Open For Business…At A Distance

Last week, we finished moving our team into all-remote at work. A small portion of that move has involved taking up inside projects (e.g. administrative, writing) that were perhaps stuck on the back burner. However, most of what’s keeping us busy right now are more than a dozen externally facing projects and initiatives. Some timelines and deliverables are shifting because of social distancing or the recession, but the work continues at a pace that if anything is even faster than before — and perhaps half a dozen new proposals are in the pipeline.

I can put all this in three big buckets for you. We are:

-working to develop or improve programs to help people find or keep employment as well as hone new skills,

-working to solve problems or explore new opportunities that will help communities or companies grow jobs or keep people employed in the ones they have, and

-working across different groups involved in the economy to connect better, plan better, and better serve people, places, and businesses to find a path through what’s coming.

A lot of this work is done with agencies in the western part of Virginia, but we’re working in all parts of the state including Northern Virginia. Some of this is federally-funded, but we have state, local, and private funders as well.

We don’t have funds for individual businesses, but we work a lot with efforts and agencies that support them. One example is GO Virginia. We staff one of nine regional councils that have been given responsibility and resources by the state to invest in regionally-developed ideas to grow and diversify the economy. Right now across Virginia, all the councils are working to listen to what’s changed in the last few weeks and see how we can align resources to help meet the moment.

The next few months are going to be hard, and the economic fallout to follow won’t make us feel much better. I don’t know about you, but I’m just taking it a day at a time, focusing on what I know, and like all of us offering what I can offer. It’s a time for living our best land-grant values, Ut Prosim, or whatever spirit motivates you where you are.


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