RCC president seeks to promote local job growth

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Feb 20, 2013 - 01:38 PM

Photo: Rappahannock Community College president Elizabeth “Sissy” Crowther, right, was recently appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell to serve on the state’s newly formed Rural Jobs Council. She is shown with Virginia Secretary of Education Laura Fornash during last week’s legislative reception in Richmond. Photo courtesy RCC

Rappahannock Community College president Elizabeth “Sissy” Crowther, right, was recently appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell to serve on the state’s newly formed Rural Jobs Council. She is shown with Virginia Secretary of Education Laura Fornash during last week’s legislative reception in Richmond. Photo courtesy RCC

Rappahannock Community College president Elizabeth "Sissy" Crowther is playing a major role in trying to bring focus and attention to attract business and industry in and around the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck.

Crowther was appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell to serve on the newly formed Rural Jobs Council, attending her first meeting last Wednesday in Richmond.

The group has been charged with making recommendations that address the challenges to economic growth in rural Virginia and develop a statewide rural infrastructure plan to include transportation, education, and community development.

"I’m on fire about this," Crowther said, adding that it is her "dream appointment" and she is excited about bringing the focus of job creation to this area.

One of her concerns all along is that southern Virginia, otherwise known as the tobacco belt, and the Appalachian corridor have gotten the most attention from industries looking to relocate. This is often due to the areas’ accessibility and existing infrastructure.

However, Crowther cited statistics that show the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck have higher rates of poverty and joblessness than those areas and lower high school graduation rates; all indicators of the region’s declining economic health and the need for local job creation.