“The chamber deserves kudos for digging deep to gain a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the commonwealth’s business climate. Its leaders spent a year traveling across the state, talking with more than 6,000 Virginians. It has taken what it learned and developed a fact-based, wide-ranging blueprint for reviving Virginia’s animal spirits — and expectations for economic leadership. (You can check the details at vachamber.com/advocacy/blueprint-virginia/.)
The blueprint explores broad themes, with an emphasis on cultivating a well-trained and -educated workforce that is attuned to rising opportunities in the job markets. The plan also stresses the need to invigorate growth in all of Virginia’s regions. These may seem like obvious objectives, but the chamber describes the needs with admirable clarity and offers plausible paths to progress. It is especially helpful in identifying low-hanging fruit — the straightforward policy reforms, such as cuts in local machinery and tool taxes, that can pay quick dividends.”
“The Virginia Chamber of Commerce on Friday officially delivered to Gov.-Elect Ralph Northam its wide-ranging action plan to improve Virginia’s economic climate.
Blueprint Virginia 2025, a year-long effort that included input from more than 6,000 businesses, was officially released to more than 900 attendants at the chamber’s annual Virginia Economic Summit at the Williamsburg Lodge.
“We are pleased to present Blueprint Virginia 2025 to Gov.-Elect Northam as the business community’s unified voice and plan to get Virginia back to the top state for business,” chamber CEO Barry DuVal said. “This document is the result of a collaborative process, which brought diverse, bipartisan stakeholder groups together from across the commonwealth to identify and present solutions for our state’s most pressing challenges.”
The comprehensive report provides detailed recommendations on how the commonwealth can strengthen its position as an economic leader in the global economy and improve its national business rankings.
The chamber says the effort is critical. Virginia has dropped in national business rankings, and the commonwealth’s income, employment and GDP growth rank has fallen over the past 10 years. Much of that decline can be attributed to the effects of sequestration on defense spending.
The priorities and recommendations in the plan were derived from regional briefings, chamber events, surveys and Blueprint Virginia’s industry councils.
The chamber also worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Port Authority and GO Virginia, an initiative that supports regional economic development cooperation.
A chamber survey showed that maintaining a skilled workforce remained businesses’ No. 1 concern. The survey also showed that business owners support comprehensive tax reform, including in manufacturing, where Virginia ranks poorly for its tax climate for manufacturers.”
“Virginia business leaders have quite a few suggestions for incoming Gov. Ralph Northam and the General Assembly, hoping their ideas can make the state the No. 1 place for doing business once again.
The Virginia Chamber revealed its latest Blueprint 2025 business plan on Friday in Williamsburg, focusing on the state’s persistent need to grow and attract a talented workforce.”
“Improving Virginia’s economy will be the top priority of Gov.-elect Ralph Northam, who says he wants to bring all of the state’s economic development initiatives under one authority in his administration.
Northam said Thursday the state has “a lot of tools in the toolbox” to diversify and grow the state’s economy, including the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Center for Innovative Technology, and GO Virginia, a fledgling attempt to foster regional collaboration in developing new industries.
“I really want to bring those together under one tent,” the governor-elect told news media at the Virginia Press Association’s annual legislative day at its headquarters in western Henrico County.
“I like the direction the governor-elect is going,” said Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the state chamber, which expects a record crowd of more than 900 people at the eighth annual summit on Friday.
“We are calling for coordination and cooperation for workforce development,” DuVal said. “We are also calling for coordination and cooperation in economic development, and I am pleased to hear the governor-elect’s remarks.”
Virginia’s major economic development programs, such as VEDP, are largely independent, business-driven initiatives, so it was not clear how the new governor intends to unify their missions.
“The governor-elect wants to ensure that when entrepreneurs and businesses choose Virginia, they are able to easily and efficiently navigate the resources available to support them,” spokeswoman Ofirah Yheskel said in an email statement. “The commonwealth has a number of different workforce and economic development programs that we need to make sure are working in a coordinated and efficient manner, and that will be a focus for the new administration.”
The blueprint is the second long-term plan produced by the chamber to stake out policy objectives for a new governor, but the business community won’t face much of a sales job with Northam, who was briefed on the plan and appears to be using a similar road map to bolster the state’s economy in the face of political uncertainty over federal spending and policy.
Like the chamber, the governor-elect (and current lieutenant governor) said he is focused most on workforce development, beginning with greater investments in early childhood and K-12 education, as well as colleges, universities and community colleges in providing skills for future workers in emerging industries.”
“Increasing the number of project-ready building sites and allocating funding for blue-collar job training were just a few of the ideas presented to state business leaders Friday.
Those business leaders gathered at the Williamsburg Lodge for the 8th annual Virginia Economic Summit. This year’s theme was Strengthening Virginia’s Future.”
“Blueprint Virginia 2025 may help address those issues.
The document, presented by Virginia Chamber President and CEO Barry DuVal, was an update to the original economic plan adopted in 2013 called Blueprint Virginia.
More than 6,000 business and public policy leaders participated in the process of creating the plan through a survey, regional briefings, partnerships Industry Council meetings and chamber events.
There are six pillars the eight-year document focuses on: investing in a well-trained talent supply pipeline, improving infrastructure and capacity for business leadership, fostering a competitive pro-business climate, facilitating regional prosperity and economic development, enabling innovation and entrepreneurship, and creating a high quality of life and place.”
“The value of the chamber’s plan is that it was developed from surveys and meetings of business and community leaders throughout the commonwealth and is backed up by economic data, expertise and insight. The recommendations focus on key areas for improving the state’s economy, including workforce development, education and transportation.”