V3 Legislative Update – No. 1

The 2015 General Assembly Session will bring some exciting developments to the V3 Program that will help train more employers, recognize and reward V3 companies’ efforts to hire Veterans, and establish the V3 Program more firmly in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Several bills pertaining directly to V3 have already been introduced by legislators committed to increasing employment opportunities for Virginia’s Veterans, and the governor’s budget and legislative package reflects his firm commitment to building upon the great success Virginia’s companies have had in hiring qualified Veterans into the Virginia workforce.

A summary of the budget items and legislation is listed below.

Governor’s proposed budget

On December 17, 2014, the governor submitted to the General Assembly his proposed amendments to the budget, which updated his forecasted revenue and expenditures for state Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016 (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2016).

Included in this proposed budget is $474,000 in new General Fund (GF) monies, and $100,000 in new Nongeneral Fund (NGF) for the V3 Program and Virginia Transition Assistance Program (VTAP).
In Fiscal Year 2015, the total budget for V3 and VTAP was $600,000 (GF) and $100,000 (NGF).
This proposed budget would bring the total budget for V3 and VTAP up to $1,074,000 (GF) and $200,000 (NGF).

(Non-general funds include donations or sponsorships to the V3/VTAP Programs.)

Funds can be used to increase the number of employer training events, Veteran recruiting events, webinars with employers and Veterans, and other activities that positively impact Virginia companies’ abilities to connect with qualified Veterans. The increase in funds can also be used to develop a comprehensive Public Relations campaign that not only increases awareness of the V3 Program and the value of hiring Veterans, but that also increases our public recognition efforts for companies’ Veteran recruiting, hiring, and retention efforts.

HB 1577 / SB 950, SB 1231, SB 1356 – Veteran Employment Grant Fund

These companion bills establish a state fund from which grants may be awarded to small and mid-size V3-certified companies who meet guidelines pertaining to the hiring and retention of recently transitioned Veterans.

The award for this grant is $1,000 per Veteran hired, not to exceed a total of $10,000 awarded per company.

Requirements to be eligible for this grant include:

  • Businesses must have 300 or fewer employees (small and medium companies, as defined by the V3 Program)
  • Veteran must have been discharged from active duty within one year from the date hired
  • Veteran was hired full-time continuously for 1 year, with a salary/wage that is at least the prevailing wage for that geographic location.
  • Veteran must have been hired on or after July 1, 2015
  • Companies may apply on or after July 1, 2016.

The grant will be administered by the V3 Program, and will only be available to companies who are V3-certified.

Differences between the senate bills are technical and administrative, and do not change the substantive content of the bills

HB 1805, HB 2259 – Veteran Entrepreneurship Grant Fund

This bill creates a state fund that supports private sector job creation and transitioning Veterans’ entrepreneurial efforts as they start their own business or franchise.

The award for this grant for qualifying new Veteran businesses is 10% of start-up costs, up to $5,000. Only one grant may be awarded per Veteran. Applications will not be accepted until July 1, 2016.

Requirements to be eligible for this grant include:

  • Veteran must be resident of Virginia at the time he submits application
  • Veteran have been honorably discharged from the armed forces
  • Business must be at least 51% owned by qualifying Veteran
  • Satisfy annual reporting requirements
  • Veterans may use this grant a provisional letter of commitment of state funds to seek additional funding for their enterprise.

Grants will be awarded by the order in which applications were approved.

HB 1641 – Certification of State Agencies in the V3 Program

This bill adds a section to the Code of Virginia requiring the Governor of Virginia to ensure all state agencies are V3 certified.

HB 2133– Programs to create employment opportunities for veterans and assist transitioning veterans

This bill will spell out in the Code of the Virginia the mission of and population served by VTAP; clearly defines in Code that both V3 and VTAP serve members of the Virginia National Guard and Armed Forces Reserves; and focus the mission on the V3 Program on creation of employment opportunities for veterans.