For Immediate Release
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Carrie Chenery, (540) 568-3259, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Shenandoah Valley Forms GO Virginia Regional Council
GO Virginia Region 8 tasked with diversifying economy through regional collaboration.
HARRISONBURG (March 23, 2017) —A regional council composed of members originating from a mix of large and small business, higher and K12 education, elected officials, local government, and economic and workforce development entities, was recently created in the Shenandoah Valley and approved by the state as part of the private-sector led Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity (GO Virginia). Known as GO Virginia Region 8, the Council was organized with support from representatives from the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission, Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board, and a group of private sector leaders from throughout the region. These organizations will share responsibilities and operate in support of the GO Virginia mission to generate private sector growth and job opportunities within the region by encouraging strategic, job-focused collaboration among business, education, and local government.
Covering a very large and diverse geographic area of ten counties and six cities with a combined population of over 525,000, the Region 8 Council will be responsible for completing an economic growth and diversification plan and vetting projects that meet GO Virginia guidelines. Approximately $28 million was provided across the Commonwealth among nine regions for the upcoming biennium. Initial GO Virginia dollars are designated for organizational and capacity building activities and workforce gap analyses. Additional funds are allocated for each qualifying region based on share of the state population, and grants to regional councils will be awarded on a competitive basis. Projects are to be collaborative, involving two or more localities and a private sector partner, and focused on diversifying the region’s economy to complement existing industry clusters.
George Pace, a Valley business leader who has served in a leading capacity for the region’s private sector steering committee, commented, “It has been a privilege to lead the Region 8 GOVA Steering Committee. The GOVA initiative has created the opportunity for private business leaders to work in concert with economic development professionals and educational leaders to accelerate the advancement of important and impactful ideas for the Shenandoah Valley. It has been very encouraging to observe the creativity from this collaboration.”
GO Virginia Region 8 will hold an initial, organizing meeting on Monday, April 3, 2017, at 10:00 am at the Ice House located at 127 West Bruce Street, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801. A full list of the Regional Council members, who were required by the state to have specific industry, geographic, industry, gender, and ethnic diversity qualities, is attached.
About GO Virginia
The Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board and Fund was approved by the 2016 Virginia General Assembly, and is a business-led, bipartisan initiative that is incentivized and encouraged by the state, however participation is not required of localities. An organizing workgroup made up of staff from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and interested economic development, workforce training, community planning and development, education,2 and business leaders from around the state met in 2016 to recommend geographic partitioning and Fund guidelines and procedures to the Board. Nine regions were established and each region formed councils that were certified by the Board in March 2017. The Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board is comprised of 24 members with representation from the House and Senate, Gubernatorial appointments, and private sector leadership. In addition to approving GO Virginia regions and certifying regional councils, the Board is responsible for determining project funding.