On Wednesday, August 5, staff from NOVA’s Workforce Development Division attended Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Latino Summit, held at George Mason University’s Arlington Campus. Over 300 people attended overall, including key business, education, state, and local leaders.
The summit focused on the role the fast-growing Hispanic population plays in building a new Virginia economy. Breakout sessions featured topics of interest to businesses, community organizations, and educators; Workforce Development Division staff participated in two sessions:
Growing Your Businesses with the Commonwealth: The Department of General Services (DGS) provided an overview of Virginia’s eProcurement Portal (eVA) and demonstrated how businesses can register with the Commonwealth. The newly formed Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD) gave an overview of how they can better assist Latino businesses in Virginia’s procurement opportunities. In addition, SBSD highlighted Governor McAuliffe’s Executive Order 20, which advances equity for small, women and minority owned businesses (SWaM).
Empowering Latino Success Through Higher Education and Workforce Development: The State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV) gave an overview of the students in Virginia attending college on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status. In addition, Northern Virginia Community College highlighted articulation agreements between Community Colleges and 4 year Universities, and provided an overview of the Governor’s workforce initiative and his goal of increasing credentials by 50,000.
Governor McAuliffe was the keynote speaker for the summit, stating that his Administration is dedicated to developing and implementing policies for economic development, health care and education across the Commonwealth, and making sure the thriving Latino community is included.
“It is imperative that we have input from members of the Latino community if we plan to continue to build a new Virginia economy that our families and loved ones deserve.”
The Latino community, along with other small businesses, women-owned, businesses, and minority-owned businesses (all are considered part of SWaM businesses in Virginia), fuels a large part of Virginia’s economy, and Governor McAuliffe is dedicated to ensuring that these small businesses have a chance to compete with larger corporations in Virginia.
Executive Order 20:
Advancing Equity For Small, Women, And Minority Owned Businesses
In July 2014, Governor McAuliffe signed Executive Order 20, Advancing Equity for Small, Women, and Minority Owned Businesses, which requires state agencies to award at least 42 percent of contracts to SWaM businesses. The text of the Executive Order begins:
It is imperative for the Commonwealth of Virginia to maximize the participation of small businesses in state contractual work. For Virginia to remain competitive and continue to advance its small business goals, significant work still must be done for a more transparent, equitable, and inclusive process. Therefore, I am establishing a micro business designation within the small business certification and vital new state procurement initiatives.
With Commonwealth executive branch agencies urged to spend at least 42 percent of their budgets with SWaM businesses, the economy remains robust and competitive. For fiscal year 2013, SWaM businesses captured 34.8 percent ($2.03 billion) of the $ 5.83 billion total spent with contractors. In fiscal year 2014, the total capture was 32.3 percent ($1.81 billion).
As part of his keynote speech, Governor McAuliffe criticized Republican efforts to wipe out President Obama’s executive order that allows millions of people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to stay here and work—legally.
They talk about how some of our brightest students in the Commonwealth should be deported. Let me be very clear: I am one hundred percent against that. We should not be deporting any of our talent.
Attendees applauded the focus on better jobs and opportunities for Virginia’s Latino residents, and keeping talented, hard-working individuals here to help drive the economy forward.
Governor McAuliffe visited attending vendors, including NOVA WDD, and thanked everyone for their service to the Latino community, health, education, and Virginia’s economic development. We established connections with several attendees and learned about outreach opportunities with Northern Virginia businesses and social services organizations. We are looking forward to many more upcoming events and networking opportunities, and to next year’s Summit.
I originally wrote this article for NOVA Workforce Development Division’s blog.