Virginia Governor Ralph Northam Addresses NVTC Board

 On March 12, 2019, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam joined the NVTC Board of Directors to discuss the current state of technology and business in Virginia. Robby Demeria, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Technology for Virginia, accompanied the Governor.

Governor Northam indicated that Virginia’s economy is on an upward trajectory. He pointed out that the unemployment rate is at 2.8 percent and that he has announced 73,000 jobs and $10 billion in capital investment since he took office in January 2018.

Northam stated that Virginia is building its economy by educating and training our workforce for 21st Century jobs. He discussed the importance of STEAM-H education (science, technology, engineering, art, math and health care) and the need to better prepare more Virginians for “new collar jobs” which call for new and different skill sets. He indicated that providing access to broadband in rural parts of Virginia is an ongoing challenge that must be solved so that Virginians in those areas are not disadvantaged in educational and work opportunities.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam at NVTC Board Meeting. Robby Demeria, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Technology for Virginia, also accompanied the Governor.   

Northam spoke to the need to continue efforts to diversify Northern Virginia’s economy to ensure it is not too reliant on federal funding streams, and he indicated that the recent major investments by Amazon HQ2 and Micron will help with diversification by creating many new private sector jobs and further solidifying Virginia’s status as “the tech hub of the world”.

Northam ended with a Q+A session with NVTC Board Members. Topics discussed included the continued challenges of regional transportation and how to improve the tech talent pipeline. Northam detailed recent efforts to help Virginia’s K-12 school by providing a 5 percent statewide increase in teachers’ salaries, actions to designate more funding for school counselors and early childhood education, improving technology infrastructure at schools and focusing attention on at-risk school systems.