A Community Gathering on creating Good Jobs Here – Part 1

September 20, 2019

Logo for GO Virginia Region 6

On September 19th, the first Good Jobs Here event was held to create, measure, execute, and foster economic growth and job creation in the Fredericksburg region.

Utilizing a GO Virginia grant, the George Washington Regional Commission partnered with leading local organizations to create a shared understanding of current data, analysis, strengths, and opportunities for this region.

Opening speakers Kim Young, UMW and Linda Worrell, FRA Chair and Silver Companies explained to attendees that they are interested citizens of an unknown future and therefore must come together to help shape their space and image the possibilities. Dr. Janet Gullickson, President of Germanna Community College and Kim McClellan, Public Policy Director of FAAR discussed how shaping the local community, is not just one person pushing a rock, but a group of people, and everyone must push in the same direction to see change.

The first session featured Dr. Jim Johnson with the University of North Carolina School of Business. Dr. Johnson presented to participants six disruptive demographics that as he described, “will change the U.S. and Virginia forever.”

These trends are:

  • The South Rises – Again
  • The Browning of America
  • Marrying Out is “In”
  • The Silver Tsunami is About to Hit
  • The End of Men?
  • Cooling Water from Grandma’s Well… and Grandpa’s Too!

Dr. Johnson explained as the population grows and becomes more demographically diverse, the types of businesses and therefore jobs that economic developers need to promote has changed.

To maintain and enhance competitiveness localities need to understand that the population is aging and therefore, the workforce has become multi-generational. To have effective workers, businesses must meet the needs of their youth workforce and baby-boomer workforce.

Businesses and localities must understand immigration has shifted the playing field of who is available for jobs and must capitalize on the diverse backgrounds of the population.

Furthermore, localities must actively engage in K-12 education to ensure a steady flow of talent into all sectors of the economy and understand that inclusive and equitable development creates a shared prosperity.

After Dr. Johnson’s presentation participants spent time generating ideas on the strengths and weaknesses in the current economic development climate of the Fredericksburg region to develop new ideas on ways to move forward.

“Dr. Johnson sparked a fire inside everyone to continue the hard work we all are striving to do. His data-driven presentation helped us realize the world around us is changing and, therefore, we must change how we work to be successful” stated Sam Shoukas, Fredericksburg Regional Continuum of Care Coordinator.

This session is the first in a three-part series. The next event is Thursday, October 17, 2019, at 8:00 am at the University of Mary Washington, Stafford Campus. To RSVP to this event check out: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/good-jobs-here-tickets-68517731379.


Written By: Jennifer Morgan