About FutureRVA

We’re setting RVA up to be more globally competitive for years to come.

FutureRVA is a comprehensive initiative that aims to move greater Richmond forward by addressing every aspect of what makes our region competitive, from workforce and education to quality of life and economic development.

FutureRVA has four goals: strengthen the local talent pipeline, attract new talent to RVA, make the region’s growth more sustainable and improve quality of life for everyone across greater Richmond. We’re delivering on these goals by focusing on talent and advocacy – by improving our schools’ effectiveness, engaging young professionals and advocating for economic development opportunities.

Through FutureRVA, we’re taking an ambitious, many-sided approach to transforming our community and setting RVA up for long-term success. So what exactly is it?

FutureRVA is a dedicated fund managed by ChamberRVA and invested in by nearly 100 area businesses and organizations.

This fund has four goals:

  1. Strengthen greater Richmond’s talent pipeline
  2. Attract and retain new talent
  3. Foster regional sustainability
  4. Improve quality of life for everyone across RVA

To achieve these goals, FutureRVA focuses on two strategic priorities: talent and advocacy. Some preexisting ChamberRVA programs and initiatives augment FutureRVA’s goals, but the fund itself goes almost entirely toward one major new initiative – transforming the region’s high schools to a “career academy” model.

The Career Academy Model

For this career academy shift, ChamberRVA has contracted with Ford NGL to help us transform our region’s high schools into high-performing career academies that produce graduates ready for what’s next. We’ve seen this change for ourselves at the Academies of Nashville, where we’ve traveled to witness firsthand their improved graduation, attendance and testing metrics and fewer disciplinary incidents – a result of deeply engaged students who care about what they’re learning. What’s more, students leave high school with transferable skills, industry certifications, college credit and a clear path for achieving their goals. With Ford NGL’s proven approach, we’re ready to make this same model work for our students in greater Richmond.

Other ChamberRVA Work

In addition to the career academy initiative, a number of preexisting, separately funded ChamberRVA programs work in the same arena as FutureRVA and support its goals. Fall 2018 marks the third year of Mission Tomorrow, an interactive “career con” for RVA’s eighth graders that introduces them to the many industries and types of jobs available in the region. ChamberRVA also runs YRichmond, a fun summer-long RVA 101 for college interns thinking about moving here after graduation. With FutureRVA funding we recently extended this to YRichmond on the Road, in which we travel to college career fairs across the state – and to the hugely popular SXSW festival – promoting RVA. And beyond these talent-centric efforts, much of ChamberRVA’s advocacy also complements FutureRVA’s goals. We pursue a robust legislative agenda at the Virginia General Assembly, and we lend our voice to important economic development opportunities like the revitalization of the Richmond Marine Terminal.

Why the Chamber?

So why FutureRVA? Our region needs a well-defined, multipurpose, coordinated strategy to successfully compete in the global marketplace. And we need it now, because greater Richmond is on the world stage, becoming ever more visible.

ChamberRVA is uniquely positioned to lead this effort, as other chambers have successfully done in cities like Nashville, Charleston, Oklahoma City and Jacksonville. Our strong relationships with business, nonprofits and government put us at the center of a broad spectrum of doers. We’re more than ready to act as convener to accomplish FutureRVA’s goals.

This meshes naturally with ChamberRVA’s other work, and supports our three core mission areas – community, relationships and leadership. By working to make greater Richmond more sustainable and our quality of life more equitable, we’re strengthening our regional community. By directly involving local businesses in initiatives like the career academy transformation, we’re facilitating their direct involvement in building the local talent pipeline. By helping students get work-ready, we’re giving the next generation of leaders the skills and experience they need to make their next step after graduation.

Thank you to our investors and partners who support this important work.

Interested in learning more about this initiative? Contact Sharaza Nelson, Director of Workforce Programs, at sharaza.nelson@chamberrva.com.

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