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Northam announces $7.7M in grants for economic growth

Gov. Ralph Northam recently announced an allocation of more than $7.7 million in Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grants to advance community economic recovery efforts, including those taking place in the City of Franklin and Southampton County.

Ralph Northam

A press release from the office of the governor continued by stating that this funding will support 14 projects focused on economic diversification, workforce development, talent pipelines, economic resiliency and business-ready sites.

“As Virginia’s economy continues to surge, it’s important that every part of the state shares in that success,” Northam said. “These grants support projects that drive local and regional economic growth, spurring innovation and creating jobs in our communities across the commonwealth.”

GO Virginia has funded 196 projects and awarded approximately $75.6 million to support regional economic development efforts since 2017.

This round of grants includes 11 regional projects and three projects through GO Virginia’s Economic Resilience and Recovery Program. The awarded projects will receive an additional $4.2 million in local and non-state resources.

“Economic development is an inherently collaborative endeavor, and GO Virginia’s regional approach has proven to be an invaluable tool in this regard,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said. “These projects build upon the economic assets each region has to offer, supporting job creation and new investment in the commonwealth’s communities.”

“I would like to commend the thoughtful work of councils and partners represented in the projects awarded today,” GO Virginia State Board Vice Chair Todd Stottlemyer said. “The success of GO Virginia is predicated on the belief that communities are stronger when the public and private sectors work together on shared challenges and opportunities. The projects reflect that commitment to working collaboratively to strengthen regional economies and provide good job opportunities for the individuals who reside in them.”

Among the 2021 Round Three Regional Grant Awards, $84,000 is going toward the Hampton Roads Regional Energy Master Plan, which affects Region 5, an area that includes the counties of Southampton and Isle of Wight and the cities of Franklin, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach.

For this master plan, the Hampton Roads Alliance will work with partners to evaluate the projected population growth of the region and analyze the energy infrastructure needed to support this level of growth. This project will develop a baseline of the capacity of the current energy supply system, create a clear understanding of the capacity of that system and identify options to deliver energy to meet further demand.

Also among round three of the grant awards, $100,000 is going toward SPARK — Setting Pathways that Activate Real-World Knowledge, a project that will impact the cities of Franklin, Newport News, Norfolk and Portsmouth in Region 5.

For this project, Portsmouth Public Schools will contract with a partner organization, JASON Learning, to design, produce, publish and distribute a digital course module to support effective classroom instruction of the SPARK course material and deliver that training to up to 100 educators from regional school districts. This project will ensure a strong connection between STEM learning opportunities available in the region’s high schools and regional workforce needs in advanced manufacturing, enabling high school juniors and seniors to prepare for immediate entry into the workforce upon graduation.

To learn more about the GO Virginia program, visit www.dhcd.virginia.gov/gova.