RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced an eight-stop listening tour to hear from Virginians about the needs of workers and employers in communities throughout the Commonwealth. The conversations, which coincide with National Workforce Development Month in September, will provide opportunities for workers, local leaders, and members of the business community to offer insight and provide feedback on how to best strengthen Virginia’s talent pipeline and address emerging employment challenges.
“Virginia was recently named the best state to do business in America, and that recognition is the result of our ongoing and targeted investments to build a diverse and highly-skilled talent pipeline,” said Governor Northam. “Over the next month, I look forward to visiting every region of the Commonwealth to hear directly from the people of Virginia about the business, workforce, and education challenges they face. These conversations will help us better understand how we can address their needs as we work to develop policies and programs aimed at expanding economic opportunity for all Virginians.”
Virginia’s workforce development system has been an area of substantial focus for the Northam administration. At the start of his term, Governor Northam appointed Dr. Megan Healy to serve as Virginia’s first cabinet-level Chief Workforce Development Advisor and improve coordination across the state’s disparate workforce development programs. The Governor has also allocated $5 million in discretionary funds to help Virginia’s community colleges restructure high demand skills-based programs to increase flexibility and better emphasize skills development.
“With unemployment at record lows, businesses are struggling to find the talent they need,” said Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy. “We know the innovative solutions to some of the Commonwealth’s largest hiring challenges will come from people in our communities closest to these issues.”
The Office of the Chief Workforce Development Advisor has created an online portal to collect input from Virginians who wish to provide feedback or ideas.
Listening sessions are scheduled for the following dates:
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