Governor headlines DMV Regional Congress meeting, Cross-Sector Leaders Discuss DMV Equity and Growth Playbook, Digital Currency and Quantum, Hydrogen, and NEXTversity Initiatives March 24, 2022 (Washington, D.C.)— Today, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin addressed the quarterly meeting of the DMV Regional Congress and shared more about his vision for Virginia’s economic growth, calling for expanded regional and cross-sector collaboration and cooperation on workforce development. He was introduced by DMV Regional Congress member Dr. Gregory Washington, President of George Mason University.
“The aspiration behind Connected DMV is a meritorious one. I am incredibly impressed by what you all are doing and the leadership that you’re providing as you come together to recognize that regionalism is real,” Governor Youngkin said. “As I’ve stepped into this extraordinary privilege to serve as governor of Virginia, I’m struck by both the challenges and the opportunities that we all collectively face. Ultimately, it’s about growth and the recognition that growth lifts all Virginians. We must also address food insecurity in the commonwealth, which with COVID-19 has grown to 20 percent or more.”
During his remarks, Governor Youngkin discussed ways that his administration is focused on ensuring companies that want to grow in the Commonwealth can do so and talked in detail about the importance of new, innovative workforce development initiatives, as well as our region’s community colleges, to help workers find better jobs and do it quickly. Governor Youngkin highlighted his administration’s goals to add 400,000 jobs and 10,000 startups to Virginia’s economy.
“Long-term workforce development has to start in K-12,” Youngkin continued. “And then it has to carry on into higher education. Collaborations between companies and higher education on what kinds of programs are most effective, coupled with aggressive apprenticeship budgets and legislation are critical. Those two things will mean that students see what work is like and are trained and ready to go right when they graduate and also that they stay here in Virginia, and their skills are put to work immediately.”
Last month, Connected DMV announced NEXTversity, a comprehensive workforce development program that provides a pathway for underrepresented populations to gain the professional skills needed to access a high-end job with the potential for succession into subsequent leadership roles within professional service organizations in Greater Washington. It will also provide learning and support for managers to become better equipped to develop and retain diverse employees. The initiative is co-chaired by Prince George’s Community College President Dr. Falecia D. Williams, Northern Virginia Community College President Dr. Anne Kress, and The Economic Club of Washington D.C. President and CEO Mary Brady. The result will be a new regional workforce pathway that reduces employment insecurity for some of our most vulnerable neighbors and builds a more diverse, resilient regional workforce. Dr. Kress gave an update on NEXTversity’s work during today’s session.
Victor Hoskins, President and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, facilitated this meeting of the DMV Regional Congress operated by Connected DMV. Comprised of nearly 70 leaders from private industry, academia, community, philanthropy and the public sector throughout Greater Washington, the DMV Regional Congress’ mission is to continue and sustain the advancements started by Connected DMV’s COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force.
Following Governor Youngkin’s keynote, the DMV Regional Congress welcomed Dante Disparte, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Policy for Circle, a global financial technology firm at the center of digital currency innovation and open financial infrastructure. During his remarks, Disparte discussed the social impact and power of stablecoins for financial inclusion, economic growth, jobs, humanitarian aid, and more.
“Digital currency in the form of stablecoins can create more inclusive money and payments options for underserved and marginalized communities,” said Disparte. “By embracing the multitrillion-dollar digital assets industry, adopting trusted USD stablecoins and providing necessary digital financial literacy the DMV can responsibly improve financial inclusion, lessen wealth inequality, catalyze economic growth, and create new professional and entrepreneurship opportunities for the region.”
The DMV Regional Congress also included remarks and updates from:
Dave Velazquez, Executive Vice President of Utility Operations, Exelon with a regional spotlight from the energy sector focusing on actions being taken in the sector to make the clean energy transition, reduce carbon emissions, help customers use less energy through enhanced energy efficiency programs, and achieve these results in an affordable, reliable, safe, and secure manner.
Mayor Anthony Williams, CEO & Executive Director, Federal City Council, on the DMV Regional Equity and Growth Playbook in development by Connected DMV, Federal City Council, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and Consortium of the Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. The Playbook will establish a unified regional collaboration model across regional organizations and the public, private, academic, and community sectors in Greater Washington.
Manny Rouvelas, Partner, K&L Gates, on the Potomac Quantum Innovation Center’s work to prepare for the future by bringing together Greater Washington's quantum stakeholders across borders and sectors to drive innovation, talent development, economic growth, and positive social impact.
Stu Solomon, President and CEO, Connected DMV, on the National Capital Hydrogen Center’s work to accelerate the creation of a hydrogen ecosystem in Greater Washington, foster collaboration across organizations in support of the national imperative to add hydrogen solutions to our country’s clean energy future, and the upcoming Department of Energy Hydrogen Hub federal funding response.
“We have undertaken some very ambitious projects and programs to improve the quality of life for all of our residents because of the commitment, creativity, vision and energy of so many leaders who are united in the pursuit of one goal,” said Stu Solomon, President & CEO, Connected DMV. “While our work is ongoing, the consensus view is that we must not rest until we achieve outcomes that lead to economic prosperity and social equity across the DMV.”
The DMV Regional Congress convenes quarterly and is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, as well as Verizon and Clark Construction. To learn more about its work and members, please visit, https://connecteddmv.org/congress.
About Connected DMV
Connected DMV is an initiatives-based, charitable 501(c)(3) organization that works with regional organizations across Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia – the DMV – to help drive ongoing improvements to social, digital, and physical infrastructure. Connected DMV focuses on initiatives that span local jurisdictions and require collaboration across the public, private, academia, and community sectors to best achieve the dual objectives of enduring economic growth and social equity.