Governor Youngkin’s Budget Plan Advances GO Virginia Initiatives on Talent Pathways and Site Development; Restores Base Funding
RICHMOND, VA — GO Virginia initiatives received strong support in the budget plan Governor Glenn Youngkin sent to the General Assembly today. Youngkin proposed more than two dozen amendments which build upon the proposals in former Governor Ralph Northam’s 2023-2024 biennial spending blueprint, including $113 million in new investments to create incentives for collaboration on talent pathways, provide additional funding for site acquisition and development, and restore GO Virginia funding to the pre-pandemic base level.
“GO Virginia is a bipartisan success story supported by legislators in both parties and, now, by governors in both parties,” said John O. (Dubby) Wynne, chair of the nonprofit GO Virginia Foundation and a founding member of the GO Virginia State Board. “We have shown the beneficial impact of incentives for regional and inter-regional collaboration on economic development. Governor Youngkin’s forward-looking budget proposals will take this collaboration to a new level, and site development and talent pathways are exactly the right places to focus state resources.”
For talent pathways, Governor Youngkin proposed $75 million over the biennium to fund a new GO Virginia grant program designed to encourage and support workforce-related collaboration among business, educational organizations, and governmental bodies in each region’s prioritized industry sectors. “Talent pathways” refers to partnerships that make movement from learning to earning more efficient and affordable by aligning educational curricula with employer needs, embedding internships, apprenticeships, and other work-based learning opportunities in the curricula, and facilitating full-time employment in Virginia after graduation. Talent pathways that address identified regional workforce shortages and skills gaps or that meet projected workforce needs in high-growth sectors also will receive priority.
The proposed amendments seek to fulfill the new Governor’s ambitious goals for talent pathway development. At a workforce and higher education conference in October, he declared, “I truly believe that the opportunity in front of us is for Virginia to be the national leader in developing talent pathways and blaze a trail that the entire nation will want to replicate.” (click here for video).
Governor Youngkin today also proposed an additional $29 million investment in site development for the 2023-2024 biennium, an increase that would establish a $20 million baseline for annual investment in site development and build on the one-time $150 million allocation of surplus funds recommended by former Governor Northam in the current fiscal year. These combined investments will allow the Commonwealth to more effectively compete for large economic development projects against competing states around Virginia. These development grants will build upon several years of funds provided by GO Virginia to regions across the state to identify and build the inventory of shovel-ready sites.
The Governor singled out the importance of site development in his recent legislative address: “Our Day One Plan will jump-start jobs. We’re going to repeal needless regulations. We’re going to invest in job training. We’re going to foster innovation. And we’re going to win the competition for jobs and corporate re-locations. I support a significant investment in mega-sites to make sure we don’t lose the next advanced battery manufacturing plant after seeing several go to Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.” (click here for video).
Today’s budget recommendations by the new Governor also would add $4.45 million to GO Virginia’s annual base appropriation, returning it to the level originally funded in the 2021 fiscal year. A separate Youngkin budget proposal calls for a $32 million increase in the state’s investment in internships and other work-based learning, with budget language giving particular emphasis to internships that are connected to GO Virginia’s talent pathways development initiative.
“Governor Youngkin’s commitment to many of the principles of GO Virginia through his plan to invest in talent pathways and site development, will deliver long-term benefits to advance economic growth in every region of our Commonwealth,” said Nancy Howell Agee, chair of the GO Virginia State Board and president and CEO of Carilion Clinic. “These proposals, building on the strong foundation of support GO Virginia has received the past four years, are vital investments that will improve our Commonwealth’s attractiveness to job-creators and entrepreneurs.”
To learn more about GO Virginia’s regional initiatives and their impact across the Commonwealth, visit govirginia.org