ISSUE 12  |  WINTER 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.

Highlights: The Virginia Report 2013    back to top

thumbnail of 2013 Virginia Report coverThe Virginia Report is an annual high-level review published by the Council. It answers the question, "How is Virginia doing?" by examining the state's performance over the past year on both citizen-oriented indicators and the detailed metrics kept by state agencies on key measures and targets.


Continued Progress on Broad Citizen Outcomes

The Virginia Report 2013 points out several important and positive trends:

  • The economic momentum documented in 2012's report has continued. Although still below pre-recession peaks, both job and income levels continue to improve, and Virginia still ranks among the top 10 states in major economic indicators such as business climate, personal income, and many measures of workforce quality.
  • Virginia's education picture, too, is generally positive: The number of college degrees continues to increase; high school graduation and dropouts rates keep improving; and important indicators of achievement (Advanced Studies Diplomas, industry certifications, advanced course and test scores, and national reading and math scores) all improved. However, new, significantly more rigorous standards led to a large decline in statewide 3rd grade reading test scores.
  • There was also positive news across a number of other areas: Crime rates continue to fall across the state, deaths from cancer and cardiovascular disease are dropping steadily, and statewide rates for both obesity and smoking fell. In addition, key measures of air and water quality, the accessibility of broadband services, and the condition of important elements of our transportation infrastructure -- namely, bridges and interstate and primary roads -- all improved.
  • Although Virginia continues to make progress across a wide range of important outcomes, one cautionary note might be that the rate of improvement in job and income levels has been slow and remains below pre-recession levels; the statewide poverty rate has also been worsening slightly. 

You may download low- or high-res versions of The Virginia Report 2013 from the Council website; you can explore reports from earlier years as well. end of story

New Report Cards to Accelerate Progress on Important Issues    back to top

One of the key challenges in improving assessment of critical issues like workforce quality has been to integrate performance information from disparate sources in meaningful ways. To better address this need, the Council has begun development on a series of issue-specific report cards -- all available on Virginia Performs -- that are designed to deepen understanding of the challenges to progress, to strengthen strategic thinking, and to encourage greater collaboration among both public and private organizations.

Virginia's Workforce System Report Card

VA Workforce Development System Report Card-smallThe first to be developed, Virginia's Workforce System Report Card debuted in late 2012.The Commonwealth's workforce development system is multi-layered; it involves several agencies and levels of government, along with many other partners, both public and private. Measuring the performance of such a complex system presents a significant challenge.

The workforce report card has been a new tool for assessing that performance. A January 2014 update included trend changes as follows:

  • Employment and Establishments (number of businesses) went from Maintaining to Improving
  • Postsecondary enrollments and AP exams changed to Maintaining from Improving
  • Labor force participation and Dual enrollment credits dropped to Worsening from Maintaining

Council staff continue to work with the Governor's Office, the Virginia Workforce Council, and other partners to refine and enhance the data.

Since bridging critical workforce skills gaps will depend on close regional collaboration, the Council and its partners are also developing a new model for assessing regional approaches to workforce development. The goal of the new model -- which will be represented by a new indicator on the Workforce System Report Card -- is to help a region gauge its progress in developing and improving a demand-driven, coordinated, and responsive workforce development system.

For more information about the latest workforce report card, as well as background information on its development, see Virginia Performs.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Report Card

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Report Card-smallInnovation – the introduction of new ideas, processes, or products – helps businesses create more value for their customers relative to their competitors. Entrepreneurs are the agents who capitalize on innovation to start and expand businesses. The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) has created an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Measurement System (IEMS) to enhance assessment of our progress with these key factors for economic growth.

Working in partnership with Council staff, CIT culled data from the IEMS to create the new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Report Card on Virginia Performs. Goals for Virginia, along with detailed measures, were outlined to cover the innovation pipeline from talent and idea formation to commercialization and realized outcomes. The I and E report card complements the new Innovation and Entrepreneurship indicator on Virginia Performs.

State Government Operations Report Card

Virginia's state government is a large and complex enterprise. With revenues of more than $40 billion in fiscal year 2013 -- a total roughly equivalent to iconic Fortune 100 companies such as FedEx and Walt Disney -- its 122,000+ employees manage operations in more than 100 agencies, universities, and other organizations. In addition, a significant share of the work of government and the delivery of its services is accomplished through local governments and other public and private third-party partners.

State Government Operations Report Card-smallGiven this scope and complexity, developing a high-level view of government operations has been challenging. The State Government Operations Report Card complements and builds on the information maintained in Virginia Performs' Government Operations indicator and establishes an informative overview of the overall efficiency and effectiveness of state government.

High resolution PDFs of each report card are also available:

Workforce  |  Innovation & Entreprenuership  |  Government Operations  end of story

New Indicators Added to Virginia Performs  back to top

Two new indicators were recently added to the Virginia Performs Scorecard:

  • Multimodal Transportation was added in the final quarter of 2013 to reflect the increasing strategic importance of multimodal transportation planning and investments in the state. Multimodal refers to the network of airports, seaports, roads, rails, transit systems, and walkways that are integrated to form a seamless system for moving people and freight from point to point. Typically, the more viable options there are for movement -- and the better these modes support and interconnect with each other -- the less congestion and stress there will be on all systems. See sidebar at right for a more thorough examination of this new indicator.
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship was added to Virginia Performs in early January 2014. Innovation and entrepreneurship are key drivers of economic competitiveness and figure prominently in economic development strategic planning. The new indicator offers a high-level review of these activities in the Commonwealth and includes measures for R&D funding, patents, high-tech firms, and venture capital outlay, among others. [In a related story, the Council also partnered with CIT to develop an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Report Card (see story 2 above).]   end of story