Economic Growth and Diversification Plan Evaluation Criteria

The economic growth and diversification plan developed by each Regional Council will identify economic opportunities, needs, and challenges, establish priorities among those opportunities, and outline needed enhancements where GO Virginia grant funds can (a) support collaborative programs between at least two or more localities that will (b) lead to the creation of more higher paying jobs. The plan should focus on priority areas that accomplish GO Virginia's goals through a critical analysis of issues of regional economic growth and diversification, and identify and prioritize opportunities that could be pursued. This is not a regional strategic economic development plan, nor is the plan envisioned to be comprehensive in addressing all challenges that face a particular region, but instead, the plan should focus on priority areas that accomplish GO Virginia's goals.

The evaluation criteria will be used by DHCD staff, other state agencies, stakeholders, and members of the Go Virginia Board to review each plan. The purpose of this review shall be to ensure sufficient empirical analysis was used to justify the recommendations in each plan, ensure proposed outcomes can be measured and that the plan contributes to and aligns with overall state goals. Specifically, the scoring elements outlined below are intended to help a) identify which areas of the plan are the highest priority to the GO Virginia Board and b) assist with determining the funding level, up to the maximum amounts allowed by the annual appropriations act, that may be approved for each region's planning effort.


Impact of the Plan on the Region - 35 points

  1. The plan demonstrates that Regional Council members prioritized activities, consistent with the priorities of GO Virginia, that the region could undertake and would do one or more of the following:
    1. Expand economic opportunity
    2. Grow and diversify the economy
    3. Create and/or align worker training programs or other activities that develop, attract, or retain talent, with the education and skills needed by employers and potential employers in the region
  2. The plan identifies existing or potential business activities, sectors, or clusters which can lead to sustainable, scalable, future growth in the region and includes:
    1. A discussion of process used to select those activities, sectors, or clusters
    2. Empirical data that was used to determine those activities, sectors, or clusters
    3. Identification of efforts to enhance access to higher paying jobs
  3. The plan prioritizes the identified activities, sectors, or clusters the Region may undertake to achieve its goals through activities in one or more of the following:
    1. Grow existing business
    2. Fill gaps in existing or emerging sector presence or support the development of existing clusters
    3. Scale up existing companies
    4. Encourage entrepreneurial activity that leads to job and business creation
    5. Commercialize development of research for public universities and public and private research facilities
  4. The plan identifies specific measurable performance metrics consistent with those established by the GO Virginia Board
  5. The plan includes evidence of the rigor and methodology of the consultant studies.
  6. The plan includes a discussion of the challenges and gaps that will need to be addressed for the priorities to be accomplished.
  7. The plan may include a discussion of sub-regions and how they will benefit from the overall regional priorities.
  8. The plan indicates that the Regional Council actively managed the staff and consultants involved in developing the plan and recommendations.
  9. The plan may include a discussion of opportunities for intra-regional, intra-state, and interstate collaborations and partnerships
  10. The ability of the regional council to implement the recommendations of its plan

Economic and Workforce Analysis - 25 points

  1. The plan Identifies workforce gaps in in both the existing significant drivers of the economy as well as the prioritized opportunity areas and includes the following:
    1. Identification of existing efforts to develop, recruit, and retain higher paying jobs
    2. Assessment of workforce availability and gaps related to the opportunities and needs identified in the plan
    3. Plan demonstrates acknowledgement of the Virginia Workforce Board/Regional Workforce Investment Board gap analysis, or other similar analysis, as such other plans relate to the creation or retention of higher paying jobs.
    4. Plan identifies current efforts to address identified gaps to include:
      1. The skills/credentialing/experience/education required
      2. Activities to import talent from outside Virginia, or to retain existing talent, to address gaps
    5. The plan includes a review of commuting patterns (both existing and potential) for the workforce to other regions/states, as well as in and out migration trends, and whether such activities affect the region's ability to create, attract, and/or retain high paying jobs.

Alignment - 20 points

  1. This plan demonstrates alignment with the goals of GO Virginia:
    1. Implementation will result in the creation of more higher paying jobs (above median wage of region and/or sub region)
    2. Implementation will strengthen and diversify the region's economy and align with the priorities of the region as determined by the Regional Council
    3. Revenues are primarily attributable to out-of-state sources
  2. This plan demonstrates consideration of opportunities to cooperate with state initiatives (where appropriate):
    1. Virginia Research Investment Committee (VRIC)
    2. Collaborative Jobs Act
    3. Economic, degree and credential provisions of The Virginia Plan for Higher Education, including the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant Program
    4. Alignment with other statewide and regional plans that may relate to the identified strategies and projects

Development Process - 10 points

  1. The plan reflects a review and alignment of current and relevant existing local and regional strategic plans.
  2. The plan demonstrates participation of Regional Council members in review and analysis of regional information including:
    1. Identification of critical issues of economic growth and diversification
    2. Prioritization of needs and opportunities
    3. Identification of opportunities for the commercialization of research
    4. Examine potential joint economic development activities.
    5. Assess the number of small and minority owned businesses, and promote their development in the region, if such activities lead to the creation of higher paying jobs.
  3. The plan includes a discussion of the stakeholder and public engagement process.
  4. The plan identifies intraregional economic differences and addresses opportunities to benefit all parts of the region.
  5. The plan outlines the engagement and involvement of the private sector (outside the regional council membership) in its development
  6. The anticipated schedule for review and modifications to the plan based on new information or economic changes impacting the data or drivers of the region's economy

Budget/Strategy - 10 points

  1. The plan identifies potential sources of matching funds for grant requests (specific commitments and amounts are not required until applications are submitted for per capita and competitive applications.)
  2. The plan discusses opportunities for efficiencies within the region that could provide potential resources to support plan implementation.
  3. The plan maximizes the focus on impact and reduces overhead and administrative expenses.
  4. The plan identifies ways to ensure sustainability of the regional council for plan implementation and administration of the regional council for the time after state funding grants are exhausted
  5. The plan identifies potential matching funds for the FY2018 capacity building funds (up to $250,000).

GO Virginia Performance Metrics

The Commonwealth measures performance and tracks a variety of performance metrics for all state funded programs. For Go Virginia, each region will be required to track specific and measurable performance criteria that demonstrate how the funds granted to the regional council are achieving the goals of the region's economic growth and diversification plan. Each region will also track the expected economic impacts and outcomes identified in the regional council's project application.

The below metrics will be provided to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) by each region on (at least) an annual basis by DATE. Additional program reports may require some reporting on performance metrics. DHCD will aggregate metrics for annual reporting requirements. Not all projects will address all metrics, and reporting will reflect only those measures that are applicable to a region.

In development of the annual report, DHCD will also include a cost benefit analysis and projections for future impact based on direct, indirect, and induced jobs realized as a result of funded projects.

If a project fails to meet performance metrics as identified in its project application or as identified here, the Commonwealth may stop, adjust, or recapture all or part of the funding awarded.

It is understood that return on investment can be demonstrated in multiple ways—both a mathematical calculation using recognized input-output econometric models (IMPLAN, REMI+) as well as activities that are illustrative of the impact of funding from GO Virginia. Regional activities should demonstrate either or both of these impacts to show progress toward meeting performance metrics.

Given the long-term nature of GO Virginia to meaningfully impact regional economies, it is understood that performance metrics will vary over the life of a project and the implementation of the program. Therefore, regional councils and regions proposing projects may think in terms of performance metrics that show short-term progress, capacity building and other pipeline indicators of progress in the short and medium term, and outcomes over the long term. Concepts for showing progress in each of these areas are outlined below and should guide how proposed projects are to be evaluated by the Board and the regional councils.


Regional Council Foundational Development and Process Measures
  1. Completion of the regional growth and diversification plan
  2. Development of an objective project scoring process reflective of the Board adopted process
  3. Development of baseline data against with progress can be measured
  4. Establishment of advisory committees to provide thought leadership

GO Virginia Performance Metrics

Pipeline Indicators (Consistent with the Regional Plan)

Number of small/mid-sized companies participating in cluster scale ups Creation of regional collaborative accelerators

Number of companies completing accelerator programs

Number of industry certifications or credentials that are linked to business-identified needs

Number of new startup companies in targeted or prioritized clusters Job creation by companies less than 5 years old

Number of new companies resulting from patents/university intellectual property/collaborations with public and private labs

Number of new joint and collaborative economic development projects

Improvements related to in/out migration of workforce


Outcome Measures
  1. Number of high paying jobs (above the median wage) created in partnership with GO Virginia (direct, indirect, and induced impact).
  2. Net gain and growth rate in the number of higher paying jobs in a region, resulting from GO Virginia funded activities, when compared to the baseline established in the plan (likely tied to changes in median personal income or other measures of regional economic growth)
  3. Percentage of job increases primarily attributable to out-of-state revenue (money brought into the local economy either through traditional economic development attraction, retention, or expansion activities or new revenue derived from sales to out of state markets by existing or new companies in a region) resulting from GO Virginia funded activities.
  4. Change in the business cluster and industry mix in a region resulting from GO Virginia funded activities that have enhanced economic diversification
  5. Return on investment from GO Virginia funded projects

GO Virginia Performance Metrics

  1. Change in business sector/cluster mix compared to baseline established in the plan (to measure the success of regional economic diversification)
  2. Growth in prioritized clusters (number of new jobs, number of new companies, growth in business revenue from out-of-state sources)
  3. Multiplier effects such as enhanced critical mass in a cluster or supply chain development
  4. Other forms of impact:
    1. Return on public investment
    2. Human capital yield
    3. Income tax revenue
    4. Sales tax or other revenue impacts
    5. New investment vi. Higher paying jobs
    6. Leveraged capital- private investment and any other federal/local matching funds
    7. Impact vs. cost savings
  5. Economic Growth potential and sustainability—economic impact over period of time vs. amount of grant received
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Serving the GO VA Council for the
Crater & Richmond Planning Districts
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