Governor Terry McAuliffe is making a push to promote jobs in the commonwealth.
On Wednesday morning, McAuliffe signed a new executive order focused on workforce development, education and hiring veterans at the Chancellor’s Planning Retreat for the Virginia Community College System.
“I want to crush the other 49 states in job creation,” he told the crowd.
McAuliffe says over the next eight years, Virginia will be tasked with filling 1.4 millions jobs — some of those new jobs, others left vacant due to retirement.
The idea of the four-part plan is understanding how to best fill those openings, aligning skilled workers with in-demand jobs.
The governor says the retreat was a fitting place to make the announcement because community colleges are essential in providing the training needed for many careers.
The first part of the plan focuses on increasing credentials.
“We have a workforce gap in Virginia today,” McAuliffe said.
McAuliffe told the crowd that 45 percent of the market is made up of specialized jobs and says there are too many unfilled STEM jobs in the state.
He wants to see 50,000 people graduate from apprenticeships or with associate’s degrees, certifications or licenses by the end of his administration.
Another major focus of the executive order is employing the state’s large military population. McAuliffe says 850,000 veterans live in Virginia, and since 2000, the state has seen the biggest growth in veterans, especially those under the age of 25.
Under the Patriot Pledge, 10,000 state businesses will sign on to commit to hiring more veterans. McAuliffe has set a goal of doubling the number of jobs pledged to veterans as well as doubling the number of veterans hired by 2015. He’s taking it even further by aiming to double that number again by the end of his administration.
The third part of the plan is all about supply and demand.
McAuliffe stressed the importance of having workers in Virginia capable of filling jobs that open up, or else businesses could move to other states to find employees.
That part of the plan calls for in-depth research on what jobs are out there and exactly what skills are needed for them to help better line up the workforce supply with workforce demands.
Finally, McAuliffe emphasized the need for diversifying the economy. He mentioned the billions of dollars in cuts to the Department of Defense, and said Northern Virginia can’t rely on federal dollars. He says there needs to be a movement from entitlement to enlightenment.
“We need to diversify the economy in order to emerge stronger and more independent,” he said. “While our challenges are many, our opportunities are great.”