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News & Press: 2018 Economic Development News

Governor Northam Announces Virginia Named Top State in Annual Workforce Development Rankings

Monday, March 5, 2018  
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Governor Northam Announces Virginia Named Top State in Annual Workforce Development Rankings


~ Virginia rises to first in Atlantic region in Site Selection Magazine rankings ~


RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia rose from second to first in the Atlantic region in a recent analysis of state workforce development activities conducted by Site Selection Magazine. Among the eight states that were ranked, Virginia scored ahead of highly competitive states such as Florida, North Carolina, Maryland, and Delaware. This year, the magazine based their analysis on the context in which each state’s workforce development programs are applied rather than the specific programs themselves.


“Virginia’s position as a top state for workforce development shows that our efforts to fuel the New Virginia Economy by building a 21st century workforce are working,” said Governor Northam. “Workforce development is a top priority for my administration, which is why I appointed Megan Healy as Virginia’s first Cabinet-level Chief Workforce Advisor, to focus our attention on these issues at the highest level. A strong workforce is a draw for companies looking to either relocate their operations or expand their existing business and I am pleased Virginia is able to offer this.”

“In Virginia, we know our world-class workforce is an unparalleled economic asset,” said Chief Workforce Advisor Megan Healy. “Our improved ranking shows the national business community has noticed too.”

Instead of looking at a state’s specific workforce development programs, Site Selection Magazine examined the context in which these programs are applied in order to gauge the strength of a state’s workforce development environment. Site Selection ranked states regionally and used data from CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business 2017 Workforce and Education sub-rankings, Forbes’ Best States for Business 2017 Labor Supply sub-rankings, US News’ 2017 Best States for Education rankings, ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) rankings, and the average number of workforce development enactments passed in 2015 & 2016 in order to create a comprehensive workforce development profile for each state.

Virginia’s earning in the top regional spot reflects the effort of the Commonwealth’s workforce development and education partners. Virginia ranks 6th in the nation amongst “best educated states” and set a record for most bachelor’s degrees earned in state history in the 2016-2017 year. Virginia’s Workforce Credential Grant Program is also enabling the pursuit of “new collar”, middle-skills training to fill openings in in-demand industries.

The full report complete with other regional rankings can be found here.  

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