1. The continued and effective development of workforce training programs is clearly the most important priority in the region. This will take commitment by the local governing bodies, the public school systems, private schools, and the post-secondary education centers in the area.  Workforce education in Southern Virginia has the same weight as a college degree in terms of earning power and career availability. This fact needs to be more effectively promoted and disseminated throughout the secondary school systems. Federal and state mandates for educational requirements provide an additional challenge for workforce development programs in secondary schools.

  2. The second main priority is the continued leveraging of resources for infrastructure improvements including water, sewer, gas and rail.  The individual localities and authorities should continue to make water and sewer improvements.  The advent of the Dominion plant in Brunswick County is a positive regional influence that may also include the provision of natural gas in the area via a lateral from the Transco line. This lateral could serve Brunswick, Halifax, and Mecklenburg Counties by providing that additional energy resource to industries. 

  3. A remaining infrastructure challenge is the increased provision of freight service in support of advanced manufacturing and other industries that can benefit from rail.  Many of the largest manufacturers have direct access to the lines through spurs into their industrial parks.  Rail lines in the area are operated by Norfolk Southern and multiple short-rail providers connect the region to destinations: however, more direct connections to the Ports of Richmond and Virginia are needed.  

  4. The importance of broadband in the area also needs to continue to be emphasized. The fiber optic network in Southern Virginia is robust with thousands of miles of fiber.  This communication network is critical to continuing to attract entrepeneurs to the region.  

  5. Effectively promoting the region is another critical priority.  Southern Virginia has many positive attributes, but its economic interests are competing against the rest of the country.  More innovative recruiting is needed which requires an open and willing approach including partnering with industries that have regional and national interests.  Southern Virginia, as a region, better competes with other areas of the country. 

Southside Planning District Commission

200 S. Mecklenburg Ave. South Hill, Virginia 23970

(434) 447-7101