The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - VL52

VALLEY LIFE

Business

The once-a-decade sweep of data by the federal government is under way and business leaders are urging residents
to complete their 2020 Census forms.
At stake are tens of billions of dollars in services and funding through federal programs. If the Roanoke Valley's
residents are not counted, programs from health care to education to emergency services could be under-funded.
A recent study by George Washington University found that Virginia received $17,766,199,831 in fiscal year 2016
through 55 federal spending programs. The allocation of money was determined by 2010 Census results.
"Every sector of community life is impacted by data and trends generated by the Census Bureau," explains Daryn
Warner, partnership specialist with Roanoke's Census office.
In addition, information collected through the Census becomes the foundation for local and regional leaders
to interpret and market their area to potential businesses and potential employees.
Census details provide vital information for existing companies as well.
"Businesses are making decisions with Census Bureau data every day," Warner explains. Census information
"assists entrepreneurs and businesses of every size in understanding their markets and the communities in which
they operate." - CN

Memorial; Virginia Tech unveiled a record-breaking $50
million donation to the newly renamed Fralin Biomedical
Research Institute; and a new partnership between
Carilion Clinic and Radford University welcomed its
first class of students at Radford University Carilion.
The area's natural beauty even helps land multimillion
dollar manufacturing plants.
"There's an incredible aesthetic here," says Ken
McFadyen, director of Botetourt County's Department
of Economic Development.
He tells the tale of wooing Eldor Corporation's
executives. One of the factors that convinced them to
base their East Coast headquarters in Greenfield industrial
park was that when Eldor's leaders stood on the site
where they would be building, they said they felt like
they were back in their native Milan.
"We're offering just really a full package."
But economic development leaders say the Roanoke
region would not be thriving if it didn't have the basics
needed for business bottom lines.
Location is key, and the Roanoke Valley sits within a
day's drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population. Business
costs are low - 11% lower than the national average.
The workforce is educated: within 60 miles of Roanoke,
there are nearly 100,000 college students, giving the
area a higher per capita percentage of undergrads than
Boston, Raleigh or Austin, according to State Council
for Higher Education numbers.
For workers, the region's cost of living is affordable,
commutes are short and there are plenty of ways to play.
In addition to Roanoke's proximity to the Appalachian
52 2020 VALLEY LIFE

Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway, the region boasts art
museums, ballet companies, top-rated community
theater and music venues that book national acts.
Highlighting these strengths is the focus of Roanoke
Regional Partnership's newest effort, its Talent Solutions
program. Last year, the Partnership hired two employees
to connect undergraduates to jobs and area amenities
in a variety of ways.
The program brings employers to universities to
match workforce with jobs. It hosts professional
development and social events to ensure that
20somethings have ways to mingle. A newly created
website, get2knownoke.com, features job boards,
event listings and practical information to attract young
workers to the region.
The idea is to land recent graduates here and keep
them. "We're trying to create a stickiness to the area,"
Doughty explains.
Economic leaders are also practicing tried-and-true
techniques to keep businesses happy.
"It's not all about attracting new names," Botetourt's
McFadyen says. "It's about taking care of businesses who
are here."
His economic development office regularly checks
in with corporate leaders, helps to navigate regulations,
identifies federal programs and local employee training
opportunities.
"We go above and beyond on a daily basis," McFadyen
says.
Which might just be the most important item on the
checklist for keeping the region on the rise. 



The Roanoker - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - January/February 2020

The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - Intro
The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - Cover1
The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - Cover2
The Roanoker - January/February 2020 - 3
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