VA Governor headlines first Regional Congress meeting, Cross-Sector Leaders Discuss Quantum Innovation Cluster and Career Pathway Training Program
September 16, 2021 (Washington, D.C.)- With $3 billion in federal funding available to help communities across America recover and rebuild in the wake of COVID-19, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam told the first DMV Regional Congress that securing access to those funds needs to be a regional and collaborative effort. At the meeting, Connected DMV, the Greater Washington cross-sector nonprofit formed in 2019, also announced a new quantum innovation regional cluster to accelerate the establishment of quantum innovation as an economic development driver for Greater Washington and a new career pathway program to train those in underserved communities for positions in high paying, highly skilled jobs.
“Collaboration is key to securing critical funding for the region's transportation, infrastructure and other economic development projects,” said Governor Northam. “Everyone who lives and works in the DMV benefits from its unmatched assets, which is why all stakeholders need to present a united front in the competition for these funds. This work is crucially important for the Commonwealth, our neighbors, and the entire region as a whole."
Last month, Connected DMV announced We Are Greater Washington, a historic, first-of-its kind joint program office, led by Connected DMV, which brings together economic development and planning organizations, industry, academia, philanthropy and community organizations to compete for emerging federal funding focused on regional equitable economic development across the DMV. President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan includes $3 billionfor the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to help rebuild local economies post pandemic.
Today's meeting, which was facilitated by the President and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank, Radha Muthiah, was the first meeting of Connected DMV’s newly assembled DMV Regional Congress.
Comprised of 67 exceptional leaders from private industry, academia, community, philanthropy, and the public sector throughout Greater Washington, the DMV Regional Congress’ mission is to continue, for the long-term, the advancements started by Connected DMV’s COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force.
“I want to commend Connected DMV for bringing together such a diverse group of regional leadership to discuss some of the most complex and pressing issues facing our area. The more we work together, the stronger our region can become - both in the short term and into the future,” said Muthiah, who is also a DMV Regional Congress and former COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force Member. Last year, Connected DMV, in partnership with the Capital Area Food Bank, conducted a food resilience exercise focused on optimizing food distribution to the region’s most vulnerable communities during pandemic conditions.
Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) Co-Chairs, John Falcicchio, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, District of Columbia; David Iannucci, President and CEO, Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation; and Victor Hoskins, President and CEO, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority also spoke affirming the importance of regional coordination in the pursuit of federal funding.
At today’s meeting, DMV Regional Congress members took their first concrete action, discussing a new workforce initiative program led by a panel of regional academic and economic leaders: Mary Brady, Executive Director, The Economic Club of Washington, DC; Dr. Anne Kress, President of Northern Virginia Community College; and Dr. Falecia D. Williams, President of Prince George’s Community College. The Professional Services Apprenticeship Program (PSAP) calls for the creation of an organization with a social mission to skill under-represented talent within the region into high quality employment through paid apprenticeship training.
Also at today’s meeting, DMV Regional Congress members discussed a quantum innovation growth cluster recognizing the entrance of the quantum era where scientific and technological advances harnessing phenomena at the sub-atomic level will have significant economic, social, and national security impacts across the globe. Connected DMV and the We Are Greater Washington coalition are bringing together key stakeholders and assets in the region to seek joint federal funding to accelerate the establishment of an inclusive and transformative quantum innovation growth cluster as a net-new economic development driver for Greater Washington and the nation.
During the quantum panel discussion at the DMV Regional Congress session, Dr. Darryll Pines, President of the University of Maryland and Dr. Wayne Frederick, President of Howard University spoke to the importance of collaboration in creating a thriving and equitable quantum innovation growth cluster in Greater Washington, while Dr. Gregory Washington, President of George Mason University, who was unable to attend, released a statement to the Congress to this effect.
The Congress also heard from a variety of philanthropic leaders who stressed the notion that philanthropy should be present at the beginning of large-scale initiatives.
“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 still in the early stages, the consensus view is that we will not rest until we achieve outcomes that lead to economic prosperity and social equity across the DMV.”
The DMV Regional Congress convenes quarterly.
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 public-private-academia-community collaboration to best achieve the dual objectives of enduring economic health and social equity.