VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Gov. Northam announced a program called Return to Earn on Friday afternoon at the Oceanfront.
Return to Earn will use $3 million in federal funds to pilot the grant program to get people back to work. The program will match cash stipends of up to $500 that businesses can give to new hires to help them transition back to work.
The grant program will target small businesses with 100 or fewer employees that are paying employees at least $15/hour.
"This is another tool in the tool box to help get businesses back up and running," Northam said.
Payments of this stipend can be given to the employee in a lump sum when hired or in installments.
"There's many reasons when I talk to Virginians every day about why they're struggling to get back to work for many it's about childcare issues. It's about transportation, so they need that extra incentive and that extra money," said Megan Healy, Chief Workforce Advisor to the Governor.
In addition, the state will give people $500 if they get a job in childcare if the job pays $15-per hour.
Northam added that one in three workers in Virginia have applied for unemployment benefits.
The announcement comes as businesses across the state continue to struggle to find people to fill job openings.
Last month, the Virginia Beach Hotel Association said there is a "staffing crisis" with more than 1,000 job openings at city hotels.