The current labor pool has respectable middle skills training, but it is also an aging workforce.

Attracting, and keeping, young professionals and skilled labor continues to be challenging. 

Open positions are difficult to fill due to higher wages in Richmond, Raleigh/Durham and

Lynchburg. Unemployment is lower than it’s been since 2008 and the overall labor supply has

increased indicating an availability of workers that were previously not seeking employment,

but developing a skilled workforce is a continuing effort.


The public school system has many dedicated professionals, but there are significant concerns

regarding graduation rates, achievement scores, emphasizing workforce education as equal to

a four year degree, and improving the aging infrastructure (i.e., investment in new school

facilities). There is a general perception within the business community of not having a strong

public education system, and there are limited private school options in the region. This hinders

both the recruitment and retention of significant business sectors.  


In addition to the continuing challenge of workforce development, traditional infrastructure

expansions are needed including water, sewer, natural gas, and rail connections. Diversifying

the economy will be contingent on continuing to expand and maintain this infrastructure strategically and economically.

Other challenges include:


  • Unemployment

  • Aging Population

  • Strengthening Central Business Districts

  • Illiteracy

  • Out-Migration of Youth – “Brain Drain”

  • High Quality Daycare for Working Families

  • Quality of Public Education Facilities

  • Aging Infrastructure

  • Educational Attainment at all Levels

  • Availability of Skilled and Semi-Skilled Jobs

  • Adequate Freight Rail Capacity and Infrastructure to the Port of Virginia

  • Affordable “Last Mile” Broadband

  • Continued Reliance on Traditional Industry Sectors

“It’s not if you build it they will come, it’s if you don’t build it they won’t come.”

Randy Lail, Chairman, Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative (MBC)

“The perception of not having a ‘world class’ K-12 system is a challenge.”


- 2015 Stakeholder Interviews


Southside Planning District Commission

200 S. Mecklenburg Ave. South Hill, Virginia 23970

(434) 447-7101