On March 13, the Workforce Development Division (WDD) hosted the fifth installment of the Workforce Industry Building Learning Series at the Ernst Center. The series is designed to build the WDD business services brand with the northern Virginia business community.
Executives representing a cross-section of the northern Virginia business community attended the lunch discussion titled “Northern Virginia’s Workforce Outlook: Future Workforce Development Challenges.” The featured speaker was Dr. Stephen S. Fuller, a renowned economist. Fuller discussed the fact that having enough workers with the right skills is the most crucial challenge facing the region in the decades to come. Fuller also discussed how the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area used to be first in economic growth. However, due to the recession the region is now at the bottom of the pack. Fuller emphasized how economic development leaders should concentrate on improving workers’ skills, which would allow them to move into higher-paying jobs that are going unfilled in the region.
The event also featured a panel of seven local business leaders: Fairfax Economic Development Authority Director of National Marketing, Rodney Lusk, NOVANT Prince William Medical Center President, Melissa Robson, Prince William County Department of Economic Development Director of Existing Business, George Harben, NVTC Veteran and Strategic Initiatives Manager, Rick Ferry, Multivision, Inc. Vice President, Bobby Toe, Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce President, Tony Howard and Micron Technology Manager of Governmental Affairs, Todd House, who also facilitated the discussion. The panel responded to Fuller’s presentation, answered audience questions and gave specific examples of the unfilled needs in their organizations and business partners.
More than 60 attendees representing the northern Virginia business community participated. Several businesses in attendance expressed interest in developing alliances with the WDD that will assist them in addressing their workforce training needs.