The process of verifying and developing the vision for the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the
Southside Region of Southern Virginia included conducting stakeholder surveys that demonstrate a strong theme regarding
the regional economy.
A sustainable, diverse economy that promotes a skilled workforce for 21st Century employment sectors including advanced manufacturing, modern agriculture, healthcare and entrepreneurship, while celebrating its natural heritage through tourism.
This vision statement exemplifies numerous interviews, meetings, studies, and reports on the Southern Virginia economy, where it has been, where it is, and where it is going. Now the question becomes – how do we get there? It is here that we turn to the development and examination of three primary goals. While these goals are not unique to this region, they accurately encapsulate the area’s true strengths as well as their challenges.
“Our biggest challenge is a trained workforce.”
- 2015 Stakeholder Interviews
Twenty-first Century industries are the focus of Southern Virginia’s economy. Today’s advanced manufacturing is safer, cleaner, and better paying than ever. Information technology (IT) is a robust sector than can take advantage of the region’s strong broadband infrastructure. Most of today’s farmers use the most innovative practices and growing techniques to maximize their production of food, fuel and fiber, while minimizing their environmental footprint. The term “modern agriculture” depicts a commitment to innovation and stewardship and can occur on much smaller farmettes (farms generally less than 50 acres). High quality, innovative healthcare has further strengthened with two major affiliations with Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Community Memorial Hospital. Finally, the tourist industry promotes the area while continuing to improve quality of life for residents, and with relatively little infrastructure needed.