Commerce Secretary Talks Workforce Development

Oct 17, 2014

Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade

When it comes to making Virginia more competitive and bolstering its economy, some people believe the Commonwealth may be doing a few things wrong. 

While the state does have a tech-savvy, highly educated population, most admit that college isn't for everyone.  When businesses describe what they need in a workforce, the number of residents in the Commonwealth with graduate degrees and Ph.Ds is  not what attracts them.

Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones tells the Senate Finance Committee that helping businesses succeed is also not always about how much money the state throws at companies to incentivize them, either. He says the vast majority of funding for the state’s community colleges is to get people enrolled in degree programs.
Jones adds that a recent Georgetown University study found that if a state wants to have the most prepared workforce, at least 10% of the working age population should have the credentials that matter to businesses—but Virginia falls short.
And Jones says financial aid isn't awarded for these classes, making them unaffordable for some students. He emphasizes that this focus is not to discourage people from earning degrees—but businesses say they need a more diversified, specially trained workforce.