Registration is now open for ChamberRVA's Education Summit on July 18!

June 5, 2019

ChamberRVA invites you to the Education Summit on July 18

Event will bring together state leaders to discuss the future of education and workforce

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – Registration is now open for ChamberRVA’s inaugural Education Summit on July 18, 2019, presented in partnership with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. This half-day event will feature state and local leaders in the education and workforce spheres in a comprehensive discussion of innovative educational approaches to address future talent needs. The goal of the summit is to align the education and business communities around the Richmond region’s future workforce requirements. The Education Summit is made possible by gold sponsor Altria and silver sponsors Capital One, Kings Dominion, Virginia 529 and VCU Health.

The event will feature a number of expert speakers who will lead the discussion:

  • Virginia Speaker of the House Kirk Cox will kick off the summit with a presentation on the ways the state legislature is helping shape the future of education in Virginia, from primary school through post-secondary institutions.
  • To further lay the foundation for the day’s conversation, Renee Haltom, vice president and Richmond regional executive of the Federal Reserve Bank, will offer background on the region’s economic outlook.
  • A business panel made up of Leslie Parpart of CarMax, Victor Branch of Bank of America and Mitch Haddon of ColonialWebb will discuss talent, projected workforce needs and today’s perceived skill and hiring gaps.
  • Stephen Moret, president and CEO of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, will discuss how talent and educational systems shape economic development in the Commonwealth.
  • Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni and Virginia Superintendent for Public Instruction Dr. James Lane will discuss the K-12 system’s challenges and opportunities in a “fireside chat” moderated by Dr. Jamelle Wilson of the Virginia Board of Education.
  • Dr. Paula Pando, president of Reynolds Community College, will present on how community colleges are preparing graduates for the future.
  • Dr. Katherine Rowe, president of William & Mary, will discuss how higher education is changing for the future and its role in the Commonwealth.

“We know we need to address our skills gap, and we know we need to recruit and retain young talent to the Richmond region to ensure a thriving future,” said Pat Gottschalk, partner at Williams Mullen and chair of the ChamberRVA board of directors. “The Education Summit is the foundation of this effort, ensuring we’re all on the same page at the start of the workforce pipeline: our schools. We need to make sure our young people are equipped with the skills and experience they need to have a long, successful career once they leave the education system, regardless of whether they’re college-bound or entering the workforce upon high school graduation – and everywhere in between.”

According to ChamberRVA’s 2018 analysis of workforce data for the FutureRVA initiative, major regional industries are expected to need high numbers of employees in the next 10 years, both because the industries and companies are growing and because large numbers of older workers are expected to retire. For example, the Richmond region’s healthcare industry employed 96,076 workers in 2017, and is expected to need 34,488 employees – or 36% of its workforce – in the following 10 years. Also uncovered in the Chamber’s analysis, 100% of employers across major regional industries said that 21st-century workplace skills – or “soft skills,” like communication, teamwork, problem-solving and critical thinking – are vital to successful employment, and that we must ensure our young people have these skills as well. In addition, the Chamber found that parents and students don’t often know the breadth of job opportunities that are available or the education requirements and salary ranges for many of the region’s high-paying, in-demand jobs in growing fields like healthcare, education and construction.

“We know education is a means to an end, not the end in itself,” said Kim Scheeler, president and CEO of ChamberRVA. “From early childhood, through primary school and up through any post-secondary education they may pursue, we need to be preparing our young people for what’s next after school and setting them up for successful careers. This is the purpose of the Education Summit – to get everybody from policymakers to employers to educators on the same page and prepare us to address our education and workforce needs as a region.”

The Education Summit will take place on Thursday, July 18, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Marriott Downtown Richmond at 500 East Broad Street in Richmond. Registration is $35 for nonprofits, $55 for ChamberRVA members, and $65 for non-ChamberRVA members. Educators (teachers, guidance counselors, etc.) and government officials are encouraged to contact the Chamber to receive a special discounted rate. Visit for more information and to register. Organizations interested in sponsoring the Education Summit should contact Kelley McCall at


About ChamberRVA: ChamberRVA is the chamber of commerce representing the entire greater Richmond region – one city, seven counties and one town – since 1867. The chamber’s mission is to build a thriving regional community by supporting the success of members, providing a strong business voice and developing RVA’s future leaders. Learn more about ChamberRVA at

Press contact: Leigh Rossi,, 804-783-9312.

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