensive background investigation, to include a polygraph examination.

For additional information on all qualifications, restrictions, height/weight requirements, etc., for the Virginia State Police Accelerated Lateral Entry Program, go to http://www.vsp.virginia.gov.