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Fairfax's McKay sets up workforce-readiness task force

Body will be directed to report back by end of 2024
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) looked on Feb. 15, 2023, as Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay (D) spoke in support of locating the FBI's new headquarters in Springfield. U.S. General Services Administration officials now have decided the facility should be built in Greenbelt, Md.

Seeking to boost the talent pool for Fairfax County’s economy, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay (D) on Nov. 21 announced he was creating a Workforce Readiness Working Group.

With more than 100,000 vacant jobs in Northern Virginia and a rapidly diversifying employee base, the board must work with strategic stakeholders to “ensure that the workforce of tomorrow is being built today,” McKay said.

In 2022, the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority worked with more than 148 businesses to grow their presences or relocate to the county, he said.

“We know that the key factors attracting businesses are our world-class education system, a business-friendly climate, a long and diverse talent pipeline, and ecosystem of innovation,” McKay said. “Our county’s growth requires collaboration and vision to build upon and be a part of the great work being done around our region on workforce development.”

McKay requested that county staff work with his office to develop a structure and specific objectives for the working group to “further our goal of building a world-class talent base for the future.”

The group will be made up of two members of the Board of Supervisors, two School Board members and “strategic partners” from academia, government and the private sector, all of whom will be selected by McKay.

The group, which McKay hopes will be in place before the board’s first meeting next year, will provide its report to county supervisors by the end of 2024.

Supervisor Penelope Gross (D-Mason) suggested McKay should consider selecting for the group a member of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, which has been doing considerable work on workforce issues.

“It’s going to be a small group, but the folks who are on this are going to be people who are working in this space, not people who are learning about it, but people who are actually doing it,” McKay said. “We’re not starting from zero by any stretch here.”