RD649 - Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board 2019 Annual Report

Executive Summary:

GO Virginia is designed to encourage and reward regional collaboration around efforts to spur high-wage job growth in regionally-selected traded sector industry clusters while expanding and diversifying regional economies. Between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2019, GO Virginia provided $20.8 million in funding for 60 diverse and distinctive projects. These included 36 project implementation grants (34 utilizing regional per capita funds and 2 using statewide competitive funds) and 24 projects designed to enhance regional capacity. These project awards have leveraged more than $33 million in additional funding from public and private sources. Appendix A provides a detailed list of funded projects and project descriptions.

GO Virginia was founded on the principles of regional collaboration. The program incentivizes that collaboration and encourages state and local investments to support shared, strategic goals on projects with significant regional impact. Since program inception, more than 100 public entities, including 85 localities, have contributed $11.8 million in qualifying local match to GO Virginia projects. In addition, GO Virginia funds have helped to form or strengthen four Regional Industrial Facility Authorities (RIFAs), a best practice in regional collaboration and one which sets the stage for cost and revenue sharing around site development projects of regional significance.

Another goal of the GO Virginia Program is to grow and diversify regional economies through the creation of more, higher-paying jobs in targeted industry clusters. Funded projects have committed to support the creation of more than 10,000 high-paying jobs in one or more of their region’s priority industry clusters.

The regional GO Virginia Councils have targeted one or more of the following nine industry clusters for focus and identified a number of secondary clusters specific to each region’s strengths and assets. The primary targeted industry clusters are:

• Manufacturing and Advanced Manufacturing

• Agriculture/Beverage/Food Manufacturing

• Information and Emerging Technologies

• Energy and Minerals

• Health/Bioscience/Life Sciences

• Forestry/Wood/Paper Products

• Shipping and Logistics

• Water Technologies

• Professional Services

Training, retaining, and upskilling a qualified workforce remains a top priority for the nine GO Virginia regions. Significant investment has been made in this area, with great results. Since program inception, GO Virginia-funded workforce development projects have built new capacity to support the credentialing of 1,500 workers, engaging secondary and postsecondary education partners as well as employers. The program has incentivized the creation of almost 600 new internships for high school and college students and the creation of 420 new apprenticeship opportunities.

GO Virginia, in collaboration with regional partners, has made six strategic investments in regional priority site development and related infrastructure. These projects have been designed to create more business-ready sites suitable for firms in each region’s targeted clusters. GO Virginia funding has impacted 45 development sites and approximately 4,000 acres have been characterized, improved, or otherwise advanced using the site tier framework developed by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

During the FY19 program year, the investment focus for GO Virginia remained on the critical issues of workforce development, site/infrastructure development, accelerating the growth of firms in existing priority industry clusters, and creating a resource-rich environment for entrepreneurs and firms with high-growth potential.

To support those strategies, the GO Virginia Board approved $14.5 million in funding for 33 projects during FY19. These grants attracted an additional $20.5 million in matching funds from private and public sources. Sixty-three percent of the funds awarded in FY 2019 ($9.1M) supported regional workforce development strategies designed to increase the number of jobready candidates to support targeted traded sectors. Twenty-one percent ($3.1M) funded regional priorities in site and infrastructure development, and 16% ($2.3M) funded activities related to enriching the resource environment for entrepreneurs across the Commonwealth.

The table on page 5 of the report provides a summary of funded projects by region and by priority investment area for the program year ending June 30, 2019.