|ISSUE 14 | FALL 2014|
|Virginia Performs, a signature initiative of the Council, is a performance leadership and accountability system that links a
high-level vision and key goals for citizens with performance-based planning and assessment across all levels of state government.
On September 17, the Virginia Business Higher Education Council (VBHEC) held its second annual Virginia Summit on Economic Competitiveness and Higher Education. Co-sponsored by the Council on Virginia's Future and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the summit focused on the synergies among higher education, economic development, and workforce.
New Degree and Credential Goals Established
As part of the summit and the state's continued focus on higher education, VBHEC Vice Chairman Linwood Rose announced an updated goal for degree production. Building on the success of Grow by Degrees, the new target calls for 168,628 new bachelor's and associate's degrees between 2014 and 2030 -- which would rank Virginia #1 in college attainment nationally.
This year, the Council worked with its partners to broaden Virginia's focus by identifying a long-term target for workforce credential attainment. In announcing this new target, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones emphasized that strengthening Virginia's competitive position in the global economy includes identifying, recognizing, and embracing the "credentials to compete." These credentials -- which include certificates issued by accredited institutions, industry-based certifications and licensures, and registered apprenticeship programs -- have been shown to provide recipients with significant employment and wage gains.
Based on analysis from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, the state's target for employer-valued workforce credentials is to increase the percentage of Virginians with one of these credentials to 10 percent, or 461,000 individuals -- a growth of nearly 300,000 credentials over the 3.7 percent found in 2012. This long-term target complements the Governor's four-year goal to produce 50,000 STEM-H workforce credentials (see below). Taken together, meeting these new degree and workforce credential goals would establish Virginia as a world leader in workforce quality.
Governor McAuliffe: A New Virginia Economy
Governor McAuliffe also addressed the summit and emphasized his administration's commitment to creating a "New Virginia Economy," with high-tech and high-growth industries creating opportunity for all Virginians -- and a re-energized workforce ready to accept the challenge.
Following on earlier remarks by Secretary Jones, the Governor noted that Virginia's significant competitive assets give the state a strong foundation for the future. Among those assets are:
Governor McAuliffe then highlighted two key economic initiatives: Executive Order 23 establishes the New Virginia Economy Workforce Initiative; Executive Order 26 establishes a high-level steering committee to work with industry and government leaders across the state to craft "A New Virginia Economy Strategic Plan."
Workforce Plan to Boost Virginia's Competitive Edge
Recognizing its importance for enhancing Virginia's competitive advantage, Governor McAuliffe has made workforce one of his top priorities. Recent studies by Dr. Stephen Fuller at George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis bear that out: Dr. Fuller estimates Virginia will need to fill 1.4 million new and replacement jobs by 2023 and about 100,000 STEM-related jobs by 2018. More importantly, a majority of these jobs will not require a college degree, but specialized training that leads to a work-related credential.
Given that federal spending -- a historic driver of Virginia's economy -- continues to be reduced, it is more important than ever for Virginia to maximize its economic potential by preparing workers for these jobs. They will serve as an important complement to the state's traditional strengths in creating and attracting well-educated professionals to the Commonwealth.
The overall goal of the New Economy Workforce Initiative is to prepare Virginia and its citizens for the aforementioned changes to the state's employment marketplace and to deal with a large retiring workforce. This long-term, comprehensive plan will help equip Virginia workers with in-demand skill sets and includes several specific goals:
Strategic Plan to Drive New Economic Development
Governor McAuliffe's 4-year strategic plan will address five economic development priorities:
"Project Ready" Infrastructure. Virginia must ensure that our infrastructure assets and resources, such as healthcare, energy, housing, and broadband are ready to attract small, medium, and large scale projects throughout the Commonwealth and advance our competitive position locally, regionally, and globally.
Diversified High-Growth Industries. Virginia must devote vital resources to strengthen thriving industries, while diversifying targeted high-growth industry sectors and expanding trading partnerships.
Preeminent Business Climate. Virginia must ensure that tax, regulatory, and incentive policies sustain Virginia's position as the best state to start, grow, and locate a business.
Innovation and Entrepreneurs. Virginia must pursue policies and public-private partnerships that attract talent, promote business and social entrepreneurship, business development and investment, and encourage the creation and commercialization of new products and services.
"Skills to Jobs" Workforce. Virginia must align higher education system priorities and resources to supply in-demand workers, transition veterans, and meet current and future employer needs in the private and public sectors.
Perspectives on Economic Competitiveness
The summit also featured thought-provoking perspectives on economic prosperity from Bruce Katz, author of The Metropolitan Revolution and Vice President and Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. Dr. Katz's presentation highlighted key themes for Virginia's economic future:
One of the underlying principles behind Virginia Performs is to clarify and strengthen the alignment between Virginia's broadest goals -- "a vibrant economy," "educational excellence," "superior governance" -- and what state government actually does every day.
What follows is the second installment in our series showcasing how agencies, often working in concert across Secretariats, are tackling some of Virginia's biggest challenges.
Improving Outcomes for Virginia's Most Vulnerable
Virginia's Department of Social Services (DSS) plays the lead role in marshaling the many public and private resources which help our most vulnerable families and at-risk children; it does so through central oversight and a statewide network of 121 locally administered departments.
DSS has been working for more than a decade to transform the way it assists at-risk families and children. Prior to these changes, services were not well coordinated and results often didn't meet expectations. Each service component -- income assistance, family assistance, etc. -- tended to be handled independently, although the reality for most DSS clients is that they need help in many of these areas at the same time (e.g., a recovering addict needs ongoing counseling, job assistance, and some help caring properly for her 2-year-old son).
In addition, state incentives sometimes wound up working against the very people they were designed to assist; for instance, too many foster care kids were ending up in institutions and aging out of the system without ever really knowing a family. (The long-term prospects for children who age out of foster care are notoriously bleak, with as many as 40 percent jobless and homeless within a year of institutional release.)
A New Model for Performance
Clearly, better coordination of services, as well as a more integrated way of applying for them, was needed. Although making such systemic changes proved challenging to implement, DSS leadership didn't stop there: They developed a management philosophy and approach that would facilitate execution on the ground and improve buy-in at every level. Elements included:
Once its family of services was coordinated and application processes streamlined, DSS then moved to translate that into better technology, too. Its new CommonHelp Web portal is a nationally recognized industry advancement that makes it much easier for people to understand, identify, and apply for the services they are eligible to receive. Now DSS is starting to automate eligibility processes at the local level, as current methods are too expensive, too complicated, poorly automated -- and lead to too many determination errors.
Results in Foster Care
The percentage of children aging out of foster care was 31 percent in 2007, but dropped to 25 percent in 2011. At the same time, family-based placements rose from 70 percent (2007) to nearly 84 percent (2013). DSS has employed two main strategies to increase these family placements:
Finally, the percentage of children who left foster care to go to a permanent family arrangement (through reunification with family, custody transfer to another relative, or outright adoption) went from 67 percent in 2007 to 7 percent in 2013.
Results in Vulnerable Virginians Helped
DSS has also made significant progress in getting needed services out to Virginians in communities across the state -- though it should be noted that much of DSS's increased caseload coincided with the effects of the Great Recession here in Virginia, which largely accounts for the sometimes dramatic increases seen in those receiving DSS services through 2012.
Some key statistics:
Terence R. McAuliffe | Vice
Chair: John O.
Executive Director: Jane
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The Council on Virginia's Future produces this newsletter to keep you informed about
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