Reports, Center for Economic and Community Engagement

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  • Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement 2022-2023 Annual Report
    (Virginia Tech, 2023)
    During the 2023 fiscal year, CECE enhanced Virginia Tech’s impact across the state, working with community, industry, agency, and university partners to pursue unique opportunities for growing the economy. The center advanced the university’s diversity and inclusion goals through partnerships with educational and business groups around the state and further connected faculty and students with industry for a range of experiential learning internships and other industry partnerships, shaping Virginia’s current and future workforce.
  • Controlled Environment Agriculture Strategy and Roadmap in GO Virginia Region 3
    (Virginia Tech, 2023)
    On behalf of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, and with support from an Enhanced Capacity Building award from GO Virginia Region 3, the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement (CECE) conducted a study to assess the economic growth potential for the controlled environmental agriculture (CEA) industry in Region 3, and the state of Virginia. CEA, as a sector, is poised for additional growth. CEA refers to the utilization of technology and automation to enhance the indoor growing conditions for crops, fish, and related products. The industry is projected to grow 10.32% annually, reaching $239.8 billion by 2027.
  • Pathways to the American Dream: An evaluation of unique advancements in staffing, communication, and partnerships
    Travis, Elli (2022-01)
    The Center for Economic and Community Engagement evaluated the Pathways to the American Dream program, a program created by the New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Development Board to enhance communication and expand partnerships that increase regional job opportunities.
  • Assessing the Economic Impacts of a Small Satellites (SmallSat) Virginia Initiative
    Lyon-Hill, Sarah; Tate, Scott; Camacho, Luis (2015)
    CECE evaluated a proposal by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium for the Small Satellites Virginia Initiative program and found the program could bring up to $16.2 million to the state.
  • West Piedmont Agritourism & Agribusiness Regional Economic Impact Study and Marketing Strategy
    Posthumus, Ashley; Ferris, William N.; Friedman, Kit (2023-05-31)
    In Fall 2022, the West Piedmont Planning District Commission hired a team of community and economic development consultants from The Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement, Arnett Muldrow & Associates and Ramble Type Digital to assist with the development of an Agritourism, Agribusiness and Agricultural Products Regional Economic Impact Study and an Agribusiness Marketing Plan.
  • Feasibility Analysis and Action Plan for a Regional Robotics Innovation Hub
    Tate, Scott; Daugherty, Dick; Tuttle, Mallory; Lyon-Hill, Sarah (Virginia Tech, 2023)
    In response to a request for services from the city of Newport News and the Hampton Roads Alliance, CECE, including their professional partner Richard (Dick) Daugherty, President of DAUGERS LLC, conducted a feasibility and opportunity analysis and associated action plan for a Regional Robotics Innovation Hub.
  • Star Theatre Feasibility Study
    Ferris, William N.; Friedman, Kit; Schwartz, Jason; Seo, Hye-Jeong; Ulaky, Allison (Virginia Tech, 2023-02-28)
    Graduate assistants with the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement (CECE) worked with the Town of Stuart, Virginia to conduct a feasibility study regarding purchase and operation of the Historic Star Theatre. First opened in 1947, the Star Theatre screened films and hosted live entertainment, drawing in locals and out-of-town visitors to the historic venue. With the theater newly renovated, the purchase of the historic facility could provide the town with a cultural anchor that would serve as a community-oriented center for concerts, movies, town gatherings, and other events, while simultaneously supporting Stuart’s historic downtown redevelopment effort.
  • Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Target Industry Strategic Analysis Report
    Posthumus, Ashley; Ulaky, Allison; Tate, Scott (Virginia Tech, 2022-08-02)
    The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority partnered with the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement to conduct a target industry strategic analysis. CECE sought to offer VCEDA a data-driven approach to validating the relevance of its existing industry targets and organize and prioritize VCEDA’s efforts to promote job growth and investment within its geographic footprint.
  • New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Development Region 2022 Q3 Quarterly Workforce Report: Young Adult Populations
    (Virginia Tech, 2022-11)
    CECE examines regional labor supply and labor demand data to inform the public of the evolving workforce landscape for young adults in the New River/Mount Rogers region.
  • Growth And Diversification Plan 2021: GO Virginia Region 2
    Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement (Virginia Tech, 2021-11)
    GO Virginia’s objectives, as set by the state, are simple and provide a clear path for action. The program seeks to grow jobs that pay higher than the regional average wage, primarily through investment that is new to Virginia. This requires a focus on industries with high growth potential, featuring in-demand occupations with higher wages. This Growth and Diversification plan provides a roadmap for utilizing GO Virginia funding for projects across this region, which includes the Lynchburg, New River Valley, and Roanoke-Alleghany sub-regions. Each of these areas has a strong history of local cooperation, and some experience with interregional collaboration, primarily between the New River and Roanoke Valleys. Together, they all share many economic similarities: traditional industry strengths in manufacturing, transportation, and agriculture; emerging technology sectors; mixed urban and rural characteristics; and higher education and healthcare as economic and employment drivers. This plan documents the socio-economic trajectory of this region, particularly the concentration of different industries across this footprint, their job growth rates compared to the nation, their contributions to gross regional product, the number of higher-than-average wage jobs available in these industries, and assets unique to the region that drive opportunity.
  • Feasibility Study Of A Transportation And Logistics Hub In Southwest Virginia
    Tate, Scott; Alwang, Albert; Barber, Neil; Jackson, Zachary (Virginia Tech, 2018-11-28)
    In 2018, the Southwest Virginia Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence engaged the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development (OED) to conduct a feasibility study related to the need and opportunities associated with a transportation and logistics hub in the Southwest Virginia coalfields region. The report provides an overview of the region’s transportation and logistics sector, examines transportation and logistics needs associated with southwest Virginia industry, and considers associated opportunities, barriers, possible costs, benefits, and other factors associated with a logistics hub.
  • Orange County works to grow economy based on OED assessment’s findings and recommendations
    (Virginia Tech, 2016-05)
    Folklore says that President James Madison loved craft beer so much, he once tried to appoint a Secretary of Beer to his cabinet. Hundreds of years later and on recommendation of Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development (OED), the Orange County Board of Supervisors is certainly doing Madison’s beer appreciation justice by looking to establish a brewery at Montpelier, Madison’s Virginia home. Last year, OED began researching agriculture and tourism-related economic opportunities for Montpelier through a grant sponsored by the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID) This year, the OED presented their findings and provided best-practice recommendations to Orange County and The Montpelier Foundation.
  • Alleghany Highlands: Regional Lodging Needs Assessment 2022
    Nagorniuk, Anna; Posthumus, Ashley; Seo, Hye-Jeong (Virginia Tech, 2022-09)
    The Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement, in partnership with the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce, conducted a regional lodging needs assessment to analyze current trends, challenges, opportunities, and demand opportunities for additional lodging in the region. VT CECE collected quantitative data on industry trends, visitor characteristics, travel trends, and more to better understand trends impacting the region’s lodging industry. VT CECE also gathered input from over 20 regional stakeholders to assess current conditions, needs, and opportunities for lodging in the region.
  • Halifax County Virginia Strategic Plan For Agriculture And Forestry
    Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development (Virginia Tech, 2017-08)
    In 2016, Halifax County, with the support of its county partners including the Halifax Farm Bureau, commissioned the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development (OED) to assist in the development of a Strategic Plan for Agriculture and Forestry for Halifax County. The purpose of this plan is to support this vital industry sector by leveraging existing assets and highlighting opportunities for the future.
  • New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Development Region 2022 Q3 Quarterly Workforce Report: Reentry Citizens
    (Virginia Tech, 2022)
    CECE examines regional labor supply and labor demand data to inform the public of the evolving workforce landscape for “returning citizens” who have been released from incarceration in the New River/Mount Rogers region.
  • Assessing the Impacts of Ability One at Melwood
    Lyon-Hill, Sarah; Mohammed, Afroze; Nagle, Lara; Moore, David; Seo, Hye-Jeong; Ulakey, Allison (Virginia Tech, 2022)
    In 2021, the nonprofit Melwood contracted with the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement and the Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance (VTIPG) to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of their AbilityOne program. The goal was to assess the true cost of Melwood’s AbilityOne program to the federal government and understand the broader benefits of this socio-economic program. The AbilityOne Program, administered by an independent federal agency, facilitates the employment of people who are blind or have significant disabilities so they may achieve their maximum employment potential.
  • Arts and Crafts Center Industry Overview
    Nagorniuk, Anna; Jackson, Zach; Schwartz, Jason (Virginia Tech, 2022-01)
    Communities across the country have shown increasing awareness of the contribution of arts and cultural amenities to overall quality of life. Many communities have seen growing efforts to bring arts and cultural programming to residents through economic and community development. Particularly, the arts and crafts center model has grown over time. The Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement (VTCECE) explored the current and changing conditions of this industry sector, particularly in light of the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. VTCECE analyzed arts center visitor demographics, accommodations, courses, instructors, tuition, scholarships, revenue streams, expenses, operations, staffing, opportunities, and challenges.
  • Recommendations for Wonder Universe (Formerly known as Children’s Museum of Blacksburg)
    Moayerian, Neda; Jackson, Zach; Gupta, Khushboo; Lettau, Eve (Virginia Tech, 2019-08)
    A graduate student led project worked with children's museum Wonder Universe to help them develop ideas to double their annual attendance as they moved into a new location. The report outlines best practices and recommendations for the museum to better serve the region.
  • Advanced Manufacturing and IT in the New River Valley: Impacts of COVID-19 and Supply Chain Shocks
    Ferris, William N.; Travis, Elli; Tate, Scott; Boswell, Katie (Virginia Tech, 2022-08)
    In 2020, Onward NRV partnered with the Virginia Tech Center for Economic and Community Engagement (CECE) to determine how Advanced Manufacturing and IT firms in the region were affected by COVID-19 and how these firms felt about their prognosis regarding the next year. To accomplish this, CECE developed surveys designed to generate insight into how businesses were faring. There were 21 manufacturing survey responses and 24 information technology survey responses. CECE also conducted interviews with representatives from two Advanced Manufacturing and two IT firms to generate additional insight. At that time, close to two-thirds of Advanced Manufacturing and IT firms expected to retain their employees. Sixty-two percent of manufacturers had unfilled production worker and engineer positions, and thirty-eight percent of tech companies needed software engineers, account executives, and production schedulers. Businesses in both sectors generally maintained positive outlooks for the following year. The most significant concern among companies at the end of 2020 was the health and safety of employees. In 2022, two years after the initial survey, CECE followed up with Advanced Manufacturing and IT firms to see how these businesses were faring. Follow-up survey responses suggest that regional Advanced Manufacturing and IT companies have performed strongly since the onset of the pandemic. Relative to pre-pandemic levels, most firms—83% of technology firms and 75% of manufacturing firms — report maintaining or increasing the number of employees at their firm; payrolls have held steady or increased for approximately 90% of firms in both sectors, and firms report similar or increased revenues. Manufacturing and technology firms correspondingly report positive outlooks. Onward NRV and CECE also conducted semi-structured interviews with firms from each sector to shed additional light on business prognoses and experiences doing business in the New River Valley. Findings from interviews paralleled those expressed in surveys.
  • IT and Emerging Technology in GO Virginia Region 2: Situation, Challenges, and the Road Forward
    Ferris, William N.; Travis, Elli; Quina Weber-Shirk (Virginia Tech, 2022)
    In this short whitepaper, we discuss the present conditions and performance of the IT and emerging technology industries in Region 2. We begin with an overview of the sector, discussing both IT occupations, and IT companies. In section two, we present two key issues: capital and talent, before concluding with a discussion of talent attraction and retention and higher education-based solutions. This document is meant to guide the IT and Emerging Technology GO Virginia Region 2 working group in the identification of additional strategies and programs to improve high wage jobs in that sector.