A map of GO Virginia regions. Courtesy of GO Virginia.

Governor Glenn Youngkin has announced more than $1,261,859 in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grant awards for eight projects focused on creating talent pipelines to support regional economic growth.

Four of those are in Southwest and Southside; one is aimed at teaching welding to prisoners. Here’s how they are described by the governor’s office:

Regional Talent Strategy Implementation | $315,910
Region 2: Counties of Botetourt, Franklin and Roanoke, and the cities of Covington, Roanoke and Salem
The Western Virginia Workforce Development Board, in partnership with the Roanoke Regional Partnership, will implement a regional talent strategy in the Roanoke Valley and Alleghany Highlands focused on talent development, talent attraction and retention. This project will include the creation of a regional web-based talent portal, toolkits for businesses to use for recruitment and an annual retreat for the region’s economic and workforce partners, as well as the development of a talent ambassador volunteer program.

GO TEC Region 1 | $308,924
Region 1: Counties of Carroll, Grayson and Wythe
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 one middle school in Wythe County Public Schools. By offering students specialized training in Region 1 industry priorities, this project will create a talent pipeline yielding measurable results in terms of students being exposed to career pathways within the region, increasing the number of graduates who earn certifications in those pathways and offering new job opportunities upon graduation.

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

Mountain Empire Community College Project WELD | $101,025
Region 1: Counties of Scott and Wise, and the city of Norton
Mountain Empire Community College will create a welding certification program through a collaboration with the Virginia Department of Corrections Wise Correctional Unit and regional manufacturing and industrial employers to address a demonstrated workforce need for entry-level welders. This project will train incarcerated individuals and link them to available employment opportunities upon release, resolving the unmet need for skilled workers in this industry and providing opportunities to a ready-to-train population willing to work.