February 21, 2018

Opportunity Index Unveiled as Panelists Evaluate Workforce Development Challenges and Opportunities, and Region’s Income Inequality

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia and the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce co-hosted the Shape of the Region conference on February 15, 2018 at Valo Park in Tysons Corner, Virginia. Nearly 300 registered guests attended the event. Keynote speakers included Michael Cassidy, President & CEO, Commonwealth Institute, and Richard Reeves, Senior Fellow of Economic Studies and Co-Director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution.

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The Shape of the Region conference presenters discussed our region’s prosperity and vitality within a greater context of how to share the benefits of our rising region with all who live and work here. “We were humbled and encouraged by the response we have received following the event and were left with the feeling that it underscores something already reflected in our community – a growing sense of home and place, a recognition of a path forward that marries our economic strength and the full breadth of our diverse community, and a deepening understanding of what is possible, together,” said Eileen Ellsworth, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.

The Community Foundation unveiled a new, dynamic tool at this event that helped ground the conversations with local data – the Opportunity Index for Northern Virginia. Viewed in dashboard format from the Community Foundation’s website, and updated annually so that trends emerge, the Opportunity Index will be our region’s report card. It displays 26 indicators of our civic, social, economic, and educational wellbeing, disaggregated by race, ethnicity, age, nativity, and jurisdiction. Two of the stories that have already emerged from the data were featured during the conference: our region’s workforce development challenges and opportunities, and our region’s growing income inequality.

Each of these topics were discussed and explored through panel discussions. The opportunity and inequality panel was moderated by Erin Hogan, Philanthropic Market Executive - Southeast, U.S. Trust. Panelists will include Tamara Copeland, President, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers; David Hunn, President & CEO, SkillSource Group, Inc.; and Dr. Bruce McDade, Superintendent, Manassas Park Public Schools.

The panel discussing workforce development challenges was moderated by Scott Ralls, President, Northern Virginia Community College. Panelists included Ken Eisner, Senior Manager, Worldwide Education Programs and Global Lead, Amazon Web Services; Lovey Hammel, President, Employment Enterprises, Inc.; Jacqueline M. Welsh, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion, Freddie Mac.

Please click here to view photos from this event, and click here to view the event presentations.

To stay informed about the topics covered at this event, please contact the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s office at 703-879-7640.

Support for this event was provided by U.S Trust (Gold level), The SkillSource Group, Inc. (Silver level), and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (Bronze Level).