Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: September 30, 2021
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky, | Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development: Alexis Carey,

Governor Northam Announces $7.7 Million in Grants to Drive Regional Economic Growth

Funding will allow communities to prioritize local needs

RICHMONDGovernor Ralph Northam today announced an allocation of more than $7.7 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grants to advance community economic recovery efforts. This funding will support 14 projects focused on economic diversification, workforce development, talent pipelines, economic resiliency, and business-ready sites.

“As Virginia's economy continues to surge, it's important that every part of the state shares in that success,” said Governor Northam. “These grants support projects that drive local and regional economic growth, spurring innovation and creating jobs in our communities across the Commonwealth.”

GO Virginia has funded 196 projects and awarded approximately $75.6 million to support regional economic development efforts since 2017.

This round of grants include eleven regional projects and three projects through GO Virginia’s Economic Resilience and Recovery Program. The awarded projects will receive an additional $4.2 million in local and non-state resources.

“Economic development is an inherently collaborative endeavor, and GO Virginia’s regional approach has proven to be an invaluable tool in this regard,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “These projects build upon the economic assets each region has to offer, supporting job creation and new investment in the Commonwealth’s communities.”

“I would like to commend the thoughtful work of councils and partners represented in the projects awarded today,” said GO Virginia State Board Vice Chair Todd Stottlemyer. “The success of GO Virginia is predicated on the belief that communities are stronger when the public and private sectors work together on shared challenges and opportunities. The projects reflect that commitment to working collaboratively to strengthen regional economies and provide good job opportunities for the individuals who reside in them.”

Grants include a $1.4 million investment to accelerate the growth of the emerging Pharmaceutical Manufacturing cluster, making it an international leader in advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing, research, and development. This will lead to high-paying jobs, the expansion of companies, and investments in high-tech sector activity.

Another grant helps equip unemployed and under-employed residents of South Norfolk, many of which have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the skills needed to be gainfully employed in a career that provides a sustainable living wage.

To learn more about the GO Virginia program, click here.


GROW(TH): The Business of Agriculture in Southwest Virginia | $52,950
Region 1: Counties of Smyth and Washington and the towns of Abingdon, Glade Spring, Meadowview, and Saltville

Emory & Henry College School of Business will complete a feasibility study of an innovation hub for agriculture initiatives to support ongoing agriculture-related entrepreneurship education through a set of distinct, custom programs that will drive workforce growth in the sector.

Appalachian Council for Innovation Business Continuity and Resiliency | $68,500
Region 1: Counties of Bland, Wythe, and Tazewell and the towns of Bluefield and Wytheville

The Appalachian Council for Innovation, in partnership with the Appalachian Council of Business Leaders, Small Business Development Centers, and others will take a three-tiered approach to provide access to information and resources, along with knowledge of business continuity and resiliency and its importance in business survival during times of crisis. This strategy includes the implementation of community-based educational events, business continuity, resilience assessments, gap analysis, and input from the health care community to help guide businesses moving forward through the COVID-19 crisis, as well as for future disasters.

Hampton Roads Regional Energy Master Plan | $84,000
Region 5: Counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton and the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach

The Hampton Roads Alliance will work with partners to evaluate the projected population growth of the region and analyze the energy infrastructure needed to support this level of growth. This project will develop a baseline of the capacity of the current energy supply system, create a clear understanding of the capacity of that system, and identify options to deliver energy to meet further demand.

Setting Pathways that Activate Real-World Knowledge (SPARK) | $100,000
Region 5: Cities of Franklin, Newport News, Norfolk, and Portsmouth

Portsmouth Public Schools will contract with a partner organization, JASON Learning, to design, produce, publish, and distribute a digital course module to support effective classroom instruction of the SPARK course material and deliver that training to up to 100 educators from regional school districts. This project will ensure a strong connection between STEM learning opportunities available in the region’s high schools and regional workforce needs in advanced manufacturing, enabling high school juniors and seniors to prepare for immediate entry into the workforce upon graduation.

Profiles that Increase the Competencies, Knowledge and Skills that Matter | $100,000
Region 2: Counties of Floyd and Pulaski

Using the American College Testing (ACT) Job Profiling system, the New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Consortium Board will consult with experts at companies to analyze the skills, skill levels, and skill frequency workers need to be successful at certain jobs. This project will support the economic growth of the region’s priority industry clusters by developing a tool, process, and common language in helping businesses with their recruiting, hiring, training, and promoting practices. Additionally, it will assist businesses to make decisions about jobs, identify strengths, set training goals, and find appropriate training programs for in-demand jobs for high-growth businesses.

Shenandoah Valley Aviation Technology Park Site ECB | $100,000
Region 8: Counties of Augusta and Rockingham and the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Waynesboro

The Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport Commission will build-out the infrastructure of the Shenandoah Aviation Technology Park, completing the water and sewer design and engineering to support subsequent phases of the park.

Lighthouse Labs Alumni Program | $429,000
Region 4: County of Henrico and the city of Richmond 

Lighthouse Labs will strengthen the post-acceleration resources offered to startup companies in high-growth sectors. By offering support for an additional nine months after the three-month acceleration program, Lighthouse Labs will help alumni scale organically and attract outside capital to grow.

ExperienceWorks | $516,628
Region 3: Counties of Amelia, Brunswick, Charlotte, Cumberland, Danville, Halifax, Henry, Lunenburg, Martinsville, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Patrick, Pittsylvania, and Prince Edward

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research will lead the ExperienceWorks initiative, a systems approach that leverages GO Virginia Region 3 investments to connect students and young adults to high-skill, high-wage employment opportunities through a myriad of work-based learning opportunities. Establishing connections with students while they are still in high school will allow businesses to access an emerging workforce and provide mentorship, increasing the number of high school graduates in Region 3 who are connected to employment opportunities in targeted growth sectors.

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Cluster Scale-Up | $1,400,000
Region 4: Counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Hanover, Henrico, Prince George, and Powhatan and the cities of Petersburg and Richmond 

Activation Capital will accelerate growth of the emerging Pharmaceutical Manufacturing cluster for Region 4, making it an international leader in advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing and research and development, thereby growing high-paying jobs, recruitment, and expansion of companies and investment in high-tech sector activity. The project will use a six-pronged approach: create a collaborative organization, build the supply chain in the region, solve critical regional infrastructure and lab space issues, implement a communications campaign, assure workforce needs are identified and met, and cultivate strategic relationships.

Strengthening Southern Virginia’s Economy by Expanding the Inventory of Shovel-Ready Sites | $1,534,900
Region 3: Counties of Halifax, Patrick, and Pittsylvania and the city of Danville

The Southern Virginia Regional Alliance, in partnership with the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, will develop a site development program that will parallel the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s site characterization program. The project will raise seven sites, totaling 1,188 acres, from Tier 2 to Tier 4, and raise three sites, totaling 311 acres, from a Tier 2 to Tier 3 or 4 on the VBRSP scale.

2030 Initiative | $2,460,190
Region 7: Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and the city of Fairfax

Refraction Inc., in partnership with George Mason and participating localities, will double the capital raised and jobs created by technology startups and high-growth companies in Northern Virginia by 2030. The 2030 initiative is targeted to address three critical needs of startups: capital, customers, and coaching.


Career and Community Development Program Expansion | $85,222
Region 5: Cities of Chesapeake and Norfolk

The organization, Neighborhood, will help equip unemployed and under-employed residents of South Norfolk, many of which have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the skills needed to be gainfully employed in a career that provides a sustainable living wage. The organization will relocate and expand its 620-square-foot building to a larger 2,400-square-foot facility to meet a growing workforce demand in South Norfolk. Neighborhood will provide a six-month training program to provide community leaders with soft skills, personal development, community engagement, and job skills training in high demand jobs of shipbuilding, ship repair, cyber security, and information technology.

New Kent County/Rappahannock Community College Welding Program | $300,000
Region 4: Counties of Charles City, King William, and New Kent and the town of West Point

New Kent County, in partnership with Charles City County, King William County, the town of West Point, Rappahannock Community College, and local employers, will renovate a portion of the former New Kent High School to develop a start-of-the-art welding facility for the greater region. This project will address the critical and growing need for welders in the area and help revitalize the talent pipeline of welders, which was significantly stalled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tech Set | $425,000
Region 7:  Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun

Marymount University will implement a two-month educational program designed to develop work-ready social and technological skills to help economically disadvantaged juniors and seniors who were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will address a need identified by Region 7’s tech companies for entry-level workers.

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