Many Virginians Prefer Training over Incentives

Graphic credit: VCU

The Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs has published a public opinion poll delving into Virginians’ attitudes toward a wide range of issues relating to K-12, higher ed, and workforce training. The poll appears to be methodologically sound. I will use the poll results as stepping stones to address several topics.

Workforce training: When asked how to prioritize the spending of state economic development dollars, according to the poll results shown above, Virginians were evenly split between expanding workforce training and education programs over providing financial incentives to recruit new business or retain existing business.

I construe these results as evidence of potentially strong public support for my proposal, elaborated upon here, to scrap the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Development Fund, which is used to dish out financial incentives to corporations expanding in Virginia, and beefing up the state’s targeted workforce training program. The idea: Instead of attracting corporations with cash, we entice them with a skilled workforce.

As I noted in that column, addressing the jobs-skills mismatch is arguably the greatest economic challenge facing Virginia today. If a corporation can’t find the workers it needs, it won’t consider a community no matter how big the incentives. Furthermore, it makes more sense to invest in Virginia workers than subsidizing out-of-state companies that may or may not be willing to make a long-term commitment to the state.

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5 responses to “Many Virginians Prefer Training over Incentives”

  1. The problem with job training is knowing what training to provide so jobs will be available upon graduation. Companies hire professionals from large distances, paying the moving expenses. Local labor is needed only for lower-paying jobs. The advocates of job training need to provide a realistic list of the jobs that will be available to the graduates. My experience is that companies will train the people they hire, provided the people have a good work ethic and are socially adept.

  2. I think the issue the state is considering is that people will move easier than companies.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    Companies will locate where there is an existing skilled workforce – preferentially over incentives and on-the-job training.

    We have such a shortage of higher-educated labor that it’s become an avalanche of H1B visas.

    Look in any directory of physicians and other medical providers or the companies like GOOGLE or Microsoft or Facebook – and you’ll see a LOT of foreign surnames..

    It’s pretty sad what is happening to this country. Our kids – even the “college-educated” ones are ending up in the service sector and folks from all over the world come here – work their butts off to get a significant degree in higher ed are are out-competing us for many of the upper tier jobs.

    Only 1/3 of our kids pass K-12 as “proficient”. We rank 20th and worse in the world on core education like literacy, math and science so it’s no surprise we don’t seem to know what to “train” for in the way of jobs. Those with the foreign surnames seem to have no such confusion.

    we have become a nation of lard-butts – both physically and educationally.

  4. Might the schools be at fault, rather than the lard? Read the book Crimes of the Educators.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      the schools are not at fault. There is a huge variety of methods for one to become educated … pick the one that works for you.

      too much blame of others and too little taking responsibility for one’s own self.

      folks from other countries with an additional obstacle of language seem to be able to successfully navigate the system to get an education..

      we’ve become lard-butts who like to blame govt and blame institutions instead of owning our own responsibilities and duties.

      we want the govt to provide us with jobs… can you imagine? what happened to doing the things you needed to do – to go to where jobs ARE, AND to personally seek and get the education needed to successfully compete for the jobs that are available? Why in the world are we “entitled” to a job and an education beyond K-12?

      we have become fat and lazy and expecting the govt to “provide” education and jobs.. everywhere else in the world – people are GLAD to have just the OPPORTUNITY to work and obtain an education.

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