With the recent announcement that Virginia’s labor force is at an all-time high, the state’s economy seems to humming. Nick Gilmore reports on a group that hopes to continue the trend by luring high profile jobs to the Commonwealth.
GO Virginia is an initiative created by last year’s General Assembly that aims to encourage economic growth in the state.
The program is divided into specific regions. Raymond Smoot is chair of GO Virginia Region 2, which includes the New River and Roanoke Valleys.
“It focuses primarily on creating higher-paying jobs. A higher-paying job is any job that is above the average for the region; in our case, a higher-paying job is above $38,000 a year.”
The state gave the program money to attract those jobs to each region. Once the first allotment is used, the regions will compete with one another to get an additional $10 million from the state available for economic development efforts.
John Provo is the director of economic development at Virginia Tech. His office was contracted by GO Virginia’s Regional Council to provide staff, planning and research for the initiative in the New River and Roanoke areas.
He says Region 2 has around $1 million to work with. Grant applicants need to show that they can work together with other entities, such as the state’s colleges and universities, in order to attract high-wage jobs to the area.
“We also realize that this isn’t enough money to change the world in and of itself, so applicants need to bring some skin in the game. We are expecting at a minimum a one-to-one match of any GO Virginia resources.”
The program is accepting project proposals through November 28th.