It has been one of Board of Supervisor Chairman Shaun Kenney’s visions for the county to provide money for micro-finance loans and to offer scholarships to encourage citizens to get trained in needed careers. The small business loans became available late last year.

Bri Van Tassel, FEF scholarship chair, said the minimum amount of the scholarship is $250. The FEF scholarship committee will determine how much to give each applicant, she said. It could be as much as one semester’s tuition at a community college or a career and technical school.

“The only requirement is the recipient agrees to do five hours of community service for two years,” Van Tassel said.

Kenney said the Board of Supervisors wanted to let FEF, a non-profit knowledgeable in awarding scholarships, manage them.

“We wanted to make sure that FEF had the maximum available latitude when determining where to apply these post-secondary scholarships,” Kenney said.

Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development identified several target markets predicted to grow in the coming years.

Those markets identified by the TJPED for future growth in Fluvanna are:

Business and financial services

Forest and wood products

Health services

Light manufacturing and energy related construction

Each of those markets showed they would provide high wages, match the area’s educational infrastructure and postsecondary completions, match the area’s capacity and desire for growth and development and has the potential to employ the under and unemployed, the study stated.

Kenney said the thrust of the scholarships is to provide money for low-income people who want to change careers or be trained in an occupation.

“The specific purpose is to take students who have the promise but not the means to pursue a post-secondary education or some other sort of vocational training and make that available to them,” he said.

Aside from having a GED, a high school diploma or have a completed Individual Student Alternative plan at CATEC, there is no age requirement.

Applicants must have an acceptance letter from a two-year accredited college or technical school, meet low-income guidelines and have lived in Fluvanna for one year prior to applying for the scholarship.

Because there is no specific amount of award, except for the minimum, it is hard to say how many people the money will help, said Kenney.

“Now how many folks would be assisted in something like this is a variable,” he said. “For a community college, working to get that first semester paid off until federal loans kick in is often the first hurdle that is so difficult for young men and women to jump.  In a modern environment, not only is that critical to the students, it’s also something Fluvanna can show prospective businesses as they look for a commitment to post-secondary graduates.  A high school diploma simply isn’t enough.  Next to infrastructure, it is one of the first things good businesses look for in a locality.”

The funds are being administered by the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, a non-profit that is a philanthropic endowment for the betterment of the Central Virginia area, including Fluvanna. Funds are placed with the CACF because it has the investment mechanism in place to endow the scholarship, said Van Tassel.

Kenney said $80,000 may not seem like much, it is a start.

“Small efforts such as these really do add up,” Kenney said. ”I’m positive that FEF will prove the old adage about nothing succeeding like success.  Giving people trades, experiences, and tools to succeed in the 21st century is the absolute best way to go.”

For more information, visit the FEF website,

To see the TJPED study, go to:

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