I remain skeptical that Virginia’s mill towns should peg their hopes for economic revival on manufacturing (see “Virginia Manufacturing Jobs Still in Decline“). But Stephen Moret, CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, makes a powerful case that Virginia can improve its track record in luring manufacturing investment.
In a lengthy comment to my post, Moret lays out his strategy, key tenets of which include building a national-class custom workforce training program, investing in site preparedness (building industrial parks on speculation), marketing more aggressively outside the state, and being more creative (and competitive with other states) on incentives.
Among the interesting tidbits of news in his comment is the fact that VEDP has has just recruited one of the top experts in the country to run the custom workforce training program, Mike Grundmann, from Georgia. He will start work next month, says Moret. “We expect to have this program up and running by late this calendar year.”
Moret has thought deeply and comprehensively about what it takes to spark a jobs revival in Virginia’s non-metropolitan areas — an effort that extends to creating small-metro and rural tech centers and a focus on place-making in historic downtowns. I am sure that the reforms he is putting in place will make a difference: Virginia will succeed in recruiting more manufacturing investment than it has done in the past few years. If you’re going to pursue a manufacturing-centric economic development policy, do it right!
Whether that’s the best use of limited resources… well, that’s another matter. But by all means, let’s have that discussion.There are currently no comments highlighted.