Grants to Support Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Workforce Development 

RICHMOND, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin today announced more than $1,261,859 in Growth and Opportunity Scholarships for Virginia (GO Virginia) for eight projects focused on building critical talent pipelines to support growth regional economy, strengthen workforce development and support collaborative programs between localities, public entities and private companies.

“GO Virginia encourages regional collaboration between business, education and government leaders while supporting innovative approaches to reinvigorate our workforce and economic development,” Governor Youngkin said. “These projects will equip Virginians with the tools they need to thrive while strengthening opportunities for workforce training and talent development across the Commonwealth.”

“GO Virginia has been instrumental in shaping Virginia’s economic development strategies and fostering innovation and collaboration,” said Secretary of Commerce and Commerce Caren Merrick. “We are creating a stronger portfolio of entrepreneurial ecosystems while providing Virginians with the workforce development opportunities they need to diversify unique regional economies across the Commonwealth.”

GO Virginia’s Board of Directors includes key members of the Governor’s Cabinet, business community and general assembly leaders, including Secretary of Commerce and Commerce Caren Merrick and Secretary of Finance Steve Cummings.

“As a new member of the Board of Directors, I am thrilled today to see the results of the hard work of all GO Virginia Regional Councils and partners,” said GO Board Member Todd Gilbert. Virginia and President of the Virginia House of Delegates. “It is exciting to see how these projects plan to generate the economic impact and growth that these regions seek – expanding the pool of ready-to-use talent to support strategic industrial sectors and creating a dynamic and enabling environment for startups with high growth potential in the Commonwealth.

Since the program’s inception in 2017, GO Virginia has funded 215 projects and awarded approximately $82.2 million to support regional economic development efforts. To learn more about the GO Virginia program, visit


Implementation of the regional talent strategy | $315,910
Region 2: Botetourt, Franklin, and Roanoke counties, and the cities of Covington, Roanoke, and Salem
The Western Virginia Workforce Development Board (WVWDB), in partnership with the Roanoke Regional Partnership (RRP), will implement a regional talent strategy in the Roanoke Valley and Alleghany Highlands focused on the development, attraction and retention of talents. This project will include the creation of a regional talent web portal, toolkits for companies to use for recruitment and an annual retreat for economic and labor partners in the region, as well as the development of a talent ambassador volunteer program.

GO TEC Region 1 | $308,924
Region 1: Carroll, Grayson and Wythe counties
Carroll County Public Schools, in partnership with Great Opportunities in Technology and Engineering Careers (GO TEC), will pilot GO TEC Career Connections labs at Carroll County Middle School, Grayson County Middle School, and a college in County Public Schools. Wythe. By providing students with specialized training in Region 1 industry priorities, this project will create a talent pipeline producing measurable results in terms of students being exposed to career paths in the region, increasing the number of graduates who obtain certifications in these paths and offering new job opportunities. upon graduation.

Activation Capital’s Regional Entrepreneurship Initiative (IRE) for Region 4 | $300,000
Region 4: Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Greensville, Hanover, Henrico, Powhatan, Prince George, Surry, and Sussex counties, and the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, and Petersburg
Activation Capital will lead an in-depth, region-wide planning process for the Regional Entrepreneurship Initiative (IRE). This project will allow partners to further develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem in alignment with the regional growth and diversification plan while creating long-term sustainable strategies.

Promotion of careers in aquaculture | $100,000
Region 6: Gloucester, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northumberland and Westmoreland counties
The Rappahannock Community College (RCC) Educational Foundation will promote jobs in the aquaculture sector through the development of e-learning modules, a week-long immersive summer school experience and an internship. four week summer at a local aquaculture company. This project will provide high school students with a better understanding of the jobs available in the sector, expand training opportunities that meet employers’ needs, and support internship opportunities that promote experience and awareness. Additionally, the RCC will work with business partners to explore an industry-recognized certificate/diploma that would serve as a non-credit option available to RCC students interested in pursuing a career in aquaculture.

VGA Refresh/Restart: A Strategy for Regional Economic Development in Southern Virginia | $100,000
Regions 3 and 4: Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Lunenburg and Mecklenburg counties, and the city of Emporia
Virginia’s Growth Alliance (VGA) will lead the development of a strategic reset of goals, priorities, direction and support to better reflect changes in the organization and economic development landscape, realigning the organization in a more effective and lasting posture. This grant will develop and strengthen the capacity of the regional economic development organization through business sector analysis, workforce study, regional incentive analysis and campaign feasibility study. of financing.

Fair for internships and hiring workshops | $36,000
Region 6: Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties, and the city of Fredericksburg
The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with five school divisions, Rappahannock Goodwill Career Works, Germanna Community College, and the University of Mary Washington, will pilot and host an internship expo that connects high school and post-secondary students with employers. sponsored internships in targeted industries in the region. This grant will also include five hiring workshops held throughout the year, allowing students to connect with business leaders and foster talent development in the region.


Mountain Empire WELD Community College Project | $101,025
Region 1: Scott and Wise counties, and the town of Norton
Mountain Empire Community College (MECC) will create a welding certification program through collaboration with the Wise Correctional Unit of the Virginia Department of Corrections and regional manufacturing and industrial employers to address a demonstrated need for labor for beginner welders. This project will train incarcerated individuals and connect them to available employment opportunities upon release, solving the unmet need for skilled workers in this industry and providing opportunities for a population ready to train and willing to work.