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The original item was published from 9/28/2020 4:01:10 PM to 10/29/2020 12:00:05 AM.

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Posted on: September 28, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Greater Williamsburg Area Receives Grant From GO Virginia State Board to Update Analysis

Greater Williamsburg Partnership logo

Last week, the Greater Williamsburg Partnership (GWP) announced that the region received grant funding from the GO Virginia State Board to support the update of the Greater Williamsburg’s Targeted Industry Analysis. GWP named Chmura Economics & Analytics (Chmura), a Richmond-based woman owned economic consulting firm, to conduct the analysis update.

The Greater Williamsburg area (156,528 population) is comprised of the City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County. It is strategically positioned between two Metropolitan Statistical Areas encompassing three million in population – Hampton Roads (1.7 million) and Greater Williamsburg (1.3 million). Proximity to these dual regions provide unique access to overlapping economic and workforce assets such as major employers, higher education, labor, the Port of Virginia and airports, which have organically created a subset of targeted industry clusters in the Greater Williamsburg area.

Based on Greater Williamsburg’s economic and workforce assets, the original analysis conducted in August 2016 identified three emerging sectors: advanced materials and components; food & beverage and professional & technical services. Two legacy sectors were identified in the original analysis: defense and tourism. The original analysis set the stage for the community to leverage Greater Williamsburg’s current business and occupational mix as well as identify emerging opportunities.

“By updating this analysis, this subset of targeted sectors and related workforce data can be reevaluated to serve as a blueprint to guide our economic diversification efforts going forward,” said Voncile “Von” Gilbreath, director of GWP. “More importantly, this analysis will provide deeper insight into the area’s current strengths and identify new opportunities to cultivate the workforce and ultimately meet the demands of existing and new businesses. This work is more important than ever as our community navigates the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact to our hospitality and tourism sector.”

GWP received a $36,375 grant award to offset the cost of updating the Greater Williamsburg Targeted Industry Sector Analysis. Funds will pay for a portion of Chmura’s services.

“We are very pleased to approve this Enhanced Capacity Building grant proposal at the Region 5 Council level and subsequently endorsed by the State Board,” said Tom Frantz, Chairman Emeritus, Williams Mullen and GO Virginia Region 5, Regional Council Chair. “This collaborative process will provide critical information to address the region’s economic agility to increase small medium size enterprises and close workforce skill gaps in regional clusters.”

Region 5 consists of the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg; and the counties of Accomack, Isle of Wight, James City, Northampton, Southampton and York. Reinvent Hampton Roads serves as Region 5’s support organization and provides fiduciary oversight and administrative services for activities related to GO Virginia in Region 5.

The Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity (GO Virginia) is a business-led initiative that was formed to foster private-sector growth and diversification across nine economic development regions in the Commonwealth. State financial incentives designated for regional projects that encourage collaboration between private sector companies, workforce, education, and government are administered by the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board. “The true value of this grant will be exponentially greater because it will serve as a significant catalyst to help transform the Greater Williamsburg area,” said Chris Chmura, president and CEO of Chmura.

Upon completion, the updated study will be shared with key public and private sector partners to assist with mutual economic development goals and strategies.

For more information on GO Virginia Region 5, visit its website or the Reinvent Hampton Roads website. For more information about GWP, visit its website. Information about Chmura can be found online.

James City County Media Contact:
Christopher Johnson, Director of Economic Development

GWP Media Contact:
Von Gilbreath, Director

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