At the May HRPDC meeting, the Commission discussed strategies to improve the economic competitiveness of the Hampton Roads region. As part of this discussion, the Commission received presentations from the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance (HREDA) and from Stephen Moret, President and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
HREDA has worked with a consultant team and regional stakeholders to analyze the Hampton Roads economy and make recommendations to improve regional economic performance and create jobs. Major findings include:
- Hampton Roads’ performance in job creation is very weak when compared to other regions, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the U. S. as a whole.
- Competition for job creation is global and it occurs at the regional level. Hampton Roads must compete as a region in order to be successful.
- Strong regional economic development agencies and high levels of collaboration with local and State economic development staff are key ingredients of successful regions.
- Targeted business sectors and improvement strategies are identified for Hampton Roads. A focused regional effort on these sectors and strategies will maximize the impact of public sector investments in economic development.
- Efforts to attract outside investment in the Hampton Roads economy will support the retention and expansion of existing business and leverage regional assets such as the Port of Virginia and the military. These efforts will also leverage major investments underway in Port and surface transportation infrastructure.
- Targeted implementation of improvement strategies is projected to create 60,000 to 112,000 jobs over a ten year period or about a 1% annual growth rate for the region.
Following extensive discussion, the HRPDC forwarded this topic to the regional CAO Committee and requested that the CAOs provide recommendations for next steps.