Education and Workforce Development
Guiding Principle: Educated, trained, qualified workers contribute in great measure the economic strength of the Commonwealth. Employees able to meet the challenges and opportunities of doing business in this century and to fuel growth are critical. As a result, the Chamber Supports:
- Initiatives encouraging collaboration between the business and education communities.
- Development of a regional Career and Technical Education School.
- Identify and support the talent pipeline needed to enhance our regional clusters: health care, research and life sciences.
- Funding for post-secondary education to expand workforce training and continuing education.
- Funding for Pre K-12, STEM-H and economic awareness curriculum.
Guiding Principle: Economic development thrives where infrastructure is strong, where public-private partnerships are highly active and where regulatory and tax burdens are few. Businesses locate and expand in areas where these factors exist. In addition to the commonwealth’s existing Right-to-Work laws and current mandatory minimum wage, the Chamber Supports:
- The GO Virginia Initiative and results-oriented economic development programs that encourage regional cooperation with a focus on identified cluster opportunities of health care, research and the life sciences.
- Transportation funding to meet the prioritized needs of our region. To include:
- Strengthening the reliability between New River Valley and Roanoke along I-81
- Continued efforts to improve service at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport
- A regional strategy focused on connecting Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
- The Virginia Values Veterans V3 program to connect employers and veterans.
- The continued safe development of cost effective, traditional and renewable energy sources in an effort to balance economic development, the environment and property rights.
Research and Technology
Guiding Principle: Critical to our region’s future economic growth is an environment that develops and invests in research, technology and innovation. It is essential that our region act swiftly to assist in formation and commercialization of research and innovation opportunities at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI). Therefore, the Chamber Supports:
- Expanding incentives for angel and venture capital investments in Virginia businesses.
- Increased funding to commercialize regional research spinoff and startup businesses through:
- Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund
- Regional Acceleration and Mentoring Program (RAMP)
- Promoting public-private partnerships to expand broadband infrastructure to support economic development and startups in under-served areas.
Guiding Principle: A balanced approach is necessary to ensure that low-income individuals have healthcare. It’s time for a real conversation in Virginia to ensure health care is accessible, affordable, and sustainable. Sufficient healthcare funding necessary to ensure the continued viability of healthcare providers who serve the uninsured and underinsured through charity care. Therefore, the Chamber Supports:
- Working with lawmakers and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to effectively address mental health in our region.
- Certificate of Public Need (COPN) reform that models the recommendations from the 2015 COPN workgroup.
- That the enactment of any replacement of the Affordable Care Act should promote greater parity between expansion and non-expansion states; should ensure that caps on Medicaid recognize the unique nature of each state’s program and avoid transferring significant programmatic risk to the states; and the federal regulatory burden on businesses and health care providers should be streamlined.