One Year Later: An Update from Virginia Works by Carrie Roth, Commissioner, Virginia Works
May 29th, 2024

Just over a year ago at ITAC (Industrial Turnaround Corporation) in Chesterfield County, with great celebration from the business community and job seekers, Governor Glenn Youngkin signed HB2195 and SB1470 creating the Virginia Department of Workforce Development and Advancement – what we call Virginia Works – consolidating Virginia’s workforce programs to create, sustain, and retain a highly-skilled workforce. As part of the Governor’s ‘Compete to Win’ plan to bring the Commonwealth of Virginia to a whole new level, we are fundamentally transforming how we deliver workforce development programs, education and training, and service delivery in Virginia.

Currently, there are over 4,455,000 Virginians employed – over 204,000 more since January 2022; unemployment is at 2.8 percent; the labor force participation rate is 66.4 percent – the highest in over a decade; and yet, we still have 243,000 job openings in the Commonwealth. We recognize what you all – Virginia’s employers – are facing today. Businesses of all sizes are grappling with skilled-worker shortages, as well as recruitment, retention, and training challenges, hindering your ability to grow and thrive. Changes in work, the workplace and technological innovation are impacting your workforce needs. Employees and job seekers are feeling the pressure too, with over two-thirds of workers across the nation who are willing to reskill or upskill to remain competitive and respond to this change. The workforce is undergoing both a generational and structural transformation as work is increasingly organized around skills, rather than specific jobs. These dynamics require a new approach to workforce development. As you know, these changes mean it’s no longer business as usual when it comes to recruitment, retention, and training. It requires the partners in the workforce ecosystem to respond to this change too.

At Virginia Works, we are leading this change. We will use a data-driven approach to ensure programmatic performance is quantitatively measured and tracked, and foundational to ongoing efforts to strengthen impact. We will create a modern, service-delivery model through an end-user perspective, in a cost-effective sustainable manner. We will build on current and expand work-based learning opportunities within the state infrastructure through active partnerships. Our priorities are aligned with the high-demand occupations, VEDP’s prioritized sectors, and high-skilled trades.

Our vision is that Virginia’s nation-leading workforce system equips Virginians with the skills they need and enables employers to attract, grow, and retain them – ensuring the future of a thriving Commonwealth. In parallel with the stand-up of Virginia Works, we are accelerating the coordination, enhancement, and future readiness of the Commonwealth’s many workforce programs and stakeholders across the government and broader ecosystem. We are all part of Team Virginia and have a shared goal for Virginia to have the top talent in the country. We will accomplish this through intentional coordination, collaboration, and communication with partners across the Commonwealth – and keeping our customers (employers and job seekers) at the center of everything we do and not worrying about who gets the credit.

We look forward to continually engage you in this effort. Together, we will strategically drive the Commonwealth’s workforce programs to empower individuals with the demand-driven skills they need to be successful and your businesses to thrive. We have a great deal of work ahead of us. Now more than ever, we need to double-down on our customer-focused efforts to deliver the best service to businesses and the individuals we connect to opportunity to ensure that Virginia Works for everyone.

Carrie Roth
Director, Virginia Works