For Immediate Release: January 27, 2017
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, (804) 225-4260, Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov | Virginia Board of Workforce Development, Sara Dunnigan, Executive Director, (804) 663-7464, Sara.Dunnigan@governor.virginia.gov

Governor McAuliffe Announces Virginia Advances in Annual Workforce Development Rankings

~Virginia Rises to Second in Atlantic Region in Site Selection Magazine Rankings~

 

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Virginia rose from fourth to second in the Atlantic region in a recent analysis of state workforce development activities conducted by Site Selection Magazine. Among the eight states that were ranked, Virginia scored ahead of highly competitive states such as Florida, North Carolina, Maryland, and Delaware, and tied with South Carolina. The analysis looked at states’ commitment to skills development as measured by their spending on workforce development, K-12 preparation, and the number of working-age adults deemed “career ready.”

“Virginia’s improved ranking is further evidence that we’re making significant progress toward building a 21st century workforce,” said Governor McAuliffe. “We know that workforce is the number one factor companies evaluate when making a decision to locate a new facility or expand their existing business.  We’re pleased to see our position improve relative to our regional competitors and will continue our efforts to assure our position as a leader in workforce development and education.”

Since the release of Executive Order 23, Creating a New Virginia Economy, the McAuliffe Administration has focused on closing the skills gap for priority industry sectors through increased training and credentialing. In two years, the eight state agencies delivering workforce programs are reporting a 25 percent increase in student attainment of STEM-H Workforce Credentials such as industry certifications, occupational licenses, registered apprenticeships, and more. 

In addition, Executive Order 49, Expanding Registered Apprenticeships, has spurred an increase of 1,100 new registered apprentices in the past year including development of apprenticeship programs in occupations new to apprenticeship. 

“Virginia’s intensified workforce development efforts over the last few years are helping our businesses gain access to the skilled and qualified workers they need to grow and prosper,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Further strengthening and diversifying our workforce makes businesses more competitive and the Commonwealth more attractive to new private sector investments and future job creation opportunities. This is an important narrative of our economic development strategy and part of what makes Virginia a great state for business.”

The New Virginia Workforce Credential Act, signed by Governor McAuliffe last March, is providing expedited, non-credit training, at dramatically reduced cost for job seekers, providing them with industry-demanded credentials to access high-demand, good-paying occupations. The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) and Virginia’s Higher Education Centers are delivering the training, which in the program’s first five months has served already more than 2,000 Virginians. To help small businesses train and credential their current workforce, Governor McAuliffe and the VCCS launched the first statewide incumbent worker training program in the spring of 2016. 

To help regions and training providers identify state and regional in-demand jobs, so as to direct resources to credentials that count for those occupations, the Virginia Board of Workforce Development is now annually issuing its High Demand Occupations List, created by board members and subject matter experts. State and regional online supply and demand dashboards that will demonstrate progress in closing the skills gap, by region and industry cluster, will be announced later this spring. 

Site Selection Magazine used data compiled by the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness about state funding for workforce development and preparation, which was assessed as a percentage of total economic development expenditures.  Primary and secondary school workforce preparation was determined by the most recent data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.  The number of “career ready” adults is representative of the amount of ACT National Career Readiness Certificates per age, from 18 to 65.

The full report complete with other regional rankings can be found at http://siteselection.com/issues/2017/jan/a-tough-act-to-follow-are-locations-making-progress-in-quantifying-skills-required-by-capital-investors.cfm

 

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