Growth & Diversification Plan

executive summary

  • Region Four will retain its 4 priority clusters- Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology, Logistics and Bioscience. The Council has voted to prioritize Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and information Technology in its upcoming Talent Pathways Initiative proposal. Since the 2021 Growth and Diversification Plan was produced, Controlled Facility Agriculture has emerged as a niche opportunity for the region.
  • Logistics and Manufacturing have been the strongest performers of the 4 priority clusters since 2021. Between 2021 and 2023Q3 in Region 4 total employment in all industries grew by 3.6%. Logistics grew by 8.2% and Manufacturing by 3.9%. Average annual wages in all Region 4 industries increased by 6.4% to $64,411. Wages in Logistics increased by 11.5% to $64,884. Manufacturing wages increased by 6,2% to $73,982. Employment percentage increases in the Crater area localities were greater in 3 of the 4 priority clusters than increases in the Richmond area localities.
  • GO Virginia’s support for the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing cluster had a significant return on investment since 2021. The strategic plan that was developed with a $100 thousand Enhanced Capacity Building grant became the core of a proposal that received $52.9 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration in a nationwide Build Back Better competition. The decision by companies such as Civica RX to locate facilities in Petersburg and Chesterfield demonstrates the extraordinary potential that the cluster has for the region.

    In October 2023, the U.S. Economic Development Administration designated the Richmond MSA an Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Tech Hub. Led by the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), the designation was granted to 31 regions out of nearly 400 applicants. program invests directly in burgeoning, high-potential U.S. regions and aims to transform them into globally competitive innovation centers. The designated Tech Hubs can apply to receive between $40 million and $70 million each for implementation funding.
  • The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) has specified Knowledge Work, Manufacturing and Logistics as its highest priority targets. Region 4’s priority clusters are well aligned with these. VEDP has noted that while Knowledge Work industries are forecasted to provide 51% of employment growth until 2030, Virginia’s growth in this cluster is lagging national averages. Since 2021, the same is true in Region 4. Information Technology employment has increased by only 1.7 and Bioscience by .7%, well below the all-industry 3.6% average. Traded sector Bioscience jobs have declined in absolute numbers.