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 for apprenticeships, internships, and experiential learning opportunities.
- Increased collaboration between school systems and higher education on CTE programs and development of a regional Career and Technical Education School.
- Identify and support the talent pipeline needed to enhance our regional clusters: manufacturing, life sciences and health care, food and beverage processing, and emerging technologies and IT
- Funding for post-secondary education to expand workforce training and continuing education.
- Funding for Pre K-12 and STEAM-H education
- The Virginia Values Veterans V3 program and credentialing opportunities to connect employers and veterans.
- Initiatives to attract and retain talent from higher education.
Guiding Principle: Economic development thrives where infrastructure is strong, public-private partnerships are highly active, regulatory and tax burdens are few, and cultural assets are vibrant. Businesses locate and expand in areas where these factors exist. The Chamber Supports:
- Virginia’s existing Right-to-Work laws and a mandatory minimum wage that conforms to federal law.
- The GO Virginia Initiative and results-oriented economic development programs
- Transportation funding to meet the prioritized needs of our region. To include:
- Implementation of the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan and prioritization of projects in the Roanoke region
- A federal infrastructure package that supports regional funding for interstate improvements and construction
- Strengthening the connectivity between Roanoke and the New River Valley, Lynchburg, and Greensboro with consideration for the Roanoke Region Transportation Priorities for Economic Development and Growth (TED) Study.
- Efforts to improve service and add runway capacity at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport
- Extended Amtrak service in Western Virginia
- 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) and throughout the Innovation Corridor and broader region. Therefore, the Chamber Supports:
- Expanding incentives for angel and venture capital investments in Virginia businesses.
- Increased funding and technical assistance to commercialize regional research spinoff and startup businesses through:
- Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund
- Regional Acceleration and Mentoring Program (RAMP)
- Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
- Promoting public-private partnerships to expand broadband infrastructure to support economic development and startups in underserved areas.
Guiding Principle: A balanced approach is necessary to ensure that health care is accessible, affordable, and sustainable. Sufficient healthcare funding is 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, federal and state agencies, and providers to effectively address public health, including mental health and opioid and substance abuse.
- Certificate of Public Need (COPN) reform that is comprehensive and takes into consideration changes in the health care environment at both the state and federal levels.
- That the enactment of any replacement or reform of the Affordable Care Act should avoid a single-payer system and ensure that caps on Medicaid recognize the unique nature of each state’s program and avoid transferring significant programmatic risk to the states and/or the private pay market; and the federal regulatory burden on businesses and health care providers should be streamlined.
- Association health plans to support health care affordability and accessibility for employers and employees