Cultivating economic growth

Published 1:55 pm Tuesday, June 26, 2018

What makes a region grow?

This is the question that area business leaders, economic developers, educators and marketers gathered at Hampden- Sydney College’s Crawley Forum Thursday during GO Virginia Region 3’s economic development summit to seek solutions.

Solutions to kick-start the area economy ranged from strengthening workforce training and apprenticeship opportunities on the K-12 level through education program (Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers) GO-TEC, which was approved by GO Virginia and received $648,000, creating greater broadband access, increasing aggressive marketing toward large-scale businesses and partnering with state and local agencies to generate business opportunities, retain employment and generate growth.

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Workforce training within K-12 and college-level education, and broadband access in particular seem to be relevant issues in the Heart of Virginia.

GO-TEC, which has a Phase Two that Prince Edward County Public Schools and Cumberland County Public Schools is expected to participate in, offers a curriculum and area apprenticeship/ career training for students at the middle school level, offering an earlier chance for students to find a trade or career they want to pursue.

The Heart of Virginia has excellent educators, with dedicated instructors and equally dedicated students who make the most of every opportunity in the area, partnering with businesses who offer their time and resources to help young people excel.

Having GO-TEC, and similar initiatives take hold could mean an enormous benefit for students in not only choosing a career path, but a career they are passionate about.

Stephen Moret with Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) brought up the need for broadband access. Agencies such as Mid-Atlantic Broadband Company and Microsoft have made strides to bring broadband to rural areas, and Moret encouraged further action.

“Looking at rural Virginia, (GO Virginia and VDEP) had a long talk about this, and ultimately embraced the critical importance of expanding broadband to every corner of the Commonwealth, not just to businesses, but to residents as well. Not just for economic development, for health care, for education, but for quality of life,” Moret said.

We at The Herald commend GO Virginia and partnering organizations for cultivating programs that promote networking, ideas and lasting change.

This editorial was corrected from its original version.