Forbes.com Gives Virginia a Podium Ranking in its 2012 Best States for Business

Once again, Virginia received a podium ranking from Forbes.com in its annual Best States for Business ranking. Coming in at No. 2, Virginia is the top state on the East Coast and has held first or second overall since the ranking began in 2006.

The ranking is based on six categories: costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, current economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life.

The Commonwealth is ranked No. 1 in the category of regulatory environment. According to Forbes.com, "The state ranks on top of the regulatory category because of its strong incentive offerings and business friendly government policies." With right-to-work laws, an unemployment tax burden 32 percent lower than the national average, and a six percent corporate tax rate unchanged since 1972, companies have improved their bottom lines just by locating in Virginia.

In the important category of labor supply, Virginia came in at No. 2 and is the top state on the East Coast. With 4.1 million motivated and highly skilled workers and more than 500,000 students enrolled in Virginia’s top-ranked colleges and universities, the Commonwealth has a strong pipeline ready to fill present and future industry needs.

Virginia is ranked No. 4 in the quality of life category, a metric that is gaining increasing importance for companies making relocation decisions. Virginia has one of the nation’s highest concentrations of historic resources and is blessed with beautiful mountains, rivers and beaches, as well as 35 state parks, 22 national parks and more than 500 trails, providing an abundance of recreational opportunities for residents.

This top ranking from Forbes.com adds to the distinguished list of honors Virginia has recently received, including winning the 2011 Competitiveness Award from Site Selection magazine, a No. 2 ranking on Pollina Corporate Real Estate’s Top Pro-Business States for 2012, and No. 3 rankings on Business Facilities’ 2012 State Rankings Report and CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business list, to name a few.

To learn why Virginia continues to receive top recognition from the industry as the premier state for business, click here.


Virginia's Wind Industry Gains Speed Following Two Federal Announcements

Virginia’s wind industry has won validation with two positive announcements from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Department of Energy (DOE).

On November 30, the BOEM announced federals waters off the Virginia coastline qualified as one of only two wind energy areas (WEAs) for the upcoming competitive lease sale process. This is the first-ever wind energy lease sale on the Outer Continental Shelf.

The Commonwealth’s WEA encompasses 112,800 acres located about 23.5 nautical miles off Virginia’s coastline. According to the BOEM, this area would have the capacity to produce more than 2,000 MW of wind generation, enough electricity to power 700,000 homes.

On December 12, the DOE announced that a Virginia team led by Dominion Virginia Power was one of seven projects awarded an initial grant of up to $4 million for the engineering, design and installation of an offshore wind turbine demonstration facility.

Dominion will install two Alstom 6-megawatt turbines off the Virginia coastline using an innovative "twisted jacket" foundation that requires less steel. In addition to Alstom Power Inc., the Dominion team includes KBR; the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME); the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute; and Newport News Shipbuilding.

Virginia-based Fugro Atlantic has also been selected by the DMME to conduct a geological survey to study the seafloor of Virginia’s WEA in the Outer Continental Shelf.

Recognition from both the BOEM and DOE highlights the Commonwealth’s strengths in the offshore wind industry. Virginia is well-positioned as a leader in this renewable energy field, offering the ideal combination of strong Class 6 winds, shallow waters off the coast, an experienced maritime workforce, a robust transportation network, and access to a fully operational high voltage transmission grid close to shore.

Often called the "Energy Capital of the East Coast," Virginia is home to more than 380 energy companies and has seen more than $4.6 billion invested in energy projects over the last decade. To learn more about Virginia’s burgeoning energy industry, click here.


U.S. News and World Report Recognizes Virginia in its 2013 Best Colleges List

Virginia’s higher education system once again received recognition for being at the top of the field. The University of Virginia (UVA) is ranked No. 2 and The College of William and Mary placed 6th on U.S. News and World Report’s Top Public Schools-National Universities list. UVA’s undergraduate business program is still ranked No. 5 in the country.

On the Top Public Schools-Liberal Arts Colleges list, Virginia Military Institute is ranked No. 4, and on the Top Public Schools-Regional Universities (South) list, Virginia showed strongly with James Madison University at No. 2, the University of Mary Washington at No. 6, Christopher Newport University at No. 8, and Longwood University at No. 11.

Virginia Tech was once again recognized for its world-class engineering capabilities, placing in the top 10 in a number of undergraduate engineering categories, including No. 5 for Engineering Science/Engineering Physics, No. 9 for Civil Engineering, and No. 10 for Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering.

Washington and Lee University is ranked 14th overall in the National Liberal Arts Colleges category, and also placed 14th as a Best Value School within the National Liberal Arts Colleges grouping. George Mason University is ranked the No. 1 Up-and-Coming School in the National Universities category and the University of Richmond tied as the No. 1 Up-and-Coming School in the Liberal Arts Colleges Category. University of Richmond is also ranked No. 8 overall on the Most Connected Colleges list and No. 11 as a Best Value School in the Liberal Arts Colleges category.

Hampton University is ranked No. 4 on the Historically Black Colleges and Universities national list.

To learn how Virginia’s excellent education system and workforce training solutions prepare a solid pipeline of skilled workers, click here.


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