In today's economy, cultivating a highly-skilled workforce has quickly emerged as a promising approach for helping to promote and sustain regional economic competitiveness.  Working together with a wide range of public and private stakeholders, OED supports applied research initiatives in talent development which seek to align institutional, training, and innovation assets with regional workforce talent pools. 

Key Partners

Collaboration with industry and education and workforce training leadership provides OED with opportunities to further advance scholarship and research efforts seeking to identify strategies and promising practices for increasing the interconnectivity of workforce and economic development initiatives across the Commonwealth.  Recent project examples include skills mapping projects for workforce investment boards serving Greater Richmond, Southwest Virginia and the New River-Mt. Rogers region (Bristol to Blacksburg).   

Key Projects and Initiatives

Matching the needs of employers with the skills of workers is a perennial challenge across the US. Rapid technological changes and industrial restructuring have made it hard for educators to keep up, especially as job titles start to vary from firm to firm.  In fact it’s fair to say information on skills is perhaps the most important occupational data available today.  Existing government data collection systems don’t do enough to help translate the needs of employers into data that educators can work with.  With that need in mind, OED has completed skills studies for regional workforce boards that put us on the ground with employers making direct observations at job sites to build an industry by industry roadmap that would help the region’s educators and employers identify real gaps and work on them together.

Click here to view a summary of OED’s New River Mt. Rogers Skills Gap Analysis

Click here to view the Southwest Virginia Workforce Investment Board Area One Workforce Skills Analysis.


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Hi-tech skills in Virginia's coal country

Southwest Virginia economies continue to reel from declines in coal production and employment. Against this backdrop, communities can seize opportunities to better support and retrain displaced coal mine workers in an industry where jobs fell to a record low of less than 4,000 in 2014, a Virginia Tech workforce study says. Read more