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Rural Jobs Council suggests improvements

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A group looking for ways to improve rural Virginia’s economy has issued an interim report suggesting steps to improve education and provide tools to attract new businesses.

The Governor’s Rural Jobs Council, which was meeting Monday in Danville, divided its work into three subcommittees: infrastructure, entrepreneurship and work-force development/K-12 education. The council’s progress and activities are detailed in each subcommittee report. The final report is due in June.

“While Virginia’s unemployment level remains at a four-year low and is one of the lowest on the East Coast, the fact remains that rural Virginians face a higher rate of unemployment and a greater challenge for economic recovery,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement. “This report provides important data that we can use to strategically invest in our rural communities and attract more jobs to this important part of the commonwealth.”

The council identified several issues as crucial to job creation and economic development in rural Virginia, including

•      Increasing access to and improving business development resources.
•      Developing an entrepreneurial spirit among rural Virginia’s youth.
•      Providing localities with more tools to attract entrepreneurs and small business owners.
•      Improving the career and college readiness of middle and high school students. 
•      Expanding the enrollment of middle and high school students in STEM-H programs and courses.
•      Proposing enabling legislation to build collaborative communities
•      Encouraging private sector involvement and funding strategies for infrastructure-related projects

The council will solicit suggestions and comments from agencies and the public online and at public meetings.

The member of the council includes 25 legislators and leaders in the business, manufacturing, agriculture and health-care industries. 


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