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GO Virginia is an economic development initiative that seeks to preempt the harsh effects of federal budget cuts on Virginia’s economy, which is overly dependent on public-sector jobs. It promotes private sector job growth and workforce development through the use of state-based grants to invest in regionally significant capital projects that call for collaboration between localities, businesses, and education. It is important to be intentional in pursuing GO Virginia’s goals, otherwise this legislation may only allocate grants to institutions, organizations, and localities that already have sizeable resources. A critical question rests on how to ensure that low-income and minority communities can maximize the benefits of the legislation. The populations that are most affected by this legislation would depend on how the legislation is implemented. If minority communities are excluded from the process, then it is likely these communities would be insulated from the positive outcomes. It is imperative that minorities are adequately represented in the decision making process. This report explores why minority communities should be represented on the regional councils, which are the catalysts for the proposal process. By being proactive there is an opportunity to provide the same advantages to minority business development. We also explore how to strengthen the minority workforce to better compete for in-demand careers within the emerging industries that this legislation sets out to promote.
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VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs Publications