PRESS RELEASE: More Than 400 Attendees Gather In-Person and Virtually for 2021 Virginia Education and Workforce Conference
Business, Higher Education, and other Virginia Leaders from Across the Commonwealth Discuss Developing Affordable Pathways for Virginia’s Talent.
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – Moments ago, the 2021 Virginia Education and Workforce Conference, hosted by the Virginia Chamber Foundation, the Virginia Business Higher Education Council (VBHEC), and the Virginia Talent and Opportunity Partnership (Virginia TOP), concluded with the participation of more than 400 attendees in-person and virtually. A recording of the conference is available upon request. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Held for the first time as a hybrid program, this annual conference serves to foster meaningful discussions between Virginia’s business, higher education, and public policy leaders on innovative solutions to align programming and investments with our talent needs and create an array of affordable pathways that move students efficiently from learning to earning, retaining them for full-time work in Virginia.
“As part of the Blueprint Virginia 2030 surveying efforts, we asked ‘What do you believe is the greatest barrier to the expansion of available internships and other work-based learning opportunities in Virginia?’ The top answer in all regions of the Commonwealth was, ‘the need for greater connectivity between employers and education institutions,’” said Virginia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Barry DuVal. “The business community stands ready to support greater collaboration with higher education institutions and public policy leaders to ensure Virginia remains a top state for business, education, and talent.”
Featured morning speakers included Jennifer Hunter, Senior Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, Altria Client Services, The Honorable Terry McAuliffe, 72nd Governor of Virginia, Democratic Candidate for Governor, and Glenn Youngkin, Republican Candidate for Governor. These keynote speakers focused their remarks around this year’s theme, “Developing Affordable Pathways for Virginia’s Talent: A Partnership between Business and Education.”
As part of the 2021 Virginia Education and Workforce Conference Luncheon, Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, and Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn were announced as the recipients of the 2021 Virginia Chamber Blueprint Virginia Award in the category of Workforce and Education for their leadership and continued support of Virginia’s workforce and talent initiatives. Delegate Kirk Cox was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment and outstanding advocacy for Virginia’s business community throughout his years of service in the Virginia House of Delegates. These awards were presented by the Virginia Chamber.
Additional Highlights from Conference Included:
- Alan Witt, CEO Emeritus, PBMares / Dean, Luter School of Business Christopher Newport University and Chair, Virginia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
- Ed Baine, President, Dominion Energy Virginia and Co-Chair, Blueprint Virginia 2030
Morning Keynote & GROWTH4VA Overview:
- Introduced by Dennis Treacy, Chair, Virginia Business Higher Education Council
- Jennifer Hunter, Senior Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, Altria Client Services
Featured Morning Speakers:
- The Honorable Terry McAuliffe, 72nd Governor of Virginia, Democratic Candidate for Governor
- Glenn Youngkin, Republican Candidate for Governor
Fostering Greater Connectivity Between Higher Education and Employers Panel Discussion
- Introduced by: Peter Blake, Director, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
- Moderated by: Dr. Dietra Trent, Special Advisor to the President, George Mason University and Co-Chair, Workforce & Education Executive Committee
- Dr. Makola Abdullah, President, Virginia State University
- Cliff Fleet, President & CEO, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
- Melissa Goodrich, Regional Vice President, Human Resources, Sentara Healthcare
- Dr. Robert Sandel, President, Virginia Western Community College
Developing Greater Workforce Resiliency: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 Panel Discussion
- Introduced by: Shawn Ryan, Senior Director for Events & Marketing, S&P Global
- Moderated by: Keith Hoelzer, Head of Business Banking, Atlantic Union Bank
- Stephen Moret, President and CEO, Virginia Economic Development Partnership
- Dr. Donna Price-Henry, Chancellor, UVA-Wise
- Brenda Woodcock, Richmond Market Chief Nursing Officer, Bon Secours
Supporting Affordable Pathways through Work-Based Learning Panel Discussion
- Moderated by: Victoria Harker, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, TEGNA Inc.
- Susan Jacobs, Vice-President of Human Resources, Newport News Shipbuilding
- Delbert Parks, Vice President and Site Executive, Micron Technology Virginia, Micron Technology, Inc.
- Dr. Tim Sands, President, Virginia Tech
- Dr. Bill Hazel, Senior Deputy Executive Director, Claude Moore Charitable Foundation
- Bridget Brown, Director, Workforce Innovations, ICF