Gov. Ralph Northam hosted a roundtable discussion in St. Paul on Monday with officials from Amazon’s second headquarters, located in Arlington.
The governor was joined by his Chief of Staff Clark Mercer, Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball, and Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade and Director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation Cassidy Rasnick. Held at the Oxbow Center of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, the conversation included community and business leaders in Southwest Virginia who spoke about workforce development, economic development, and small business issues.
Following the discussion, Northam became the first sitting governor to ride on the Spearhead Trails.
“Workforce development is a key reason why companies are choosing to locate in Virginia, and we’re proud to work with diverse partners to grow our tech talent pipeline across the Commonwealth,” said Northam. “One of my proudest days in office was last year when I announced Amazon’s decision to call Virginia their second home, and we believe the company’s location here can benefit every part of the state. Southwest Virginia has strong communities, a skilled workforce, and visionary leadership, and I’m pleased to have the opportunity to discuss with local leaders how we can attract more jobs and investment to this important region.”
In November 2018, Northam announced that Amazon would invest at least $2.5 billion and create more than 25,000 high-paying jobs to establish their second headquarters in Arlington. The Commonwealth’s proposal was designed to help grow the tech talent pipeline in all parts of the state, enhance transportation infrastructure, and ensure that the economic benefits of the Amazon project are shared across Virginia.
“Attracting world-class talent that will help Amazon continue to innovate on behalf of its customers was the main driver of our decision to locate our second headquarters in Northern Virginia,” Ardine Williams, Vice President of Workforce Development at Amazon. We are excited by the Commonwealth’s response and look forward to continue building the future together.”
“After our statewide workforce tour in September, the number one issue in Southwest Virginia is bringing jobs to the area to keep communities together,” said Chief Workforce Advisor Megan Healy. “It is great to show international business leaders the strong workforce and innovation happening in all parts of the states.”
“Bringing Amazon’s HQ2 to Virginia was a huge win for the whole Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “The Governor has been focused on diversifying the economy, and making sure all regions participate in our economic growth. This roundtable is a chance to highlight the human and natural assets of Southwest Virginia, and hear from community leaders about ways we can continue to enhance the economic prosperity of all regions.”