What should the Fredericksburg region do to help attract higher-paying jobs for its residents?

Armed with a Go Virginia grant, the George Washington Regional Commission is setting out to find some answers and develop a community-wide plan through a new program called Good Jobs Here.

It is partnering with such with leading local organizations such as the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance and the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce to create, measure, execute and foster economic growth and job creation in Planning District 16.

Good Jobs Here plans to accomplish these goals, in part, by holding three free sessions featuring high-level speakers plus thought-provoking data and analysis to help participants reach a consensus on the best economic development strategies and opportunities to pursue. They will be held from 8–11:30 a.m. at the University of Mary Washington’s Stafford Campus, 121 University Blvd.

“All sessions will include group work, driving towards a group-defined common understanding of our challenges and a common agenda or goal(s) to move us forward,” said Linda Struyk Millsaps, the George Washington Regional Commission’s executive director, in a news release.

The sessions will begin with “Demographic Demolition: How a changing population is blowing up how we do business,” on Sept. 19. The speaker will be James H. Johnson Jr. of the University of North Carolina.

He is frequently called upon for his analysis by Fortune 500 Companies, the National Conference of State Legislators, Governing Magazine and Chambers of Commerce across the country. He will discuss disruptive demographic trends and how they will impact our future workforce nationwide, but also in the region.

The second session, ”Understanding the Region: Who are we and what are our opportunities?,” will be held Oct. 17. It will feature Lance Gentry, a professor at UMW’s College of Business, and Janel Donohue, president of Rappahannock United Way.

They will discuss some of the key demographics and opportunities related specifically to Planning District 16. This will include a look at new data on the region’s workforce, including those who commute, and some unique opportunities that the region has to develop and grow economically.

The session will also take a special look at the portions of the region’s population that are working but struggling, so they can be included in the program’s long-term plans for success.

The final session, “Regions that Work: Learning from Others and Putting it All Together for Success!,” will be held Nov. 21. It will look at other regions that have worked together successfully to create economic growth, and then turn everything learned in all three sessions into a common set of community-wide goals. There will be an emphasis on what each individual and organization can best contribute based on its areas of strength and expertise.

Millsaps said Good Jobs Here will also build on past efforts by UMW and the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce to tackle the issues of economic growth and vitality.

To register for the sessions, visit eventbrite.com/e/good-jobs-here-tickets-68517737397.

Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407


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