Virginia needs business owners and entrepreneurs to maintain a growing dynamic economy. And we need an educated, talented workforce to work and drive the production of goods, services and innovation. And we need a growing population to fuel demand for goods and services and supply talented workers.
CNBC finds that Virginia is NUMBER 1 in “Top States for Businesses”. In fact, Virginia has led all states for two years.
CNBC includes a number of measures in determining its overall ranking. Notably, it includes: education (VA is number 2 in the US), workforce, (3), business friendliness (11), life health and inclusion (11), economy (13), access to capital (9), and other measures where Virginia is not even in the top third of states. The measures that push Virginia to the top spot are education and workforce. These two factors are interconnected: our well-educated kids stay here to get good jobs in our local businesses and governments because they are well-educated! And they stay here to start families and new businesses.
When we tout our great “number one” position as “Top State for Business” we are relying primarily on these two factors. Anything that harms these two factors harms our overall rating. In other factors, VA is 24th in infrastructure, 26th in cost of doing business, 32 in cost of living. These mediocre ratings are dwarfed by our excellence in education and workforce. While it will be hard to improve these lower ranked factors meaningfully, it is easy to destroy the education and workforce ratings. Budget cuts, driving away teachers and school boards, etc., will undercut the existing quality of education that has VA poised to remain at or near the top.
We understand that our inclusiveness draws workers and businesses from all over the country and from foreign lands. Our sense of welcoming, inclusiveness and tolerance is a hallmark of Fairfax County. Reducing, limiting or otherwise changing these policies will hurt us as an education system, constrain our diverse workforce and hurt our businesses.
Forbes also has a ranking for “Best States for Business”. In 2019, VA was #4. “Labor supply” (3rd among states) again pushed VA to this high spot along with “Quality of Life” (1). This last measure includes low poverty, low crime, a strong net migration of population and mean temperature. So, again, labor supply means a growing and educated workforce which is great for business.
So, why is our Governor seeking top spots in his education team from Wyoming? According to CNBC, Wyoming is ranked 36th overall. In education, WY is 15th in education (graded as a B-), and 34th in workforce (graded as D+). It is well known that many of the best and brightest of Wyoming young people leave the state for both education and jobs, hopefully to Virginia. Wyoming is losing population, jobs, average wages, etc. Low ranked education has something to do with this.
Clearly, we do not want to replicate anything about Wyoming’s education, workforce training or economic opportunity in our great Commonwealth.