Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks in Bristol at the Cardinal News Speaker Series. Photo Credit: Earl Neikirk/Neikirk Image.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin speaks in Bristol at the Cardinal News Speaker Series in October 2022. Photo Credit: Earl Neikirk/Neikirk Image.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin will propose establishing a new, centralized state workforce agency to administer workforce development and training programs that currently are distributed across multiple agencies, Virginia Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater told a group of community college staffers and partners at the Hire Ed Conference at the Hotel Roanoke on Thursday.

“As the governor has been saying, workforce development is not operating like it should,” Slater said in an email to Cardinal News after the annual conference, where workforce leaders gather to explore the ways in which Virginia’s community colleges respond to the needs of businesses and individuals in the commonwealth.

With over 113 workforce providers, 250 training providers, and 1,500 training programs across the commonwealth, Virginia needs to centralize its workforce training, Slater said. “We are working to create a workforce operations structure that reaches more Virginians, prioritizes workforce development, and efficiently trains and places Virginians in jobs,” he said.

Jim Babb, the spokesman for Virginia’s Community College System, said that Slater announced that the Youngkin administration will ask the General Assembly to establish the new state workforce agency. 

“The proposed changes may impact about 30 employees at our system office in Richmond. These are people who have responsibilities for administering several federal workforce programs in Virginia,” Babb said. “We’ve informed our college presidents and our system office staff about the secretary’s visit and message, and we will share additional information with them when we know more.”

Slater did not share details of the reorganization plan Thursday and a spokeswoman for the governor’s office did not provide additional information.  

Youngkin first called for a new approach to workforce development before several hundred business and civic leaders at Christopher Newport University in Newport News back in April. 

“We have got to get people to work,” Youngkin told the audience. “That is one of the biggest challenges coming out of the pandemic.” 

Markus Schmidt is a reporter for Cardinal News. Reach him at or 804-822-1594.