WINCHESTER — The Frederick County Economic Development Authority Board agreed Thursday to spend $90,400 to help county residents whose jobs have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds would provide up to 184 people with tuition assistance to obtain credentials in high-demand, higher-wage careers through the Back to Work program, which Go Virginia is expected to launch this fall. Lord Fairfax Community College would be the fiscal agent.

Go Virginia is a coalition of business, education and community members

As of June 6, nearly 6,500 county residents had filed for unemployment related to the coronavirus pandemic, Frederick County EDA Executive Director Patrick Barker said at Thursday’s board meeting. More than 3,000 continued to be unemployed as of June 6. In April, the county’s unemployment rate was 9.5%, up from a pre-coronavirus 2.4% in February.

Barker recommended that the county take part in Back to Work to help residents who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic.

Back to Work will cost $728,092. Barker said the City of Winchester, along with the counties of Page, Fauquier, and Shenandoah, have agreed to contribute toward the necessary local match of $200,000 to participate.

Frederick’s portion of the matching funds is $90,400, which will only benefit Frederick County residents, Barker said.

A public awareness campaign about the program is planned.

— Contact Josh Janney

at jjanney@winchesterstar.com

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