Communities with productive and resilient business environments ensure quality jobs for residents, provide a wide range of options for workers and are an attractive place for new businesses and industries to make their home.
At present there is a troubling mismatch between the skills of many residents and the needs of employers in the main areas of fastest job growth in the region. Long-term residents worry about whether they will be able to find work that will allow them to stay in their communities as they confront a changing economic landscape.
Since most job opportunities are also concentrated in a few localities, many residents face long commutes to get to job centers, driving up their cost of living as energy prices rise.Citizens said that they wanted to see growth of a diversified economic landscape with opportunities for development and employment in a wide range of sectors including education, agriculture, innovation and high tech industry, tourism, services and manufacturing. They expressed value for both innovation and tradition: moving forward into accessing the global economy while at the same time fully developing what is local including small businesses and local agriculture. Residents indicated a desire for future investment in telecommunications and transportation infrastructure necessary to allow the region to compete in the broader economy.
All residents of the New River Valley should have access to quality educational experiences that will help prepare them to gain access to quality jobs in the region and to participate fully in the life of their communities.Participants also wanted to see a future where NRV farmers are able to make a living by supplying local and regional markets with a diversity of products – providing sources of high quality fresh, local foods to residents. By doing these things, residents see more opportunities for young people to have a chance at making a good living and raising their own families here in the region.