GO Virginia: Creating economic opportunity through collaboration

The GO Virginia program could boost local Roanoke-Alleghany, Lynchburg, and New River Valley economies by exploring new pathways to economic growth and bringing together diverse stakeholders, according to supporters of the program.

“GO Virginia is a great opportunity to have this part of Virginia thinking about our future and opportunities to pursue projects and programs that will make our region economically competitive,” says Wayne Strickland, executive director of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission.

GO Virginia Council members review documentation

The unique structure of the GO Virginia program, which requires both research into existing economic challenges and extensive collaboration, encourages regions across Virginia to think broadly about the issues they face. According to Strickland, GO Virginia allows localities to explore new opportunities and pursue projects they might not have otherwise considered.

“The program is especially interested in encouraging creation of higher-than-average wage jobs that will bring new investment into our region,” says John Provo, director of the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development. The GO Virginia Region 2 Council, assisted by Provo’s office, is working to develop a regional Growth and Diversification Plan, which will identify key areas for investment in the region.

This process has begun a conversation between diverse groups, including regional development agencies, local governments, private industry, entrepreneurs, and the public.

According to Strickland, “It’s unique to have all these key people in one room, particularly [representatives from] the private sector.” For example, the GO Virginia Region 2 Council includes representatives from higher education and government, but it also includes large and small business people like Patrick Colligon of Volvo and Michael Fleming of TORC Robotics.

Speakers speak and handle paperwork at a council meeting

Wayne Strickland of the Roanoke-Allegheny Regional Commission and Beth Doughty of the Roanoke Regional Partnership present to the council at the July 25 GO Virginia Council Meeting

By bringing together these different perspectives, the GO Virginia program not only approaches regional development in a new way, it also inspires a broad conversation about Virginia’s economic future and provides a new path for collaboration between diverse regional stakeholders.

Members of the public interested in the GO Virginia program are invited to attend upcoming Region 2 Working Group meetings and Regional Council meetings:

Working Group Meetings:

  • Technology Working Group Meeting – July 25, 1-3pm, Roanoke Higher Education Center Room 715
  • Unique Sites and Buildings Working Group Meeting – July 27, 10 am-12 noon, Roanoke Higher Education Center Room 715
  • Capital Access Working Group Meeting – July 28, 1 pm-3 pm Roanoke Higher Education Center Room 715
  • Skilled Talent Working Group Meeting – July 31, 1 pm-3 pm Roanoke Higher Education Center Room 701-A

Regional Council Meetings:

  • July 25 10 am – 12 noon, Roanoke Higher Education Center Room 715
  • August 21, 2 pm – 4 pm, Blacksburg

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