Leaders Gather Virtually to Discuss Supporting Virginia’s Talent Pipeline Through Greater Access and Equity in Education
October 27th, 2020

Media Contact

Paul Logan

PRESS RELEASE: Leaders Gather Virtually to Discuss Supporting Virginia’s Talent Pipeline Through Greater Access and Equity in Education

 RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – Moments ago, the 2020 Virginia Education & Workforce Conference concluded, with participation of elected and appointed officials, leaders in education and workforce development, and members of the business community from across the Commonwealth. Highlights from the conference included featured speakers and panel discussions focused on creating diverse pathways for in demand careers, the importance of talent development for the Virginia economy, and improving access and equity in Virginia education.

The Virginia Talent and Opportunity Partnership (Virginia TOP), a public-private partnership formed between the Virginia Chamber Foundation and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), was unveiled as part of the 2020 Virginia Education and Workforce Conference. Virginia TOP is tasked with creating greater connectivity between students, institutions of higher education, and the employer community to expand paid and credit-bearing internship and other work-based learning opportunities. Funded through the Commonwealth Innovative Internship Fund and Program, Virginia TOP, is currently in the first stage of a multi-year rollout. Virginia TOP will continue to develop resources focused on building and retaining a talented workforce with the skills needed to fill in-demand jobs across Virginia.

“Access to a talented, well-educated workforce continues to be one of the top priorities for businesses in Virginia. Through the Virginia TOP, we have the opportunity to foster greater connectivity between the education institutions, and employers,” said Virginia Chamber President and CEO Barry DuVal. “Virginia TOP will strengthen the transition from learning to earning for all stakeholders throughout the Commonwealth.”

 “The Innovative Internship Program (the Program) creates a new pathway for Virginia’s students, not only to meet current workforce needs and regional economic growth, but also to enhance job readiness and higher education affordability,” said State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Director Peter Blake. “The Virginia Talent and Opportunity Partnership is a significant public-private partnership to help accomplish the goals of the Program and complement other ongoing efforts to increase connectivity between students and employers around the commonwealth.”

More information on the Virginia Talent and Opportunity Partnership announcement can be found here.  


2020 Virginia Education and Workforce Conference Program:

Recording of the conference program can be provided upon request. 

Please contact n.bunce@vachamber.com

  • Keynote Remarks
    • Dave Henderson, President, United States Operations, Commercial & State Government, CGI
  • Special Remarks
    • William “Ed” Trumbull, Vice President, Workforce Innovation, ICF
    • J.D. Myers, II, J.D. Myers, Senior Vice President & Virginia Region Manager, Cox Communications
  • Creating Diverse Pathways for In Demand Careers Panel Discussion
    • Moderated by – Peter Blake, Director, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
    • Panelists:
      • Makola Abdullah, Ph.D., President, Virginia State University
      • The Honorable Siobhan Dunnavant, Senate of Virginia
      • John Downey Ph.D., President, Blue Ridge Community College
  • Talent Development and Its Impact on Virginia’s Economy Panel Discussion
    • Moderated by – Stephen Moret, President & CEO, Virginia Economic Development Partnership
    • Panelists:
      • Greg Gartland, Chief Product Officer, S&P Global
      • Glenn Youngkin, Chairman and Co-Founder, Virginia Ready
      • Michel Zajur, President & CEO Virginia Hispanic Chamber
  • Improving Access and Equity in Virginia Education Panel Discussion
    • Moderated by – Maria Tedesco, President, Atlantic Union Bank
    • Panelists:
      • Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, President, Norfolk State University
      • The Honorable Lamont Bagby, Virginia House of Delegates
      • Elizabeth Creamer, VP, Workforce Development & Credential Attainment, Community College Workforce Alliance
      • Dr. James Lane, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Commonwealth of Virginia

The full program for the 2020 Virginia Education and Workforce Conference can be found here.




About the Virginia Chamber Foundation:

 The Virginia Chamber Foundation tracks Virginia’s economic competitiveness, conducts research and analysis, and hosts programs – connected to the priorities of Blueprint Virginia 2025.  In December 2017, the Chamber released an update to its long-term strategic economic development plan, Blueprint Virginia 2025, which engaged over 6,000 business and community leaders to lay out a plan to getting Virginia back to the top of national business climate rankings. In the fall of 2020, the Virginia Chamber will begin to cultivate policy recommendations and foster key discussions for the next update, Blueprint Virginia 2030. Learn more at www.vachamber.com/foundation