- Associated Press - Monday, December 15, 2014

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Seven Virginia community colleges will receive $500,000 in incentives for students that complete certifications in demand by businesses and industry.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office says the pilot program will help 500 Virginians earn certifications in areas such as welding, commercial driving and project management.

Participating community colleges include Blue Ridge, Germanna, Thomas Nelson, Virginia Western, Danville, Patrick Henry and Southside Virginia.

The initiative is part of McAuliffe’s plan to grow and diversify the state’s economy and supports his goal of seeing an additional 50,000 getting industry certifications before the end of his term.

Officials say the certifications can lead to careers that boast median wages that are at or above Virginia’s per capita personal income of $48,377.

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