The Northern Virginia Chamber’s Policy Committee is wrapping up our annual Legislative Agenda drafting process next week. You will see many familiar principles included in the 2022 Agenda like urging leaders to focus on growing and improving Virginia’s workforce development ecosystem, expressing support for continued investment in major transportation projects like the American Legion Bridge replacement, and calling for a more competitive tax environment in the Commonwealth. You can tune in to the final meeting on October 26th to get a sneak peak of the final recommendations (email VP of Government Relations Clayton Medford for the information).
For the past several years, the Chamber has placed an emphasis on supporting public policy initiatives that lead to greater opportunity for all Virginians. With direction from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board, the Chamber’s advocacy is newly energized around DEI initiatives throughout our Legislative Agenda. Additionally, DEI is a large part of the Chamber’s Strategic Plan.
The Chamber’s advocacy priorities in education, workforce development, and transportation are all achieved through greater equity. In education, too many Virginians do not have the financial means to pursue a degree or even some training and certifications. This means that businesses lack the talent they need to grow. That’s why we were proud to support the Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back Program which provides financial support to individuals pursuing a degree in a high demand field. This kind of advocacy reduces the talent gap in Northern Virginia helping our members find the talent they need to grow.
In transportation, equitable access and affordability can undermine the kind of regional mobility necessary for businesses to thrive in our region. The Chamber successfully advocated for dedicated funding from Virginia, Maryland and the federal government to support the Metro system, marking the first time our regional transit system has had dedicated funding since its inception. A safe, reliable, affordable and equitable transportation network is key to the regional economy. It improves productivity by connecting job centers to communities and employees at all levels to their jobs.
Businesses understand how local workforce development opportunities and regional mobility are important elements to doing business anywhere, and particularly in Northern Virginia. The Chamber has long been a champion of these efforts, and with a renewed focus on equity, we have new opportunities to pursue to make our region the best place to do business.