RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — Nine regional projects are getting grant funding for regional workforce, STEM, and site development initiatives, including a project in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
Governor Ralph Northam announced more than $5.8 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia, or GO Virginia, funding for the projects on Wednesday.
According to a release, the GO Virginia Board approved seven grant requests while the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development approved two grant requests.
The funding will be used to strengthen and diversify regional economies, build a pipeline of workers to support targeted industry sectors, and encourage collaboration among local governments, public sector partners, and private industry.
“GO Virginia supports economic development projects that strengthen and grow our local economies using an approach that is unique to the Commonwealth,” said Northam. “With an emphasis on regional collaboration, this successful program continues to encourage communities to think creatively about how to build talent pipelines in key industries, create good-paying jobs, and drive positive, long-term growth.”
The release says the Go Virginia Board is made up of members of the Governor’s Cabinet, the General Assembly, and the business community. It also approved a policy that encourages GO Virginia regions to apply for future funding for site development and infrastructure projects of regional significance.
That policy focuses GO Virginia investments on projects to grow each regions’ targeted industry sectors and support the state’s economic development objectives and it was developed in partnership with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
The GO Virginia grants will go toward Growth and Diversification Plans that each region has developed to identify priority industry sectors and strategies based on the region’s asset.
The release says that initiatives that advance strategies developed through the planning process are key in strengthening each region’s economy and creating better career opportunities for Virginians.
These grants will also leverage another $6.4 million in non-state resources to help with economic diversification across the Commonwealth.
The project in Charlottesville and Albemarle County is called Biotech Innovation Cluster Growth, and through it, the CvilleBioHub will lead the growth and expansion of the biotechnology innovation cluster in the area.
The release says it will serve the needs of existing companies through programming, the planning and design of a wet lab space, workforce training, and candidate matching opportunities.
The grant amount for this project is $548,000.
Other projects selected for funding involve helping employers fill high-paying jobs with locally-developed talent, creating a curriculum to support the maritime industry, map regional ecosystem assets and develop strategies to attract entrepreneurship resources, and more.
Since the program was created in 2017, GO Virginia has funded 74 projects, awarding about $38 million to support regional economic development efforts.
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