Mental Health Advocacy

On October 6, the RRCC submitted a public comment regarding mental health in alignment with our legislative agenda on healthcare.

RE: Chapter II, Psychiatric Services page 15-16, DMAS requirements regarding provider qualifications for outpatient counseling

The Roanoke Regional Chamber supports initiatives to effectively address mental health in our region, particularly through early intervention. We recommend that the proposed changes to provider qualifications for psychiatric services as outlined in Chapter II, pages 15-16 not be approved. If enacted, the proposed changes will impact businesses and organizations in the Roanoke Valley and result in fewer mental health services for children across the Commonwealth.

Today, children and families benefit enormously from quality, child-focused early intervention services to alleviate the life-long effects of adverse childhood events and/or early identification and treatment for mental illness. Removing access to these services will leave our most vulnerable populations more impaired for longer periods of time, further impacting their opportunities for successful long-term outcomes.

Continued access to robust, community-based services covered by Medicaid in childhood directly reduces costs on other state and community resources. Without this access, the Commonwealth will experience increased costs of incarceration, hospitalization, and in-patient services—which are all negative outcomes associated with not receiving intervention for childhood trauma or early onset mental illness. Please keep access as open as it is now for children to receive outpatient mental health services.

Does your business accept interns or apprentices?

Virginia Western recently posted results from the Career and Technical Education (CTE), and the statistics revealed the extent to which employers will contribute to employee training.

96% of employers provide in-house training, 70% offer financial assistance for external training, 75% contribute to licensure or certification, and 89% accept interns or apprentices. This data reaffirms the rising demand for skilled labor and proves that the business community is willing to invest in the workforce they need.

We are polling our members to determine which businesses offer internships, apprenticeships, or job shadowing programs. Take this two minute survey and let us connect your business with students seeking experiential learning opportunities.

The data we collect will be used as a resource for students, school administrators and career counselors in our region. The Chamber’s role is not to update specific openings/closings or accept applications. This survey is intended to collect information on which companies offer internships, apprenticeships, or shadowing opportunities, and then provide the data to students and career staff as a resource. Students seeking positions should coordinate directly with the point of contact provided in the survey.

Carilion Clinic President and CEO Contributes $35,000 to the President Nathaniel L. Bishop Endowed Scholarship

ROANOKE, Va. (Oct. 26, 2017) — On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, Jefferson College of Health Sciences hosted a gala in celebration of the college’s 35th anniversary as a degree-granting institution at The Hotel Roanoke in downtown Roanoke, Virginia.

During the program, hosted by Ms. Neesey Payne, Carilion Clinic President and CEO Ms. Nancy Howell Agee spoke to the audience of approximately 250 guests about the history of the college dating back to 1911, how Roanoke’s only downtown college has contributed to the revitalization of the area, and how the institution is attracting record numbers of students from 35 states and territories, including Washington, DC, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alaska and Hawaii.

At the conclusion of Ms. Agee’s remarks, she said that all proceeds from the gala celebration would go toward the President Nathaniel L. Bishop Endowed Scholarship, which began in 2016 with a personal contribution from Jefferson College President Dr. Nathaniel L. Bishop. The scholarship funds tuition, books and other expenses for undergraduate students.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be in healthcare, and frankly, in Roanoke,” said Ms. Agee. “And Jefferson is contributing mightily to both. I have been inspired and believe so strongly in the College’s mission and in Dr. Bishop’s leadership,” Ms. Agee said, “in recognition of the 35th anniversary, I am issuing a match up to $35,000 in support of his scholarship. If we raise $35,000, I will match it dollar for dollar. Thank you, Jefferson College.”

“I am humbled and honored by Nancy’s contribution to the scholarship that bears my name,” Dr. Bishop said. “Her generosity, combined with that of our alumni and friends of the college, will ensure that we can continue to prepare ethical, knowledgeable, competent and caring healthcare professionals who will improve the health of our communities for generations to come.”

In addition to Ms. Agee, Jefferson College welcomed remarks from Dr. Michael Friedlander, Founding Executive Director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and Vice-President for Health Sciences and Technology at Virginia Tech; The Honorable Sherman P. Lea, Sr., Mayor of the City of Roanoke; Ms. Lori Viar, ’99, alumna and Member of the Jefferson College Board of Directors; and Mr. Stephen Musselwhite, Chair of the College Board. The program also included Jefferson College alumni speakers Dr. Cornelius Powell, ’11, Emergency Medicine Resident at Carolinas Medical Center; Ms. Melissa Harper, ’90 & 97’, Forensic Nurse Examiner at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital; and Mr. David Hoback, Chief of Roanoke City Fire-EMS.

About Jefferson College of Health Sciences

Jefferson College of Health Sciences is a private higher education institution that “prepares, within a scholarly environment, ethical, knowledgeable, competent and caring healthcare professionals.”  The College focuses on providing healthcare education and is a part of Carilion Clinic. Founded in 1914 as the Jefferson Hospital School of Nursing, Jefferson College now provides more than 1,100 students with opportunities to become part of the healthcare profession, serving communities from southwest Virginia to the Shenandoah Valley and beyond. The school’s graduates are building healthier tomorrows in our region and across the country every day. More information is available at www.jchs.edu.


Poe & Cronk Awarded Management of 305,000-Square-Foot Mixed-Use Portfolio for Virginia Tech Foundation

BLACKSBURG, VA – The Virginia Tech Foundation has selected Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group to provide property and facility management services for a 305,000 square foot portfolio of mixed use properties located adjacent to the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, VA.

This portfolio is comprised of three large commercial properties owned by the Virginia Tech Foundation and located along Prices Fork Road and Turner Street. These properties are known locally as North End (formerly Collegiate Square Shopping Center), North End Center, and University Gateway Center.

All three properties are high-end mixed-use retail and office locations housing various university and foundation offices, commercial offices, and retail tenants including Carilion Velocity Care, Starbucks, Five Guys, BB&T, and Buffalo Wild Wings.

“We are honored and excited to have been selected by the Virginia Tech Foundation to provide property management services for these prestigious Class-A properties at Virginia Tech,” said Matt Huff, Executive Vice President/COO of Poe & Cronk.

“These outstanding Blacksburg properties located next to the campus are an excellent addition to the growing number of office and retail properties managed by our firm,” remarked Dennis Cronk, President/CEO of Poe & Cronk.”

About Poe & Cronk

Poe & Cronk is a locally owned and internationally recognized leading full-service commercial real estate company. The firm is comprised of a team of real estate professionals with more than 300 combined years of experience and more than $1B in real estate transaction knowledge in selling, leasing, and managing commercial, industrial, and investment real estate. In business for more than 30 years, Poe & Cronk provides commercial and investment real estate services throughout western Virginia.


RRCC Comments to VDOT & DRPT on Transportation Policies

On behalf of the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce and its members, thank you for the opportunity to address our region’s transportation priorities.

Strengthening the reliability between the Roanoke and New River Valleys along I-81 is a focus for the Chamber. While supportive of the transparent and objective approach that SMART SCALE uses to allocate transportation funding, it has become increasingly apparent that our region is at a competitive disadvantage in the scoring process.

Clearly, we don’t have the same level of congestion as Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Perhaps viewed as a “good” problem to face, this “lack” of congestion makes competing for high priority funds under the current scoring system difficult for our Region.

Under the current scoring system, I-81 is not viewed as having a congestion problem but rather a reliability problem. Our local elected leaders attempted to correct the scoring disparity through legislation last year which, if passed, would have integrated highway reliability as a factor in the current scoring system. Unfortunately, this measure was not successful.

The 1-81 corridor is the leading transportation complaint we continuously hear from our Chamber members. The need to remedy I-81 is immediate and critical, particularly as we further develop our regional partnerships with the New River Valley. We urge you to consider changes to the scoring system to include reliability as a factor in funding decisions.

In line with strengthening our regional ties, the Chamber applauds the CTB for funding a feasibility study to examine the expansion of passenger rail in to the New River Valley.

By adding a new layer to our multi-modal transportation portfolio, we will be able to decrease the number of vehicles on I-81 and offer a more reliable and safe commuter option. Ultimately, we hope to see service extend into Bristol, and this study is an important first step in reaching that goal.

Our region is growing at a rate that our aging infrastructure will not be able to support, so we are relying on our leaders to consider creative solutions to meet our transportation needs. We understand that significant transportation investment comes at a cost, and we appreciate our local CTB leaders advocating for our region.

Improvements to I-81, expanded passenger rail, and better air service are directly tied to the economic growth and regionalism we need to strengthen our business climate. On behalf of the Chamber, thank you for your dedicated service to the Commonwealth and for your consideration of these transportation priorities.