McDonnell promotes jobs agenda
Gov. Bob McDonnell’s job creation and workforce development agenda for the 2013 General Assembly session includes measures to make it easier to start, locate and grow a business in Virginia, and to more closely align education and job creation.
McDonnell included nearly $10 million in proposed budget amendments to support entrepreneurship, job creation and workforce training initiatives, including a pilot program to help entrepreneurs to grow sustainable start-ups, a Governor’s School on Entrepreneurship for Virginia middle school students and support for community college job-training programs. 2012 was the Year of the Entrepreneur in Virginia and this legislative agenda is focused on growing Virginia’s innovation economy.
“Making Virginia the best place in the country in which to find a job is the top priority of our administration,” said McDonnell. “I put forward additional proposals that will make it easier for the private sector to create jobs, and easier for Virginians to get training in the skills necessary for those jobs. By improving the online Business One-Stop system, making the Commonwealth friendlier to entrepreneurs, and making sure that students graduate from our K-12 and college systems career-ready, we will continue to expand jobs and opportunity. I want to thank Delegates May, Kilgore, Head, Ramadan, Webert and Watson for their leadership of the Business Development Caucus. The Caucus worked tirelessly over the past year to ensure that small business owners’ voices were heard in the legislative process. Their small business roundtables resulted in much of the legislation and budget items announced today.”
Speaking about today’s announcement, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling said, “We have made much progress in economic development and job creation, but we still face challenges in the area of workforce development. This agenda will help us build upon our successes over the last 3 years and continue to make Virginia the best place to work, live, and raise a family. I look forward to working with Governor McDonnell, the Business Development Caucus, and Senate and House leadership on this legislation.”
Del. Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City), chair of the Commerce and Labor Committee said, “This is a bold agenda that will help the private sector create jobs and make Virginia more competitive for new businesses. This agenda rightly recognizes that innovation and entrepreneurship must be at the center of any long-term strategy for economic growth.”
Del. Kathy Byron (R-Lynchburg), chair of the Science and Technology Committee and member of the Virginia Workforce Council said, “We’ve made tremendous strides in strengthening and streamlining Virginia’s workforce development programs during Governor McDonnell’s administration. Virginians can see the tangible, positive results all around as our existing firms expand and we attract new businesses to the state. This legislative package on job creation builds upon the success of the last three years, solidifying our gains and lengthening our strides.”
State Sen. Frank Ruff (R-Clarksville) said, “If we are to continue to lead the nation in job creation, we must focus on meeting the workforce needs of those prospective employers. I am glad to work with the Governor to better align our workforce development policies to meet those standards.”
Since the beginning of the McDonnell administration, Virginia has added 150,500 net new jobs. The unemployment rate has dropped from 7.3 percent to 5.6 percent in November, the lowest rate in the southeast and second lowest east of the Mississippi.