Commonwealth becomes the first to claim consecutive wins with education system, workforce, and inclusiveness highlighted
Governor Ralph Northam today announced that CNBC, a world leader in business news, has named Virginia as America's "Top State for Business" in 2021. The Governor joined CNBC at the Port of Virginia for a live broadcast where the winner was revealed following an extensive study of 85 distinct metrics across 10 competitiveness categories. CNBC's scorecard highlighted the Commonwealth's education system, workforce, and commitment to equity and inclusion.
Following the announcement, Governor Northam held a press conference with leaders from the General Assembly to discuss the pragmatic, forward-looking policies that propelled the Commonwealth to reclaim the top spot in 2019 and made Virginia the first state to win back-to-back titles in CNBC's ranking.
"Virginia continues to be the best place to do business because of our world-class education institutions, talented workforce, and shared commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion," said Governor Northam. "I am proud of what this coveted recognition says about the policies we have put in place and how they are driving growth and innovation across our Commonwealth. Our success is a blueprint for creating a vibrant economic climate in the post-pandemic world—and proves that when you lift everyone up, when you treat people right, and when you celebrate diversity, it's also good for business."
With previous wins in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2019, Virginia surpassed Texas for most years as the top state for business since CNBC debuted its ranking in 2007. This year, CNBC adapted its formulas to address the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts, with a new focus on areas like health care, inclusiveness, and sustainability. Information about the methodology used by CNBC to determine America's Top States for Business in 2021 is available here.
States can earn a maximum of 2,500 points across the 10 categories, and Virginia received a total of 1,587 points. In its 2021 ranking, CNBC noted Virginia's highly educated workforce, strong economy, and stable business environment. The study also gives Virginia top scores for education, infrastructure, and technology and innovation. Read more about Virginia's 2021 ranking here.
Since Governor Northam took office in January 2018, the Commonwealth has created nearly 90,000 new jobs and secured more than $45.4 billion in statewide capital investment, including approximately $7 billion in distressed communities. With major investments from global leaders like Amazon, Facebook, and Micron, and companies of all sizes choosing to locate or expand their operations in Virginia, businesses continue to recognize the Commonwealth's competitive advantages.
Under Governor Northam's leadership, Virginia has made historic investments in early childhood education, increased funding for historically Black colleges and universities, and worked to expand degree programs in computer science and technology at public higher education institutions to help meet the increased demand for tech talent. Virginia's workforce investments also include the new G3 program, which launched this month and makes tuition-free community college and financial support for other expenses available to low- and middle-income students who pursue jobs in high-demand fields.
Investing in infrastructure has been an essential component of Virginia's ongoing work to create economic opportunity, facilitate commerce, and improve the quality of life. This includes improvements to the heavily traveled I-81 corridor, an expansion project that will once again make the Port of Virginia the deepest port on the East Coast, and the Transforming Rail in Virginia initiative to build a 21st-century statewide rail network across the Commonwealth.
The Northam Administration has also put a strong focus on advancing policies that make Virginia more welcoming and inclusive, ensure people are treated fairly and equitably, and make it as easy as possible for Virginians to participate in democracy.